Friday, February 27, 2009

Antigua Casa Nuñez

The first thing we did after arriving in Buenos Aires and checking into the hostel was take a walk up calle (street) Sarmiento to the guitar shop Antigua Casa Nuñez. I nagged and nagged Amanda to go to Buenos Aires because I wanted a guitar; even though we are going to be here 3 months we HAD to go to Buenos Aires within the first few weeks. Before coming to Argentina I had researched this guitar shop- it was established in 1870 and has made classical guitars for famous guitarists such as Andres Segovia. I KNEW that if I was going to get a guitar in Argentina, it was going to be from this shop...
Below is a signed picture of Segovia playing on one of the the shop's guitars; it was hanging on the wall along with many other framed autographs of famous guitarists of Argentina. Segovia is one of the most famous classical guitarists; he was an amazing player, teacher, and he edited/transcribed a lot of music for the classical guitar.

I told Carlos (the guy in the background) that I already had a cedar guitar and would like to try a spruce guitar.
I played many guitars. One of the most expensive spruce guitars was brought to me the first day and I played it; I thought it was the one I was going to buy. After returning to the hostel for the night I emailed Larry Green (my guitar professor at BYU) and asked for any tips or advice about buying another guitar. I'm glad I contacted him because he mentioned that there can be major problems when buying a guitar in a humid climate and then taking it back the always dry Utah. Another person in my ensemble bought a guitar in South America and the body cracked when he took it back to Utah; Larry helped me contact a luthier in Utah who has made guitars for him and others at BYU so I could ask about the humidity problem.
I wanted to to find a cheaper guitar because I would be devastated if the nicest one cracked when I took it home. The cheaper guitars just weren't doing anything for me.... Carlos handed me another guitar that was hand made by the same luthier- Bartello- and I started to play. The stain on the guitar was really dark- dark enough to look like a cedar guitar. After I had "the moment" when you discover that this is the guitar, I asked how much it was (thinking it was one of the cheaper ones) and it turned out to be about 1500 pesos more than I thought. It was cheaper and not as nicely made (there are a few nails- nicer guitars are entirely glued) but it was more enjoyable to play and it sounded nicer than the expensive guitar.

I've had teachers explain that everyone who plays an instrument will have times when they don't make mistakes, the tone sounds wonderful, the dynamics and expression are working out, and you connect with the music. You just have "a moment," and these "moments" are the reason you struggle through the times when your sound sucks and you don't feel like practicing. Well, I had "a moment" with this guitar (below) and none of the others- that's when I knew it was the one...
To make a long story short, I bought the guitar (pictured above) and have worked out the humidity problem. It sounds nice and the deluxe, fancy case was thrown in for free- un regalo (gift). I spent more than I intended but I figured that I would have this guitar for years to come so why buy a piece of crap instead of the one I really wanted? I went back to the shop three times and planned my whole weekend around when the shop was open and when I should buy the guitar (because I didn't want to keep it in the hostel, yuck!). *speaking of hostels, they are okay for cheapo students like me (honestly it sucked), but when I'm rich and established some day, it's going to be nothing but the J Dubya Marriott. P.S. I don't consider the "hostel" in Cordoba a hostel... it's more of a really nice apartment.
Carlos charging my purchase (I have to believe they don't sell 3,000 peso guitars everyday and that he made a nice commission). I figure if anyone really, really wants to know how much I spent, they can google the conversion rate.
I didn't realize the guy taking the picture didn't actually get the guitar in the picture. Oh well, you can see the neck and some of the photos and guitars in the background.

I may upload video some other time so you can hear how it sounds.


  1. May May, you are so fabulous! I love reading about your adventures :-)

  2. woot woot can you hear me applaud from Utah?

  3. let me finish that comment....Im stoked about the guitar!

  4. Nails? Wha...By the are your nails holding up? Cute post. Always make them take and retake the photo. Who cares if they have to stand there until you get a good shot? Get the shot! Say Gracias and be nice!

  5. Pretty guitar. So glad you found the one. You should upload a video...

  6. Hello Malaina,iista

    I own a guitar from Antigua Casa Nunez that was
    owned by Andre Segovia. The inner label reads:
    Guitar No.1
    Nuevas guitarras c/ doble fondo
    Construida especialmente de el mas grande
    concertista de nuestra epoca Andres Segovia
    firms: Diamirio Gracia
    construida el 10-1-64

  7. I think you got a hell of a guitar for the price, Just keep the guitar with an humidificator inside the case and the instrument should be just fine.
    Also, do not expose your guitar to sudden changes of temperature. if that happens,let the guitar inside its case and let it get aclimated to its new environment.

  8. Hey I picked up a guitar when I was there several years ago. I had to ask around and finally found this shop. What a great place. I had the same experience, too, of suddenly having the guitar sing to me...

    I still play it almost every day. Just picking it up and playing a few notes before rushing out the door make my day better, and I've found that it was full of new songs!

  9. do you knwo the model of the guitar you got? I'm going to Argetina next week and I will check this place up for sure.

  10. la madre que lo pario...te has comprado una puta guitarra! de ese tipo no la encontras con facildad y es carisima...
    debe tener un sonido barbaro,que bien hiciste en comprartela,felicitaciones!