Paulino Bernabé Luthier
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Paulino Bernabe (PADRE)

Paulino Bernabe is considered among the rare elite of guitar makers. His instruments, widely used by concert and recording artists, are sought after for their uniquely powerful, clear, and sustaining tone.

Born in Madrid on July 2, 1932, Bernabe studied the classical guitar with Daniel Fortea, a pupil of Tárrega. It was during these years that he developed an interest in guitar construction.

In 1954, the young guitarist became an apprentice guitar maker, and eventually head artisan in the famed Ramirez workshop, during the time when Segovia began to play Ramirez guitars. In 1969, Bernabe left Ramirez and founded his own workshop in Madrid.

While rooted in the generations old AMadrid School of guitar making, Bernabe is an innovator and experimenter who has evolved his own strutting systems and construction methods. The sound of his guitars is unique in that they have robust basses, strong trebles, and a wide palette of tone colours; a true Aconcert grand among guitars.

Bernabe began his quest for his sound ideals in the early 1970´s with a radical 5-strut bracing system of the soundboard, later modifying this number to 7. More recently he developed a relatively complex multi-strutted layout that includes four struts working outward from the soundhole, as well as three fan braces at varying heights and thicknesses, and an innovative back design. The result is an instrument with a sweeter tone while still maintaining the original clarity and focus.

Bernabe has also used woods that are not common in classical guitars. In addition to his vast stock of rare, aged rosewood, Bernabe has used flamed maple, pear, and even camphorwood, to further sculpt the instrument´s sound capabilities.

In the early 1980´s, Bernabe´s son, Paulino, began to build instruments after a thorough and disciplined training with the master, his father. Today, father and son work side by side in an expanded workshop in the north of Madrid, producing guitars of the highest standard of hand-workmanship and integrity of detail.

Bernabe has said, Some guitar makers feel that they have made instruments superior to all others, but I do not think I have as yet produced the best guitar ever made. So far there is no equivalent to a Stradivarius among guitar makers, but one day I hope to produce the exceptional guitar.

In 1972, Bernabe completed a 10-string guitar for Narcico Yepes, which Yepes played until his death.

In 1974, Bernabe was awarded the Gold Medal at the International Crafts Exhibition in Munich.