But I Wanted it Really Bad
I went to a little function in 2009 where Claudio pimps guitars by having students play them for each other and fantasize about how they are going to purchase one of each and tour Europe. More than one of these fine instruments graced my finger tips that day, but the Granados boomed like a canon with all the clarity of diamond and all the class of Rolls Royce.
The artist with whom I was studying at the time was informed that I was more than a bit fond of the instrument. She told me that Claudio would ask for $6700. So I began to consider the superiority of my current instrument and fall deeply in love with it and all its flaws. Then she suggested I contact the maker directly and pay $4500. Of course, thought I. How silly not to arrive at this basic solution.
But it Was a Bit More Complex Than That
These guitars are made by one luthier who lives in Paracho, Mexico, speaks Spanish and has quite a few players clamoring for his talents. First, I needed to find out how to contact him which I did through a Venezuelan guitarist-friend who had recently gone through Claudio to purchase his and possibly had an axe to grind. HEB, where I purchase my groceries, sold long distance calling cards so I picked up a few of those. All set.
It Was Going to Take a Bit More
I do not know much Spanish and Mr. Granados does not know know much English. And since I was spending so much I had some detailed specifications for him. A shorter fretboard and a thin-widthed neck were in order for my smallish hands. It had to be a cedar-top and not spruce. And I did not want the run of the mill tuners that makers use. I wanted very fine tuners that are guaranteed for life because they are that well-crafted. These had to be purchased from a manufacturer in the U.S. and mailed to Paracho to be mounted. I would have rather attempted brain surgery on myself than mount those tuners.
Thankfully, Tammy, my wife, retained a more significant portion of her high school Spanish lessons than I. It was just enough so that I did not end up with a 9-string, left-handed dulcimer that can only be used as wall decor. Email communication was sketchy too, but the online translators did the job, just well enough. I could have asked a Spanish-speaking friend to handle all this, but let’s face it: That would have been a pain in their ass.
Okay, the Check’s in the Mail
No, the check is not in the mail. The money would need to be magically wired from Houston to Mexico in two heart-stopping, vomit-inducing installments. There were account number exchanges. There were terrifying forms to be completed at the credit union. There was an issue with his bank. An issue with his bank!!! Cripe! Up to this point, I had myself on simmer. A series of circuitous calls and emails along with gnashing of teeth and the invention of several never before heard profanities made it all right.
Okay, Guitar’s in the Mail
No. Such quality takes time. A good composer/guitarist friend gave me excellent advice however. This is a very smart man who writes books about obscure contemporary composers after researching arcane musical documents in European libraries. He told me simply to never bother the maker. Eight months later, a well-traveled,triangular box arrived at our home mid-afternoon on a Wednesday. I had my guitar and it was perfect.
The arrival of the Granados at our home is one of the top five moments of my life right up there with savoring the irritation on Claudio’s reptilian mug. It was worth the trouble. Tammy seemed just as excited as I was and I will never forget that. In fact, it may have been the best part of the entire experience. When I want something that badly in the future, I will recall the Granandos and how happy we both were and just go for it.