The LAST Arcangel Fernandez “Blanca”
The LAST Arcangel Fernandez “Blanca”
Top: Spruce • Sides & Back: Spanish Cypress
Tuners: Graf • Scale: 650 mm • Origin: Spain
Arrrgh, try as I might to hold on to these amazing guitars I am so fortunate to receive, it seems sooner or later one of my great clients makes me the proverbial ‘offer that cannot be refused’, in this manner this guitar has found a great new home!! Please contact me if you are seeking a fine Arcangel…
Update, December 2011: Arcangel has formally retired and moved to the Canary Islands, making this Blanca the last Blanca Arcangel ever made, a very special Blanca indeed. Good luck to our friend and thanks from all his many fans around the world for his wonderful guitars which will continue to delight players for many years to come.
According to Arcangel he has not made a Flamenco in the past 15 years, and has no plans at this time to make another as he is booked the rest of his life building classicals at this point. So this could in fact be the last Arcangel Blanca ever built.
This Blanca is the epitome of everything you could ask for in the finest Blanca. The craftsmanship is at such a high level that it is standard setting, master level lutherie. Arcangel used a fine set of well aged Spanish Cypress and a superb old Spruce soundboard. He adorned the sound hole with one of my all time favorite classic rosette designs of his, beautiful. OK if I ever get a tattoo, it is going to be of this rosette!! With his artistic eye he leaves the tint in the shelllac very light so that the light Cypress and light Spruce appear to be one wood and blend harmoniously as you view the guitar. Jorg Graf built custom Pewter finished Torres Leaf design tuners for this guitar, leaving the string rollers white this time to accent the lighter ‘blanca’ nature of this guitar. Arcangels’ amazing set up and neck carve create the most effortless action on the planet, even my small hands feel totally in command on this guitar. This Blanca is perhaps the best Blanca I have ever had the pleasure of playing, and I can only imagine what she will become as she is played in. Ample volume, bold and very Flamenco but with a gorgeous and beautifully musical voice at the same time. Notes fly off at the slightest touch of the string, and each note articulates cleanly and clearly with superb separation. Hammer ons and pull offs are so easy and the notes created are as powerful as a plucked note. It just does not get any better than this. Pure Arcangel, world class Blanca, a modern “Barbero” in every respect.
Arcangel Fernandez is considered to be one of the most skilled builders of Flamenco guitars in the world. His guitars have always been sought after by the true connoisseurs of the Flamenco guitar and they are extremely hard to find as most owners simply won’t part with them. Sabicas, Montoya, Tomatito, and so many others have enjoyed Arcangel guitars. These stunning guitars have become even more elusive due to the fact that about 15 years ago roughly, Arcangel was offered a lifetime contract to build only Classical guitars. Thus his waiting list was permanently closed, and he abruptly stopped building any Flamenco guitars. I am not aware of any new Arcangel Flamenco guitars being built since around that time, and when I asked Arcangel when he last built a Flamenco his just shrugged and said it had been so long he could not remember. He is often credited with building the first ‘Negra’ in the late ’50’s. He played Flamenco himself and of course continued building when his maestro, Marcello Barbero passed away. At the time he passed away Barbero had two nearly finished guitars on his bench, the last Barbero, and the penultimate Barbero. Arcangel polished them and these two special guitars remained with Arcangel in his own personal collection. Years later I was privileged to have the honor of representing the penultimate Barbero for sale to my clients. Arcangel provided a letter of authenticity, and I found a very grateful home for this fine and historical instrument. But the holy grail of Barbero guitars, the last Barbero, remained with Arcangel. He held it all these years, refusing many offers to sell it.
Recently when he realized his son would not pursue playing the guitar, I was again honored by the opportunity to represent Arcangel and to find an appropriate steward for this one of a kind Barbero, the ‘last Barbero’. I flew to Spain and played the guitar, I am holding it in the photo on this page. What a beautiful instrument in every way. Just to hold it sent chills up my spine, to know that this was the last guitar Barbero ever touched, it felt almost mystical to me. You could immediately recognize the heritage of Barbero in Arcangel’s own guitars when you played her. I was able to, with the help of my good friend at Royal Classic Strings Juan Grecos, to assist Arcangel in placing this very special Barbero with a client of mine, who will care properly for this guitar for many years. As a totally unexpected surprise for me, knowing that I am Arcangel’s biggest fan, he kindly offered to build me a Blanca and a Negra! As far as I know these are the only two new Arcangel Flamenco guitars in the world, and it is entirely possible they may be the last Arcangel Flamenco guitars ever built. To those of you reading this, please do not try to contact Arcangel and ask for guitars, he is booked the rest of his life and has indicated he will not accept any more requests. I am triply honored for this reason, to have these two fine guitars.
The guitar comes with a custom Karura case and cover, the lid of the cover states “Arcangel Fernandez Blanca 2009”
If you are interested in owning one of the best and most rare of all flamenco guitars, please contact me to discuss…