Desde el Escritorio March 13, 1997

Who was the most widely recorded guitar builder before WWII?
Who used his instruments?

March 13, l997
Copyright Randy Osborne F.F.S.I. La Guitarria Fina 1997

Santos Hernandez

Santos Hernandez was born on November 1,l874. At the age of 10 he was an apprentice in a shop that made clothes for the Catholic clergy. Then at the age of 12, he began working in the guitar shop of Valentin Viudes Jr. Somewhat shortly after he was working in the Ortega shop, following his continued apprenticeship in the taller of the Sons of Gonzales (whose father was Maestro to Jose Ramirez I starting in l870). In l893 he entered military service (artillery). After a stint of 2 1/2 - 5 years, depending on the source of information , he entered the taller of Manuel Ramirez in 1898. He stayed there until Manuel's death in l917. In l912 he built an 11 string classical for Antonio Gimenez Manjon. Manjon offered Manuel Ramirez substantially less for the guitar though it was a special order. Manuel was disgusted with Manjon's ridiculous offer and the guitar remained unsold. Somewhere between the time it was originally constructed and 1916 it was converted back to a 6 string (not being a lot of buyers for 11 string models that one can play J. S. Bach compositions at original pitch).

Andre Segovia

In 1916 Andres Segovia came to the Manuel Ramirez shop hoping to rent a concert guitar for his upcoming recital in Madrid. Upon hearing Andres bring out the glorious tones from the guitar, Manuel offered the instrument as a gift telling Segovia "Go out in to the world and make my works better known by your marvelous playing" In 1924 the gift from Manuel was in need of repair but Manuel was dead 7 years by then and Segovia went to the Santos Hernandez shop at Aduana 23 in Madrid. Whereupon Andres was to learn all this time that the guitar had been made by Santos himself -Santos being the foreman of Manuel's shop at the time. Santos wanted to put his own label on the guitar and Andres refused saying only "Put a label inside that states you repaired it." To which Santos replied "My initials SH are to the right of center to identify that I made it though the label says Manuel Ramirez." This was the instrument that Andres Segovia was to begin his glorious recording career just 3 years later in 1927. He recorded 20 songs on this instrument until in 1937 Andres began to use a Herman Hauser I guitar. Hauser took every opportunity to measure this 1912 Manuel Ramirez by Santos when Segovia would be concertizing in Germany. This viewing of the 1912 Santos went on from about 1923 -1936, but Hauser also took in to account his occasional viewing of Miguel Llobet's 1860 Antonio de Torres. So the "greatest guitar of our epoch" to quote Segovia was a combination of a Santos and a Torres.

Ramon Montoya

One of the earliest flamenco virtuosos was Ramon Montoya. He was born on November 2,1880. Though born in Madrid faraway from Andalucia, he grasped the ability to play flamenco so that by the time he was 14 he was employed in a Madrid cafe to accompany cantantes. His virtuosity grew as fast as his fame. His recording profile begins at about 1910 more or less. He was active until about 10 years before his death in l949.The cantantes that he accompanied were: (listed by artist then quantity of songs)

  • Nino de Almaden 8
  • Angelillo 13
  • Aurelio de Cadiz 22
  • Juan Breva 10
  • Nino de Cabra 30
  • El Canario de Colmenar 8
  • Manuel Centeno 6
  • Jose Cepero 30
  • El Cojo Luque 2
  • El Cojo de Madrid 4
  • El Cojo de Malaga 22
  • Don Antonio Chacon 26
  • Chaconcito 12
  • Antonio Grau 8
  • Fernando E. Herrero 11
  • Nino de la Isla 20
  • Nina de Jerez 10
  • Nina de Linares 17
  • Nino de Los Lobitos 14 (Bernardo de los Lobitos)
  • Pepe Marchena 133
  • Nino de las Marianas 21
  • Nino de Medina 23
  • Juan Mojama 10
  • Nino del Museo 16
  • Manuel Pavon 18
  • Nina de los Peines 88
  • El Pena hijo 44
  • El Personita 8
  • Nino de Priego 2
  • Nina de la Puebla 16
  • Jose Rebollo 10
  • Luisa Requejo 10
  • Nino de la Ribera 3
  • Encarna Salmeron 4
  • El Sota 10
  • La Trianita 20
  • Juanito Valderrama 25
  • Manuel Vallejo 26
  • Juanito Varea 5
  • This accounts for 765 recordings on a Santos Hernandez Flamenco guitar. We must also add 24 solos, that Ramon did in l936, making a total of 789.
  • Nino Ricardo

    Our next immortal figure is Nino Ricardo. He was born in Sevilla on July 1,1904. At 13 years of age he began playing in the Salon Vigil in Sevilla. In 1924 he began his long career by accompanying La Nina de los Peines and her brother Tomas Pavon. Nino Ricardo was to be extremely influential guitarist having his fingerprints in the playing of Paco de Lucia. He died on April 14,1972. The great cantantes he accompanied were:

    El Chato de Valencia                                       2

    Carmen Florido                                               2

    Guerrita                                                           2

    Nina de Jaen                                                   4

    L. Lavao de Parades                                        2

    El Limpio                                                        8

    Manolo El Malagueno                                    6

    Manolo Manzanilla                                        4

    El Mochuelo died in 1937           unknown quantity of about 350 songs

    Nino Olivares                                                  6

    Pepe El Moro                                                 2

    Palanca                                                          10

    El Pena hijo                                                   24

    Pericon de Cadiz                                             7

    Platerito de Alcala                                            8

    La Andalucita                                                  12

    El Cojo Luque                                                  6

    Manuel Vallejo                                               10

    La Nina de Los Peines                                    41

    Tomas Pavon                                                  12

    Pepe Marchena                                                18

    Manuel Centeno                                             10

    Jose Cepero                                                    24

    Nino Isidro                                                    14

    Nino de Alcala                                               12

    Paco Mazaco                                                  10

    Bernardo El de Los Lobitos                           11

    Nina de Gloria                                               13

    Nino de La Huerta                                          12

    Nino de Alfalfa                                                6

    Pepe Pinto                                                       72

    Paco El Boina                                                  8

    Emelio Abadia                                                  4

    Nino de la Calza                                               8

    Canalejas de Puerta Real                                 42

    Rafael Canete                                                  4

    El Carbonerillo                                                23

    Cepero de Triana                                             8

    Currito de San Julian                                      11

    Curro de Utrera                                                2

    Nina de Puebla                                                 9

    Rafael de Jerez                                                2

    Antonio Rengel                                               16

    Nino de la Ribera                                              2

    El Sevillanito                                                   4

    El Sevillano                                                   40

    Juanito Valderrama                                         56

    Nuanito Varea                                                20

    Nino de Velez                                                  2

    Nino Villanueva                                              8

    So this brings us another 650 recordings done on a Santos Hernandez Flamenco guitar.

    Manolo de Badajoz

    The next figure of extensive recordings is Manolo de Badajoz. He was born in the city of Badajoz in 1892. He was a disciple of Javier Molina and Don Ramon Montoya. Manolo died in Madrid in 1962. The important Cantantes that he accompanied were:

    Nino de Alcala                   2

    Nino de Almaden                  3

    Nino de Alora                    2

    El Americano                     40

    La Andalucita                    6

    Angelillo                        18

    Andres Heredia (EL Bizco)        4

    Pepita Caballero                 4

    Lola Cabello                     2

    Nino de Cabra                    12

    Nino de la Calza                 6

    Canalejas de Puerto Real         6

    Nino de Caracol (Manolo )        8

    El Carbonerillo                  19

    Estrellita Castro                2

    Manuel Centeno                   15

    Jose Cepero                      16

    El Cojo de Pomares               4

    El Corruco de Algeciras          6

    El Cuacua                        1

    El Chato de Jerez                1

    El Chato de Valencia             2

    El Chato de Las Ventas           24

    Luis El Chulito                  2

    Encarna la Finito                2

    Nino de la Flor                  10

    Paco Flores                      2

    Nino de la Fuente                6

    Nino de Fuentes Andalucia        6

    Rosario Garcia                   8

    Nino de Gloria                   14

    El Gorito (de Triana)            10

    Gracia de Triana                 10

    Guerrita                         10

    Herrerito                        2

    Miguel Herrero                   2

    Nino de la Huerta                60

    Isabelita de Jerez               8

    Nino Isidro                      10

    El Limpio                        6

    Nina de Linares                  10

    Bernardo de Los Lobitos          2

    Pepe Marchena                    4

    El Malagueno                     8

    Paco Mazaco                      8

    Pepe El Molinero                 8

    Paquita Moran                    4

    Nino del Museo                   4

    Mariquita Ortega                 2

    Palanca                          16

    Nina de Los Peines               12

    El Peluso                        18

    El Pena hijo                     34

    Jesus Perosanz                   34

    Pepe Pinto                       28

    Nina de la Puebla                22

    Jose Rebollo                     10

    Antonio Rengel                   3

    Nino de la Ribera                4

    El Rojo de Salamanca             2

    El Sevillanito                   2

    Jose Suarez                      8

    Nino de Talavera                 4

    Juanito Varea                    10

    Nino de Velex                    8

    These listings comprise 636 recordings on a Santos Hernandez Flamenco guitar.

    Luis Maravilla

    Next on our journey of those who used a Santos is Luis Maravilla. He was born in Sevilla in 1914. He and his wife Pilar Calvo were the principals in the 1952 motion picture "Duende yY Misterio". But well before that time he accompanied the following artists:

    Pilar Calvo                      2

    El Cojo de Huelva                2

    Jose Greco                       2

    Roque (Jarrito) Montoya          4

    El Gafas (Manolo)                2

    Luis also recorded 4 guitar solos- Danza Oriental, Tanguillo de Cadiz, and 2 Zambras. This adds another 16 recordings on a Santos Hernandez Flamenco guitar.

    Javier Molina

    Javier Molina was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz) in 1868. He probably played in more Cafe Cantante environments than anyone else due to the time in which he was born (1868). A notable singer that he accompanied was Manuel Torre for 4 songs.

    Guillermo Gomez

    Besides Andres Segovia another classical guitarist that recorded solos was Guillermo Gomez. He was born in Malaga in 1880 and moved to Mexico City in 1900. He recorded before Segovia I believe. I tend to think of Guillermo as a contemporary of Augustin Barrios. Guillermo played and published Flamenco & Classical solos. He recorded for 3 different companies a total of 20 songs on his Santos Classical guitar. He might be called the Tarrega of Mexico. Guillermo had seen Tarrega play in Sevilla in 1897. Guillermo's most well known student was Francisco Salinas. Salinas held a professorship at the Conservatory of Mexico City from 1935 onward. He also recorded at least 12 songs-mostly original compositions of his Maestro. I have in my collection one recording by Salinas "Arpa de Oro & Tu Recuerdo", both Gomez compositions. I cannot verify that he used a Santos. Francisco Salinas's main inclusion in this article is that he will best be remembered because his most famous student was the recently deceased Jesus Silva. Jesus became a student and friend of Andres Segovia in 1933. Silva later went on to teach in the North Carolina School for the Arts.

    So our composite totals of recordings on a Santos Hernandez Classical or Flamenco guitar before the death of Santos in 1943 are as follows:

    Don Ramon Montoya          789 (includes 24 solos)

    Nino Ricardo                       650

    Manolo de Badajoz            636

    Luis Maravilla                       16

    Javier Molina                          4

    Andres Segovia                     20

    Guillermo Gomez                  20



    Paco de Lucena had a prodigious student Rafael Marin who in 1902 published a Flamenco method in Spain. Rafael played a Manuel Ramirez flamenco guitar but at that time Santos had already been working in Manuel's shop for 5 or 6 years. As to who actually made Rafael's guitar your guess is as good as el mio.

    Coming next week

    In Granada there is a street named Cuesta de Gomerez. There are at least 6 guitarmakers on that street. Who did they learn from?


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