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Old 07-25-2020, 01:28 AM
sorefinger sorefinger is offline
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Default M Contreras Guitar mystery?

Post by steve w Friday 24 July 2020, 14:11 pm

Hi Guys
Trying to get to the bottom of this puzzle, hope someone can help or advise.
I had a strange encounter at an old Guitar store that I came across while on my lunch break from work. I'm always on the lookout for a nice quality classical Guitar, I favor solid wood back and sides. Looking around the shop I explained this to the Guy and he showed me the best he had on display
which was a low-end Cordoba.
It was ok but nothing special, I handed it back to the old shop keeper and was about to say me Goodbyes. Just as I was about to leave he stopped me and said he had something 'special' out the back. He brought out a battered old Guitar case then said take a look at this, it's for sale!
He pulled out an immaculate Classical Guitar, handed it to me and said she's a hand made beauty. I dont know that much about Guitars but did notice it had an Ebony fingerboard, this is when I started to take the Guy seriously.
What bugged me was it had no model I.D number I could see, it just said M Contreras handmade in Spain or Madrid, cant remember exactly. I plan on going back to find out more. I've rang experts but without the serial no. nobody seems to have a clue. The shop Guy did say, the back and sides were soild Rosewood, MORE interestly was that it has a reciept from the first owner which say's it was purchased in 1971, so its 50 years old plus!
All the old Man said to me was..''Make me an offer'' I said nothing at the time not knowing enough about it?
Any info MUCH appreciated? PS He said the strings needed changing, but to me it sounded and played incredible. I remember it say M Contreras, NOT M B Contreras.
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Old 07-25-2020, 03:41 AM
JonnyBGood JonnyBGood is offline
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Location: Plymouth, 51st state of America
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So this guitar dates from 9 years after Master luthier Manuel open his shop. A photograph of the label and the headstock are the two main things you need to gather more info. Would be good to see the wood grain too - did you check inside to see that that the grain matched the outside i.e. that its all solid wood?

The main thing to be wary of with old classicals is that the neck can move over time (no truss rod to support it) giving them a really high action, but it sounds like you are happy with the way it plays so that's a good sign.

Ebony fretboard is a good sign - are you sure though? Dyeing rosewood black to look like ebony is a common practice.

No model number is not necessarily an issue but did the label say anything else - Like Contreras Estudio for example?

Was the label signed? That's usually an indicator of a higher end guitar. Spanish student/lower end models guitars aren't usually signed.

"The way nature seems to work is that it sends a messenger...the acoustic guitar needed to go in another direction, Michael Hedges became that messenger"
Tommy Emmanuel
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:51 AM
mtdmind mtdmind is offline
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If it is a nice solid wood guitar and I don't know much of its history , I'd offer $500.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:04 PM
nightflight nightflight is offline
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Posts: 139

If it is a Contreras and is in good condition, it is probably worth thousands. A quick check on Google results in prices $1500 to about $5000. Depends on type of wood, of course. Brazilian rosewood will increase the value. I did see one listed for $399, but I'm guessing it has some serious problems.

I once bought a handmade August LoPrinzi classical for $325 only to turn around and have it appraised at $3K. 40 years later, it's held its value though it needs a little work.

Good luck!
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