The work of a guitar maker or instrument builder is very beautiful: it requires time to become skilled with the tool, to understand the wood, to build with care and also to listen, that is to say, to achieve what the musician is looking for.
We are a family workshop that deeply respects the professionals who dedicate themselves to this wonderful profession and who, with their good work, manage to build a loyal competition capable of encouraging the rest of us to evolve and adapt to the new times.
However, it is not the first time that a client has told us how bad some of our colleagues have spoken of us; they have accused us of poor service and other improprieties that are far removed from the fair competition we have been talking about. Fortunately, many of these misinformed clients have been able to see for themselves how untrue these accusations are, but others have missed the opportunity to see for themselves because they have not dared to come to us.
Recently a foreigner was on the verge of not visiting us for fear, fortunately, he did, he told us the story, he told us that our treatment had been exceptional and he ended up discovering that our prices were more competitive than those offered by the guitar maker who claimed the opposite.
Just as we respect our colleagues, and let the customer have his own judgement and be able to compare for himself, we take it for granted that we will receive the same treatment, but time and again we find that this is not quite the case. That is a pity. Anyone who speaks ill of a fellow tradesman is only throwing stones at his own backyard.
And, according to the gossip, we can know more about a person by what he or she says about others than by what others say about him or her.
So far we have talked only about ourselves, but this is something that affects our collective as a whole.
There are groups of guitarists who, in order to stand out, proclaim themselves to be the authentic and original representatives of this or another school, when in reality they arrived much later and try to discredit those who were their true origin.
There are those who copy others and claim to be the first to develop the idea they are actually copying. There are those who take over the rights of some historical guitar maker who had no descendants, preventing any activity related to him from taking place without paying a “toll” to the merchants who became “owners” of his name.
There are those who insistently try to erase the authorship of work by attributing it to someone else, and they enjoy credibility despite exhibiting themselves with a chamber pot on their head. Because you know: if you repeat a lie enough times, it will become the truth for many. But it has also been shown time and again that building a reality on lies eventually falls apart, sooner or later.
In the office of a teacher in a music conservatory, on her desk, there was a poster that stood out from all the other objects there. It was a quote from Gandhi: “We must not extinguish another’s light to make our own shine“.
The guitar world is very polluted by the bad faith of a few, and that hurts us all. All of us. Surely if we were to change that mean-spirited habit for a healthier one based on respect for our fellow musicians, we would undoubtedly improve our professional environment, to the benefit of all of us who love our work.
Years ago, during a visit of the Dalai Lama to Madrid, one of the people in the room asked him: “What can we do to improve the world? His answer was that it is not necessary to go to the other end of the earth to do so, but just to improve our immediate world… a kind word, a smile, even to strangers, can make their day better. If we all do that,” he said, “we would certainly improve the world.
Madrid 18 January 2018.
Article written by Amalia Ramírez.