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Electric guitars made in Spain

There are few instruments are as popular as the guitar. From Francisco Tarrega to Paco de Lucía, Eric Clapton and Joe Satriani, the guitar is both a vehicle for the highest artistic expression, and an essential part of the fun at parties on the beach or at your neighbours' house. Everyone has seen one, everyone knows someone who has one (and even someone who knows how to play it), and that, to a large extent is the fault of Spain, the cradle of the Spanish guitar.

Electric guitars made in Spain
Electric guitars made in Spain

Since the 17th century Spain has been the epicentre of the history of the guitar. In fact, term "Spanish guitar" dates back to when in Madrid, the musician and poet Vicente Espinel, added the fifth string (because the first guitars only had four). The sixth string would not arrive until the 18th century. That is when the guitar acquired its current form, largely thanks to Antonio de Torres Jurado, considered to be the father of the modern guitar. Torres introduced a number of innovations in the design of the instrument aimed at improving its sound, such as increasing the size of the body, using high-quality woods and incorporating a fan-shaped reinforcement structure under the soundboard. During the 19th century, the Spanish guitar experienced a boom in popularity thanks to the work of composers and virtuosos of the stature of Fernando Sor and Francisco Tárrega, who created an extensive and sophisticated classical repertoire for the instrument. At the same time, the Spanish guitar also became a central feature of Flamenco, one of Spain's main cultural values and an Intangible Cultural Heritage since 16 November 2010.

But by now something was happening on the other side of the Atlantic. In 1833 a German luthier named Christian Frederick Martin arrived in the United States and there he began to build guitars modelled on the Spanish classical guitar. But he made a number of changes in the design, including the use of metal strings. This is how the "Saxon" or acoustic guitar as we know it today. was born.  A number of years later, at the end of the 19th century, another of the protagonists of our story, Orville H. Gibson, founded the Gibson Guitar Corporation, incorporating certain innovations in the design of guitars, with carved, arched tops, like those of a violin. In the mid-twentieth century, Gibson was a pioneer in the manufacture and marketing of electric guitars, with the Les Paul model as the spearhead. At about the same time, also in the USA, Leo Fender founded his eponymous company and in 1954 launched the Stratocaster, another iconic guitar that became a standard in the music world. The two most popular models of electric guitars in history had just been created. So much so, that many of the makes that came later have a model inspired by one of these two, together with the also very popular Telecaster.

For many decades, the hegemony of the construction of electric guitars remained in the United States, but, if we return to the beginning of this story, we have to return to Spain, where we will find some luthiers who build high quality electric guitars by hand. Here are a few examples:

Mojo guitars

In this small workshop in Seville managed by Fau Trujillo does not make two guitars that are the same. Each model is unique but mainly inspired by the Fender Telecaster and Esquire models of the 1950s, with a single pickup. Simple, beautiful and effective guitars for rock, pop and blues, as you can see on the website:

Bacce Custom guitars

'We make it possible' is the motto of luthier Daniel Cabezas, the name behind this small workshop in the town of Rivas Vaciamadrid in the province of Madrid. As he explains, his philosophy is to build exceptional musical instruments, in accordance with the wishes of his customers and all totally handmade. You can see how exceptional they are just by taking a look at how original the models have been so far.

Dama guitars

To visit the workshop of Juanjo Lorente, at Dama Guitars, you need to travel to the very heart of La Mancha. This expert luthier has managed to turn El Romeral into a place of pilgrimage for musicians, especially those attracted by one of his main innovations: Wooden pickups made of course by hand, as well as their acoustic and electric guitars. And if you are interested in guitar building, you really should not miss their youtube channel.

Vegarelics

After a long career in the world of music as a backliner and tour technician for M-Clan, Fito, and Barón Rojo, in 2013 Tony de Vigo decided to start creating instruments based on the golden age of Fender and Gibson. But it was not until 2020 when Vegarelics became a reality in Heredades, in the province of Alicante, incorporating the aged finish (relic) as one of its hallmarks. Guitars and basses of the highest quality that are handmade in the 21st century with the tone of the fifties and sixties.

Pigs Guitars

From Alicante we go Manresa (Barcelona) where Pigs Guitars has its centre of operations, with its own versions of the classic models of Fender and Gibson, both in basses or guitars. As you will see on their website, they also manufacture classical and Flamenco guitars.

Of course, as this was the birthplace of the Spanish guitar, if you are looking for a high-quality classical or Flamenco instrument, it is advisable not to go too far from Spain. Of the most renowned luthiers, there should be special mention for Antonio Morales, José Ramírez and Gerundino Fernández, who have made guitars for masters such as Paco de Lucía, Raimundo Amador, Vicente Amigo, Tomatito and Niño Josele.

Do you play the guitar, musiclover? Do you have any of the make we have spoken about in the article? Have we missed any? Tell us all about it! We are on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook

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