Guitars in the John Harris Collection
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Hernández y Aguado 1969

Hernández y Aguado

1969, Madrid

Top: Cedar

Back & Sides: Rosewood

Madrid luthiers Manuel Hernández (1895-1975) and Victoriano Aguado (1897-1982) were partners in a piano repair shop in the 1940s when they became intrigued with the art of guitar making. Their late start as luthiers is responsible for the relatively limited output of guitars from the late 1950s through the early 70s. Their instruments rivaled the best of the day and were played by Julian Bream, John Williams and Regino Sainz de la Maza. The look of these guitars is very distinctive with narrow rosettes, stippled head stock design, varnished interiors and a wide lower bout (“pregnant hips”). John Silva of Trilogy Guitars describes the sound of the relatively lightly-built Hernández y Aguado guitars as vibrant, complex and almost brassy compared to the more brooding sound of Ramirez, Fleta and Rodriguez. Ironically, guitarist Celin Romero, the eldest of the three Romero brothers, recalls that back in the day, today’s rare and very expensive Hernández y Aguado guitars were considered the inexpensive alternative to the pricier Madrid guitars from Contreras and Ramirez which sell today at a fraction of the cost of an Hernández y Aguado.

This guitar, No. 382, confirms what guitarist Mark Teicholz has said about the guitars of Hernández y Aguado: The notes “…explode like popcorn.” A combination of lightness of construction combined with a comparatively deep body may be the key to the unusually powerful yet highly expressive guitar.

1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar label


1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar rosette


1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar rosette

Carved Headstock

1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar front


1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar side


1969 Hernández y Aguado guitar back