2002 Francisco Manuel Diaz "Simbiosis" SP/CY
|Back & Sides:
Granada maker Francisco Manuel Diaz (b. 1942) apprenticed at a very young age with Eduardo Ferrer, with whom he built his first guitar in 1958. In the early 1960's he also studied under Manuel de la Chica - both Ferrer and de la Chica are today regarded as early foundational master builders of the Granada school. Francisco established his own workshop in 1965 after completing military service and quickly became an attraction to the guitar-playing community and to flamenco guitarists in particular. His clients included several top performers of the day, including "El Taranca", "Pataperro", Miguel "el Santo", Pepe Amaya, Miguel "el Negro" and Juan de Chacuchina Sr. who not only played his guitars but from whom he learned to hone his own skills as a flamenco guitarist, well enough to concertize and accompany singers. Being able to play himself has been an advantage when building since he knows intimately the needs and preferences of players and can adjust his instruments appropriately. In recent years, notable players who have played (or still play) his guitars include Paco Jarana, Manolo Franco and Adam Del Monte, among others. In addition to guitars, he also builds cajones and castanets!
His current instruments have a very interesting and compelling back story. Although he prefers to build each instrument with a slightly different and unique aesthetic, he still refers to them collectively as the "Simbiosis" model, which is a structural system he has developed that fuses together various elements from Jose Ramirez I, Torres, and his own design. The top is made of German spruce and interestingly the back and sides are made of cypress grown a few hundred yards from his workshop at the Mirador de la Reina garden inside the Alhambra Palace. The interior of the guitar is filled with handwritten notes and details by Diaz himself. Overall very striking with a strong individuality to the design. Soundwise, it is nothing other than a southern Spanish style flamenco, with great bark and a dry, "woody" sound - very clear in all registers. It is the kind of guitar that could be played with great effect in literally any flamenco setting - solo, with singer, with dancers, etc. This is a fine example from one of Granada's longest-building and most established flamenco builders.