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Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding your instrument, repairs, any instruments we have for sale, ordering an instrument, or any instrument you wish to sell.

800 Greenwood St
Evanston, IL, 60201
United States

847-864-7730

I began making guitars in 1966 in Dayton Ohio, where I worked out of my house. From 1968-1970 I lived in Mexico City, returning during the summers to build instruments at the Dayton location. 

During this time I was studying Anthropology and playing flamenco guitar professionally in various troupes in Mexico and around the U.S. In 1972 I moved to Chicago and worked briefly out of the back of a music store before moving to my present location in 1973. 

At that point I gave up any pretensions of being a professional guitarist and dedicated myself full time to lutherie.

 


My 800 Greenwood Street shop has undergone several renovations and changes over the years, the most recent being the 1995 massive renovation I did of the outside and inside of the building. 

As a result, my building is now climate controlled throughout the entire 4,000 square feet, and it has now acquired a nicer facade, with more interior showroom space than was previously available. 

Consequently, we are better able to serve those who prefer to visit the shop to select an instrument from our extensive inventory, which is housed in glass fronted rosewood cabinets. Being able to play many instruments side by side is very helpful in making a final selection, and we have full repair/restoration facilities on the premises for minor action adjustments to major restorations of valuable collector instruments.

1908 Manuel Ramirez Double Body

1908 Manuel Ramirez Double body (Spain) 660 mm, 50 mm nut, strings spaced 40.5 mm from 1-6, spruce top, inner body of cypress with spruce back, outer body of Brazilian rosewood, original untouched French polish of shellac, German mechanical tuning machines.  The rarest of rare, this singular example which came from the Manuel Ramirez workshop was actually made by Santos Hernandez who was working in the shop at that time, but had not yet risen to the level of foreman.  We base this identification on very specific “huellas” (fingerprints) of glue, materials, tool marks and workmanship which were peculiar to Santos’ hand.  Possibly this was commissioned by a very skilled player, skilled enough to convince the shop to make a very deluxe instrument using expensive materials and elaborate inlays.  Had it merely been a speculative experiment proposed by the shop itself, its doubtful they would have invested so much labor into the complex rosette, edge inlays and expensive tuning machines.  The name of the original owner is lost in history, but his vision lives on in this singularly unique example, the only such instrument we have ever seen in over 50 years of handling fine Spanish guitars.  Untouched since the day it left Ramirez’ shop, it is an extremely rare untouched original example of the work of Manuel Ramirez as executed by Santos Hernandez.  On this basis alone we have arrived at the value of the instrument, and being such a unique double body instrument, and being in excellent original playing condition makes it all the more desirable for the collector looking for perfection and originality.  The sound is very much like the instruments of Torres, and internally it is very influenced by Torres’ bracing designs.  Lightly made, as were Torres’ guitars, it is shocking to handle this instrument and realize that despite the presence of two guitar bodies, the instrument weighs the same as a typical full size rosewood bodied Manuel Ramirez of the era.  The top is still in perfect condition with no twisting or distortion, a testimony to Santos’ understanding of the calculation of torque forces in relation to top thickness.  The character is very Spanish, and it wants to be played with controlled intensity and caressing of the strings more than a modern “atomic” attack.  The action is set very low, typical of guitars of the era, and there is almost no resistance to the player’s touch.  The depth and sustain are remarkable, and the geometry of the instrument is totally normal, there is no sense when playing this guitar that it is anything other than a great full size instrument.  Discovered by the current owner in the 1970’s when it was advertised for sale in Guitar Review magazine, this instrument has been under constant tension and played daily to the present, so it has an incredible amount of breaking in and tonal development already in its DNA.  A very special and unique instrument, for more details see my article in the February, 2007 issue of Vintage Guitar Magazine.  $80,000