If you need a great guitar, just go to Madrid !

Plaza de la Provincia

 

This autumn I decided to quit drums. Not that I don’t like to play anymore, but a friend of mine encountered serious hearing problems recently, it was quite scary, so I thought it was time to take care of my ears, not to expose them anymore to loud snare drums and cymbal sounds.

Eventually I sold my Gretsch drum kit in november, so it was high time to get back to guitar playing, and this time it would be dedicated to improve my fingerstyle. My electroacoustic Yamaha folk guitar is still in good shape, despite its 25 years of regular playing, but I needed a nylon strings guitar (ok, spoiling now), like….this one :

Antonio de Toledo

 

I have tried out some classical guitars in Paris this autumn, but when you’ve been accustomed to play on electric or folk guitars, it’s not that easy to handle a classical guitar, it’s…quite hard for your fingers. Fortunately, in one guitar shop I came accross a flamenco guitar, from the Prudencio Saez luthier, I found it much easier to play, and the sound was fantastic.

My friend needed a nylon strings guitar, too, and there is a direct air connection between Rennes and Madrid with Iberia, guess what we did ?  Vale vale, we booked two tickets for Madrid, ready to spend three days in the spanish capital to find the guitars of our dreams !

The first place we went to was an ancient shop, beautiful wooden shop, Jose Ramirez, we soon discovered his guitars were very expensive (nothing under 1500 euros), and to be clear, it is a shop for professional musicians :

José Ramirez

 

Then we found two shops that offer a great panel of various luthiers, it was exactly what we were looking for.

The shop below is the one where I found my guitar, la Guitarreria de Madrid.  At first you wonder if there is enough space in this tiny shop to sell guitars, but once inside it’s like a long corridor with something like 120 guitars hanging from the walls, so impressive. After having tested more than 15 models during three hours, I bought an Antonio de Toledo guitar, with a hard case and an additional string set :

 

La Guitarreria

 

My friend found his model the next morning, in the other shop, Guitarras de Luthier.

In this shop, there is a little lounge hidden behind the main room, where you can sit and spend all the time you need to try out various instruments. In both shops, the sellers were really patient with us, explaining us the specificities of the different models, guiding us in our choice. I didn’t have such an understanding welcome in Paris :

Guitarras de Luthier

 

There are mainly two types of flamenco guitars :

  • flamenco blanca, which are the traditional flamenco guitars.
  • flamenco negra, which are more versatile ; the woods used to build these guitars are a little bit different, you can find more explanations here.

If you are interested yourself in going to Madrid to buy you a guitar, and if you can read spanish, I found this precious guide online, really helpful.

Of course I couldn’t help but shooting other stores (!) :

Libreria Iberoamericana

 

After our musical quest was over, saturday midday was already here (shops close at 2pm on saturdays in Madrid). Our flights back were on the next morning, so we still had time to explore Madrid wonders.

Madrid is the home of three renowned museums. I’ve been to the Prado and Reina Sofia museums before, but I didn’t have the chance to visit the Thyssen-Bornemisza, we spent a few hours in these gorgeous collections, before reluctantly having to say adios to Madrid to…come back to Rennes.

 

Plaza Mayor