Manuel Contreras "Carlevaro"


Year: 1983 Top: Spruce
Back & Sides: CSA Rosewood Scale Length: 650 mm
Nut Width: 52 mm Finish: French Polish
Country: Spain Condition: Excellent
Case: Yes Exchange Policy: ExchangePlus


ITEM: 06710
Price: $12,000.00


From the Russell Cleveland collection. Featured on pages 77-79 of the book "The Classical Guitar - A Complete History."


Built in the Manuel Contreras workshop, this is perhaps the most 'unconventional' and at the same time 'well-known' model built in all of the twentieth century by anyone. The great Uruguayan guitarist, pedagogue and composer Abel Carlevaro is credited with developing the idea in the early 1980's with Manuel Contreras, and the first of their collaborative efforts was completed in 1983, the same year this guitar was made. Carlevaro was very taken by the instrument and in photos, appears regularly with one in all settings - from the concert hall to the cover of his biography and record sleeves (see photos in gallery for some examples). The guitar is immediately recognizable for a couple of obvious reasons - first it lacks a normal soundhole, and the bass side of the body lacks a waist. It has a second set of sides and back that separates the 'internal' guitar from the players body, and if anything - the 'soundhole' itself is actually the space between the outmost edge of the spruce top and the secondary back, where there is a gap - forcing the "boxey" aspect of the sound to radiate from the perimeter of the top, rather than from its center. The idea here is that by increasing the amount of surface area on the top and the size of the box (allowing for more air volume internally) the sound projection is increased, with a simultaneous boost in volume. It must be noted that as unusual as the guitar looks, it is actually plays quite normally! Blindfolded, you would not have any way of knowing of the "waisteless" bass side of the body whatsoever. Soundwise, it has the typical Contreras sound from this period with a couple of exceptions - volume and projected are indeed noticeably enhanced. And there is a strengthening of the mid-range across all registers - the trebles carry mid-range up to the highest note, giving the trebles much more "meat on the bones" and same with the basses - although they go deep as normal, the additional mid-range in the basses gives those notes a more cello-like resonance with strong overtone content everywhere. And the mid-notes - well this guitar has about the fattest mid-range of any instrument we can recall. Despite all of this increased overtone activity everywhere you play, the guitar still retains a nice balance and clarity between notes - particularly thanks to the brighter, "snap" of the attack. Conditionwise this guitar is in almost new condition.

These "Carlevaro" models enter the market very rarely - largely because very few were ever built, but also because they have the reputation of being cherished greatly by their owners and so we feel privileged to have the rare opportunity to offer such a wonderful example of this enigmatic model from the workshop of Manuel Contreras Sr.

Luthier Bio: Manuel Contreras

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