Thursday, April 16, 2009

Equipment Notes - Part 9

My nylon string classical guitar is a Garcia Grade #3. It was hand made in Japan in 1974. I used to play classical guitar in my first year of college, and then I haven't played that style at all for a long time. I recently had the desire to relearn some of the pieces and techniques form my classical guitar experience. I once owned a Garcia guitar, and I remembered what a great guitar it was, so when I saw one for sale on Craig's List, I knew I would be happy with it.

The Garcia guitars used to be made in Spain, and then production was moved to Japan in 1969. The last year Garcia guitars were manufactured was 1974. I have no problem with the fact that the guitar was made in Japan because it comes from an era where guitars from Japan were so excellent that Japanese manufacturers were being sued by American companies such as Gibson and Fender. It seems that they were copying American guitar designs and many people felt that the Japanese guitars were actually better. They certainly were cheaper!

This guitar better sounding than most guitars in the intermediate price range, such as Yamaha, Guild, Fender and Aria guitars. The range of tone, the depth of the bass, and the sparkling crispness of the high notes on the Garcia was far better the other makes. The intonation was accurate. I did encounter a high fret, but that probably due to age and was easily fixed with some glue and a hammer. The guitar has a solid pine top, and mahogany back and sides. I would have preferred Brazilian rosewood, but that would have cost me a lot more money!

Garcia guitars were distributed by the Antigua Casa Sherry-Brener company of Madrid, Spain, which also distributed Ramirez and Hernandez guitars. They have (or had) an American branch in Chicago. I have read articles that stated that the guitars were still being hand made, even after production moved to Japan. I feel fortunate to have found this guitar since they haven't been made for 35 years! I've listened to some classical guitar recordings, and I feel that the tone of this guitar is as good as anything I have heard. If you are looking for a good nylon string guitar, keep looking - there might still be a few more of these out there!

Here is a photo of the Garcia Grade #3 guitar:

http://tomsmerk.com/photo/Garcia.JPG

6 Comments:

At 5:26 PM, Blogger Private said...

Hi, I have the exact same Garcia guitar 1974 and I need to replace the tuning pegs. Any idea where I can find the original parts?

 
At 5:29 PM, Blogger msganji said...

Sorry, email me at writeanji@gmail.com. Thanks!!

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger Princess said...

how much is this guitar worth this day ??

 
At 4:13 PM, Blogger Tom Smerk said...

I think it's safe to say that the original tuning keys are no longer available. There are some very nice good quality replacement keys that would fit perfectly. I wouldn't hesitate to go with something like that.

As far as current value, probably about $350 (book price) to $450 (what people are actually paying for them). I still can't think of anything better in that price range!

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have one that is a 74' ,grade #3 in great condition if anyone is interested. You can email me at justinbingham@att.net

 
At 5:49 PM, Blogger alain lacerte said...

I just bought a Garcia No. 3 1969 with the number 109 hand written on the inside. Great tone and still in pristine condition for its age.

 

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