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José Ramírez IV - 1953-2000

 

José Ramírez IV 1953 – 2000


 

José Enrique Ramírez García (José Ramírez IV) was born in Madrid in May 1953. He entered the workshop in 1971, when he was 18, as an apprentice and, in 1977 he reached the level of luthier first class. In 1988 he took charge of the management of the company together with his sister Amalia. In the mid 1980s, having detected a change in the tastes in sound of some guitarists, he began to explore working in other directions, such as acoustic, cutaway and studio guitars.

 

In 1979 some valuable recognition was received. Among various guitars he had chosen to take to the maestro Segovia was one he had made. It had been two years since he had reached the level of luthier first class in his father’s workshop. The fact that Segovia chose his guitar without knowing was a great surprise to him and very satisfying. Such was the happiness of the young guitar maker that he gave it to him as a present and enthusiastically wrote a dedication which he signed and glued in place next to the label. The maestro played this guitar in many of his concerts until the end of his life, and with a lot of satisfaction, as he conveyed in a letter he wrote to its maker.
In 1991 he continued making a guitar which had the same sound characteristics as in the 1960s and called it the ‘Tradicional’ guitar (which everyone knows as 1A which means nothing more than it was the first guitar). He also designed a new guitar which was simpler than the previous one and with a different template which gave the clear, direct sound that the new trends were looking for. After several experiments this guitar was definitively finished in 1992 and was called the ‘Especial’ model. We stopped making this guitar in 2011 because we created a new model – the ‘Antigua’ which had a similar sound to the guitars of the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

 

José Ramírez IV definitively defined and perfected the work carried out by his father, but he also introduced his own innovations. As well as opting for these two lines of classic handcrafted guitars, he developed construction techniques to make the instruments more comfortable and easier to play and more stable in their construction, in some cases avoiding, and in other cases reducing the risk of deformities caused by movement of the wood.

 

Another important chapter is that of the Studio guitars, something which never captured the attention of José Ramírez III who focussed exclusively on professional guitars. In the era of José Ramírez I these guitars aimed at beginners, students and people of lesser means were sold in guitar shops as alternatives to handmade instruments which were obviously more expensive and of a much higher quality. This practise still continues today. José Ramírez I, although not liking guitars made in series, recognised the need to sell such guitars in his shop. At the beginning he did not put his own label in them but later realised his mistake because people came to him with complaints about guitars which hadn’t been sold in his shop but because they had no label in them he couldn’t counter the claims of the customers. Therefore he finally had some labels made which were totally different from those placed in professional models which solved the problem.
As for José Ramírez II, not only did he continue selling Studio guitars made in series and putting the Ramírez label on them, he also designed other Studio models constructed by some of the best makers in the Levante region at the time.

 

One of these models continued being sold in the shop until the mid 1970s, although other models not designed by Ramírez had also been sold for many years, however these were chosen from amongst those produced by a few factories, searching always for the best possible quality. In reality, José Ramírez III, like his grandfather, wasn’t a fan of studio guitars either and therefore was not concerned with the gradual disappearance of his father’s designs. However, José Ramírez IV did not think this way, which was also supported by the new demands of the music market and the new trends demanding cheaper guitars. He was also very aware of the importance of these guitars so that beginners had a guarantee of quality backed by the house of Ramírez. He based this on the fact that a guitarist who was just beginning could not afford the cost of a professional guitar and in the case of children there was the additional doubt as to whether the child would want to continue playing in the future. As a result it was necessary to find guitars which were reasonably priced, were of good quality and were pleasing to play. Thus in 1986 he convinced his father to design, with him, a range of studio guitars called ‘Línea E’, made exclusively for Ramírez with a special template and fan-bracing and a good selection of woods. This range was very well received as a starting point and stepping stone towards handmade guitars. Later, in 1991, he designed another studio range, cheaper than the previous one, called ‘Línea R’, based on the template of the C86 professional model.

 

 

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