José Ramirez (1858-1923), originally apprenticed to luthier Francisco Gonzalez, began his family business in 1882. Many legendary players, such as Segovia, Tarrega, Sabicas, Llobet, Yepes, and others used Ramirez guitars during the course of their careers. The Madrid-based family business then passed to José II (1885-1957), and then to José III (1922-1994).
This a Ramirez 1A flamenco guitar built during 1963, during the ‘golden era’ of Jose Ramirez III’s leadership of the Ramirez workshop at Concepcion Jeronima No. 2 in Madrid, Spain.
With Jose Ramirez III leading the workshop, this Ramirez 1A has the initials MM on the slipper foot. These are the initials of renowned builder Miguel Malo Martinez.
Miguel Malo Martinez was born in 1943. He started an apprenticeship with Jose Ramirez in 1959 making high end classical and flamenco guitars. He was one of the leading craftsman in the Ramirez shop and stayed there for 34 years.
After working for Ramirez this long time, he established his own workshop in 1993 in Madrid.
Its construction defines the tradition that countless other builders follow, with the slipper foot join integrating the sides and neck for maximum resonance and response.
In terms of materials used in construction, this Ramirez 1A uses the Red Cedar top pioneered by Jose Ramirez III, paired with some lovely cypress for the sides and back. The bridge appears to be dark mahogany.
Our research indicates the neck is Cedro or Spanish Cedar, Cedrela Odorata, which despite the name is neither Spanish or a true cedar, being from Central and South America and more closely related to mahogany. Fingerboard ais ebony.
The beautiful handmade rosewood tuners are the original traditional style friction tuners, and they work well. They take a little getting used to but once the tuners are set it’s a rock solid arrangement.
And of course they are so light, helping this amazing instrument to weigh in at a flyaway 1.28 kg (2.82 lbs).
Scale length is 653 mm (25.71’’)
Nut width is 51 mm (2.00")
This guitar has been lightly played over the years, and has been looked after very well. It has had no structural issues, which is not often the case with such a lightweight instrument.
So there are no cracks, splits, or repairs. There is the lightest of fingermarks on the clear pick guard which can hardly be seen, one small dent on the top below the high E string at the bridge, and a small blemish on the lower bout – see pics.
This guitar was bought eight years ago by its current owner from highly regarded player and Ramirez expert Tavi Jinariu from Los Angeles. He says he remembers it well and that it is “a wonderful instrument.”
Here’s a video of Tavi playing this actual guitar in 2013 – https://youtu.be/6vCpIjQqxbU
Comes in a Humicase Protege model hard shell case in excellent condition.