Ramírez guitars have now been produced by five generations of the family.
The company was founded in 1882, when José Ramírez opened a workshop at 2 Concepción Jerónima, Madrid.
Following José Ramírez’s death in 1923, his son José Ramírez II, who was married with two children, José III and Alfredo, returned from South America where he had been working as a guitarist. He was also a guitar maker, and by 1925 José II was running the business.
Considerably hindered by material shortages during the Spanish Civil War, José II and his son José III, by now himself a guitar maker, began experimenting with non-traditional woods and design techniques. José II’s other son Alfredo managed the business.
Alfredo died in 1954, and José II in 1957, forcing José III to take over the management of the shop and for a time abandon guitar-making himself. However, he continued to experiment, putting designs on paper to be built by journeymen, and supervising every phase of construction of the instruments. He worked closely with top performers, which brought acceptance to his innovations.
He built concert guitars for Andrés Segovia which were larger and more powerful than those of Torres. These guitars featured a longer scale length, and asymmetrical bracing unlike the symmetrical Torres pattern. Both these innovations and many others are standard today.
More radical still, in 1963 he built a ten-string guitar for Narciso Yepes, to accommodate Yepes’ unique chromatically balanced tuning, and later an eight-string guitar for José Tomás. High-end professional models based on both of these extended-range guitars remain in the company’s current catalog.
In the 1960s, to cope with increasing demand, José III moved the workshop to General Margallo street, and greatly expanded the number of employees, leaving the original premises as a shop only. In the early 1970s this was replaced by a larger shop at 5 Concepción Jerónima, directly in front of the original establishment. The original shop was restored and reopened at the end of the 1980s by José III’s children, José Ramírez IV and his sister Amalia, both themselves by then guitar makers.
In 1988 Jose III passed control of the business to José IV and Amalia. In 1993 they undertook a major restructure of the business, concentrating on wholly handmade professional instruments, and contracting out the construction of top-quality student instruments to be built to their designs and delivered to their own workshop for final inspection and adjustment.
In 1995 they were unable to renew the lease on the original shop, and moved to the current address nearby at 8 Calle de la Paz. José IV died in 2000, leaving Amalia to oversee the entire operation. As of 2010 this consists of a team of fourteen, including Amalia herself, four other guitar makers, and three apprentices. Cristina and Enrique Ramirez, her nephew and niece will continue with the company in future. From Wikipedia.org.
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