Many people ask me what is my favourite guitar. Fortunately, dealing in fine guitars I’m very spoiled having played Hauser, Bouchet, Fleta, Friederich, Santos, Ramirez, Dammann, Smallman and many other fine guitars passing through my hands.
Personally as a player I’ve always had a soft spot for Cedar Fletas. As a student I had a Kohno followed by a 1960’s Ramirez and then an early Smallman but I always loved hearing John Williams on his 70’s Cedar Fleta.
When I visited Spain in 1997 I decided to visit the Fleta workshop. I was horrified to find that it had been bulldozed to make way for the Barcelona Olympic stadium but with some detective work I tracked down the new address and found Gabriel and his son (also Gabriel) patiently working away. I had recently had a 84 Cedar Fleta that was a great guitar but it didn’t excite me as much as the 70’s Williams guitar that my old guitar teacher Jason Waldron owned. So I was blown away when I heard and played the new guitar that Gabriel junior let me try out and decided to order one then and there on the spot.
I knew the waiting list was long and when they told me it would be about 13 years I tried to put the sound of the guitar out of my mind until about three years ago when I wrote to them to update my details, and then nothing…… so I waited another 6 months and asked a friend who’s Spanish is more fluent than mine to write again and then nothing….. Late last year I heard the sad news that Gabriel Senior had passed away. Wanting to pass my condolences on to Gabriel junior I asked my daughter who was staying in Barcelona at the time to drop by the workshop and I’m happy to report that Gabriel is still making fine guitars in his family tradition and, better still, my guitar will be ready in April of this year after an epic 17 year wait.