Ramírez: a century and a half designing guitars

Jun 1, 2023

Ramírez: a century and a half designing guitars

Since José Ramírez I began our guitar career, we have contributed different designs to the guitar world, always seeking excellence and favouring guitarists’ search for a sound that is to their satisfaction, which is quite a challenge, and we believe we have succeeded in several occasions, discarding, yes, many failed tests that, however, led us here along this winding and stimulating path.

We will highlight in this tour the following contributions:

José Ramírez I

At the request of the flamenco guitarists of the late 19th century, created the Tablao Guitar, capable of transmitting a sound powerful enough to compete in the tablaos flamencos and cafés cantantes with the tapping and clapping that drowned out the projection of the small guitars of that time.

Manuel Ramírez

When he became independent, continued to build the Tablao Guitar that, little by little, was transformed until he created the flamenco guitar that laid the foundations of the current flamenco guitar on which numerous guitarists of his time and of the present.

He also built the guitar that he gave to Andrés Segovia in 1912 and that catapulted him to fame from his legendary concert at the Ateneo de Madrid, and which is currently on display at the MET in New York.

José Ramírez II

Due to the fact that his period coincided with the civil war and the post-war period, did not contribute anything new since his priority, and merit, was to maintain the workshop at a time when obtaining wood was practically a pipe dream, despite which managed to survive and facilitate continuity for those of us who came after.

José Ramírez III

It was the most prolific creator of the family. His design of the popularly called 1A (Traditional Model: the confusion comes on the label where we put 1ª class, which means first class guitar) became Andrés Segovia’s favorite and the only one he has played in the last more than 10 years of his life, and which was the model most appreciated by practically all guitarists in the world. A guitar with a revolutionary 664mm scale.

He was also the first to use a synthetic varnish as an alternative to the shellac used until then, thus obtaining more excellent projection and richness of the sound and better protection for the wood.

He was also the creator of the 10-string guitar popularized by Narciso Yepes, and the 8-string guitar at the request of José Tomás. He created the Cámara guitar, eliminating the wolf notes. He designed a version of the romantic guitar with a powerful and intimate sound simultaneously. And he discovered the cedar top that today most guitar makers use in their work.

To reinforce the neck, he inserted an ebony bar into it that his son, JR IV, later replaced with a carbon fiber bar, leaving the ebony strip as an ornament later implemented in the guitar industry by the vast majority of brands.

He ventured into alternative paths to the Spanish guitar, developing what we call the European guitar, which is an acoustic guitar but instead of steel strings it has nylon strings, giving its sound a special and different charm; It’s probably the first crossover ever.

It would be, however, a very long task to list all his inventions, but perhaps these are the most outstanding.

José Ramírez IV

Improved the construction process of the 1ª guitar, developed by his father, which we currently call Traditional, making it more comfortable for the guitarist, and achieved a sound projection almost at the height of the 664mm, adapting it to a scale of 650mm, at the request of some guitarists who complained that their hands were not big enough to play the long-scale guitar.

He was also the first guitar maker to insert a carbon fibre bar into the neck to reinforce it, thus replacing the inner ebony strip, but leaving it as an ornament.

He also developed the Especial guitar, at the request of some guitarists looking for a faster response. Together with his father, he designed the Spanish cutaway guitar and entered the world of electrification with this pioneering model in its style.

Amalia Ramírez

Based on the work of her father, experimented with the Chamber guitar, changing the rosewood of the inner fin for cedar and spruce, depending on the wood of the top, increasing the richness of harmonics and maintaining its characteristic of eliminating wolf notes.

And she created the Auditorio Trío guitar with great sound projection, adapting very quickly to the guitarist’s way of playing due to its great plasticity. Likewise, taking up the aesthetic quest of the ancient guitar makers, she highlights the beauty of ornamentation in her designs.

Cristina y José Enrique

Little by little they are taking the reins in our workshop. They are currently reviewing the construction of the guitars in our collection to learn about the construction history.

José Enrique has finished a guitar with his own design that we will soon post in a video on our YouTube channel.


Amalia Ramirez
March 16, 2023


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