Manuel de la Chica
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Manuel de la Chica is arguably the greatest builder from Granada to date. He was born in 1911, and his early professional background was in cabinet making, as is the case for countless other fine guitar makers. His focus shifted to guitar making in the late 1930s when he had seen and become attracted to the Spanish guitar, primarily those of Santos Hernandez. Often his instruments are compared to the later guitars of Marcelo Barbero (who assisted in the construction of several Santos guitars left partially built at the time of his death) which we feel is a very strong and fair comparison. In 1973 he was forced into early retirement from guitar making due to health complications he was experiencing from inhaling dust and chemicals in his taller. From his early departure until his death in 1998, his instruments fell into relative obscurity, however in the past 10 years or so, there has been renewed interest and a re-evaluation of his work has convinced many that his contribution, skill and insight into the art of guitar making has established him as one of the great makers of all time.
Like Santos and Barbero, Manuel de la Chica was at home building both classical and flamenco instruments and built spectacular instruments in both styles. This is a monster of a mid-century style flamenco blanca and as good a representative of this style as any instrument by any other maker from the period. It is featherlight, has a huge, raspy sound and great flamenco bark with piercing volume. Yet if coaxed, it has a lyrical, singing quality to it yet at the same time. This is an extremely versatile instrument that has incredibly livliness and energy. Playability is a breeze, as is the norm for this maker. This guitar was used on the track "Inminente" on the album "Contra Tiempo"
by Kai Narezo. This is an exceptional instrument in every regard.