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woensdag 2 juli 2008

Antonio Duran Ferrer guitar 1974

The Granadian school of guitar building has much
history to offer as they mostly stayed close to the
great guitarreros of the past. Even Antonio de Torres
seemed to have studied in Granada. In later times
the influence of Jose Ramirez III and Rodriguez
can be detected. The Granada guitars normally
have a quite modest plantilla but when the popularity
of builders like Jose Ramirez grew, one of the leading
luthiers of Granada, Eduardo Ferrer and his son
in law, Antonio Duran choose for a bigger
plantilla. The scale of this guitar is 66 cm.
It has a 7 fan bracing with two closing bars,
in fact very traditional, especially in combination
with the French polish technique they often used.

A nice back completes this guitar that is fairly light as
opposed to the instruments of Jose Ramirez although
the plantilla reminds these instruments a bit. Besides
this lighter way of construction they often built with
a domed top, another feature that makes it possible
to construct lighter while retaining enough stiffness.

Ironically, this head form still can be found on the Casa Ferrer
guitars but it resembles also the guitars of Juan Roman Padilla.
The latter even produced guitars for Casa Ferrer as has also
been done by Rafael Moreno Rodriguez among others.

I've showed this guitar to Stephen Hill, a guitarreros
in La Herradura, a town at the seaside and about 80
kilometers south of Granada. About my remark
regarding the crudely shaped top nut he laughed
and said: "I haven't seen that much properly shaped
top nuts from Spanish guitar builders". That was
the reason I made a new one out of ivory as also
the spacing wasn't done correctly: a player wants
a bit more space from the first string to the edge
of the neck what it fact makes it easier to make
a good sounding pull off.

A rather strange move on this (and other guitars)
guitar of Antonio Duran is the use of inexpensive
tuners though most likely from the Fustero company.

The label has been signed and dated (1974)
No marks or initials by another builder have been
found though it is of course possible that Duran
has built it himself. Unbelievable as he lost an
arm in an accident but continued to built.

A nice and fairly low Brazilian rosewood bridge that has
a kind of a reinforcement plate of spruce glued to it
at the inner side of the top. Maybe due to his love for
the flamenco way of building he really liked.

A nice shot from the side of this well preserved guitar.
These graceful heels can be found still on the Rafael
Moreno guitars and he most likely recognized that.

The love for the guitar in fact can be seen here. Carefully
shaped heel construction as can already be seen on other
pictures here above.

After having played this guitar for a while I've concluded
that there were more qualities in it to discover. Therefore
I've changed the top nut into an ivory one and with the 
string spacing I like. But besides that the lowest frets were
worn and as a whole all the frets were only 0,9 mm high.
For pull offs a bit higher fret wire works much better and
because they are more "substantial" tone improvement was 
an extra surprise. And to finish everything in a proper way 
I've replaced the bridge bone as well into an ivory one.
The new fret wire dimension is 1,2 mm in hight.

In the summer of 2018 I was just walking down the 
streets of Granada near the Plaza de Ayutamiento where
I stumbled onto the street "Jesus e Maria" in the San
Matias Realejo district. Before I did realize it I stood 
in front of the little shop of Raphael Moreno from whom 
I knew he had worked under Antonio Duran Ferrer. The
two even became more like friends and Mr. Moreno built
different guitars for Antonio Duran. "Could you tell me 
by several pictures wether if you actually built an instru-
ment for Antonio Duran"  was my question. After study-
ing the pictures I've showed him he was absolutely sure. 
And Jose Lopez Bellido stated: " When Rafael says he 
built it, it is so!" And indeed, even the tuners were made 
by the Fustero company as I allready expected. 
Mr. Moreno was anxious to learn in what condition the 
guitar was. "Superb" was my answer and he just smiled.

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