Old guitars in the history museum in Madrid

Mar 21, 2024

In the heart of Madrid, you will find a treasure trove of historical and cultural value: the Museo de Historia de Madrid. This museum houses a fascinating collection of antique guitars, offering a window into the past of the construction of this emblematic musical instrument.

The Madrid School of Guitarmakers

Before 1800, the Madrid school of guitar making was noted for its excellence, driven by a group of craftsmen whose work was highly valued. According to the well-known chronicler of Madrid, Ramón de Mesonero Romanos, the ordinances of the guitar makers/violeros of Madrid date from 1578 and were in decline by 1800. Nevertheless, Madrid guitar-making in the late 18th and early 19th centuries enjoyed great prestige, with renowned workshops in the streets of Majaderitos.

Outstanding guitar makers

Among the outstanding guitar makers of Majaderitos Street were figures such as Juan Moreno, Lorenzo Alonso, Juan and Manuel Muñoz, Josef Furnieles, and Manuel Narciso González. These craftsmen adopted innovative techniques, such as the fan-shaped varetaje of the Andalusian school, to improve the sound and tuning of the guitars.
Antique Guitars on Display

The Museo de Historia de Madrid houses a remarkable collection of antique guitars, which offer a unique insight into the evolution of the instrument over the centuries. Among the outstanding pieces is a six-string guitar made by Hijos de González around 1900, with a decoration on the rosette of stylised vegetal motifs in mother-of-pearl. Another outstanding piece is a six-string guitar made by Juan Moreno in 1829, which was transformed from six double strings to six single strings at an unknown date and later restored to its original configuration.

Exhibition of Medals and Awards

In addition to the antique guitars, the Museo de Historia de Madrid exhibits a display of medals in the shape of a lyre, belonging to the Madrid-born Francisco Gutiérrez. This display stand, made of mahogany wood, copper and silver, presents an impressive collection of medals and awards given to González for his artistic prowess.

Majaderitos: Guitarmakers’ Street

In his book “El Antiguo Madrid”, Mesonero Romanos describes Majaderitos Street as the home of Madrid’s famous guitar makers. This street, previously known for other trades, became the epicentre of guitar making in the city, noted for the dexterity and skill of its craftsmen. In short, the History Museum of Madrid offers a unique experience to explore the rich history of old guitars and their impact on the city’s musical culture. From the innovative techniques of Madrid’s guitar makers to the unique pieces on display, this collection is a testament to Madrid’s artistic and artisanal legacy. Guitarras Ramírez, with its long experience as master guitar makers since 1882, is proud to be part of this rich musical tradition of the Spanish capital.

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