Contreras workshop, founded by Manuel Contreras in 1962, continued by his son Manuel Contreras the second until his passing in January 2011 and nowadays directed by the guitarist Victoria Velasco together with the luthiers formed at the workshop during the last decades, has a world-wide reputation in the Concert Guitar construction. Its name has been associated during the last 50 years with the newest theories appeared about guitar construction. Professional guitar performers in all the world have found here and in our varied models, the answer to their musical needs.
The top line Classical Concert Guitar models, always constructed in South American and African rosewood, combine four different systems of construction:
Model 1st Special: based on the traditional system of construction of the Spanish Guitar. It was presented in 1962.
Model Double Top: it combines the traditional system of construction regarding the harmonic top, with a second top placed on the guitar bottom, what provides a different nature of sound to the instrument. It was presented in 1974.
Model 25th Anniversary: it is the result of many years of experiments. It incorporates to the already mentioned model "Double Top" a "Sounding Back Support" above the back of the guitar. This prevents the body of the performer from absorbing the instrument’s sound. It was presented in 1987. During the years, this model suffered an evolution up to the current 10th Anniversary model.
Model 10th Anniversary: it is the most innovative guitar, regarding its design and materials, of all the concert models. It combines the newest theories of construction of the hamonic top with the placing of a "Sounding Back Support in the interior of the guitar. It was presented in 1998.
The second level Classical Concert models are also constructed in an artisan and traditional way, not only in their outward appearance but also in their inner design, but with a different selection of woods which includes Indian and South American Rosewood.
Among the professional Flamenco Guitar models, there are also two different levels: the model 1st Special which is constructed in Cypress or also in South American or African Rosewood ("Negra" guitar) and the second level model constructed in Cypress or also in Indian Rosewood ("Negra" guitar).
The Studio models are made in a non-artisan way of construction, being designed and finished in our workshop.
Very interesting article about our guitars in the last issue of Guitar Fair Magazine.(Páginas 8 a 15)
On November 22nd 2001 we commemorated the Centenary of Master Joaquin Rodrigo birthday. For this occasion, in July 9th 2000 a Royal Decree was approved in order to constitute, under the chairmanship of Their Majesties the King and the Queen of Spain, the National Commission to organize the ceremonies to commemorate the Illustrious Musician.
Joaquin Rodrigo did contribute in a decisive way to magnify and make worldwide known the guitar as a concert instrument. For this reason the Illustrious City Council of Aranjuez, together with the “Victoria and Joaquin Rodrigo Foundation” carried out this International Guitar Meeting.
The Contest took place from November 7th to 15th 2000 at the Cultural Center “Isabel de Farnesio” in Aranjuez, and many guitars built by the best luthiers in the world did participate as an homage to the composer. Thirty two guitars in total from the USA, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Corea and Spain, took part in the Competition.
The panel of judges, composed by the eminent guitar perfomers Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey, Carles Trepat and Victor Monge “Serranito”, the violin luthier Jose Maria Lozano and Roma Escalas Llimona, director of the “Museo de la Música” in Barcelona, chose the most outstanding guitar regarding its sound and beauty.
The winner was the instrument built by the luthier Manuel Contreras II from Madrid (Spain) and it combined in the Panel of Judges’ opinion, besides its sonority and beauty, the very best conditions, regarding its sound projection, necessary to be played in the concert with guitar and orchestra that would take place among other acts that crowned the year of the Centenary of Joaquin Rodrigo.
The guitar of Manuel Contreras II was named Joaquin Rodrigo since the very moment that the verdict of the panes (of judges) was published, and, as an award, it formed part of the great display that toured all Spain during the year of the Centenary, together with the documents and most esteemed objects of the composer, including the original manuscript of the “Concierto de Aranjuez”.
Finally, as it has been said, it was the main instrument in the Great Homage Concert that took place at the Royal Gardens of the Aranjuez Palace in September 9th 2001, in which three of the five Concerts for guitar and orchestra that Master Rodrigo composed could be listened to. They were performed by the eminent guitar performers Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey (Concierto de Aranjuez); Assad Brothers (Concierto Madrigal) and Los Angeles Guitar Quartet (Concierto Andaluz).