The LAST Arcangel Fernandez Negra
The LAST Arcangel Fernandez Negra
Top: Spruce • Sides & Back: Indian Rosewood
Tuners: Graf • Scale: 650 mm • Origin: Spain
This once in a lifetime Arcangel Negra has found a new home, currently I do have a fine 74 Arcangel Negra for sale, please contact me for details…
Update, December 2011: Arcangel has formally retired and moved to the Canary Islands, making this Negra the last Negra Arcangel ever made, a very special Negra 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 Negra ever built.
This Negra is absolutely stunning. As you would expect the woods and construction are simply flawless, the highest level, bar none. I asked Jorg Graf to make me a set of very special tuners, Pewter finished Torres Leaf style with black nobs and black string rollers to accent the darker ‘negra’ character of this guitar. They add a beautiful accent to the overall appearance of the guitar and of course are accurate and smooth like no other. Arcangel tinted the Spruce a bit more honey colored so the transition from the darker Rosewood to the lighter Spruce is soft and beautiful to the eye. He has a delicate and artistic eye. He used a fine set of old Indian Rosewood and a perfect well aged Spruce soundboard. The tone is pure Arcangel, Flamenco, yet more musical than most Flamenco guitars. It has a very complex and mysterious voice and superb sustain that enhances the overall beauty of the tone without hampering the Flamenco style of playing in any way. This Negra ‘laments’, and the tonal character is uniquely Arcangel: lyrical yet Flamenco, complex and yet still direct, lamenting and yet bold. The action is beyond easy, I don’t know how he does it. A dream Negra.
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 Negra 2008”
If you are interested in owning one of the best and most rare of all flamenco guitars, please contact me to discuss…