Josep Melo i Valls

Josep Melo’s family background allows him to combine intellectual work with craftsmanship. From a very early age he was obsessed with making guitars: as he grew older they went everywhere with him and he began to build up a collection. Apart from playing them he also studied their form, their design, their sound, the wood they were made from… The collection grew and so did his knowledge which was clearly contributed to by his training as a designer, and this afforded him a rigour in his work and in his thinking.

Moved by his thirst for learning and travel, he benefited from the experience and friendship of guitar-makers such as James L. D’Aquisto in New York, José Luis Romanillos in Guijosa, and Steve Klein in California. In addition he often visited factories such as Martin&Co in Pennsylvania, Gibson in Nashville, Bozeman in Montana and Fender Custom in Corona, California. In the meantime, he studied classical guitar, and later, jazz guitar.

Content of the book

  1. PRESENTATION
  2. PROLOGUE
  3. BIOGRAPHY
  4. ROMANILLOS-HARRIS PUBLICATIONS
  5. SEVERAL GUITARS FROM THE ENGLISH PERIOD
  6. SEVERAL INSTRUMENTS BASED ON HISTORICAL TYPES
  7. THE GUIJOSA PERIOD
  8. GUITARS FROM THE GUIJOSA PERIOD
  9. A SPECIAL CASE: “Joseps” 2002
  10. A COMPARISON OF MEASUREMENTS AND MATERIALS
  11. CONSTRUCTION
  12. THE CONSTRUCTION COURSES IN SIGÜENZA
  13. THE ROMANILLOS-HARRIS COLLECTION AND THE SIGÜENZA MUSEUM
  14. GLOSSARY
  15. BIBLIOGRAPHY
  16. ONOMASTIC INDEX
  17. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
  18. EPILOGUE
  19. CONCERT

INSTRUMENTS IN REAL SIZE,
Prints in the annexe

Presentation

(…), I celebrate, as a musician and musicologist, the laudable initiative of the designer and guitar maker Josep Melo to publish this magnificent book: José Luis Romanillos, Guitars, The Guijosa Period 1993-2015, an authentic and merited tribute to the great guitar maker Romanillos and his guitars. The unique, special quality of this project lies in its valuable contribution in the organic, scientific and graphic fields.

Romà Escalas
Performer, Researcher and Director of the Barcelona Museum of Music

José Luis Romanillos. Guitarras-Guitars, Epoca de Guijosa – The Guijosa Period, 1993 – 2015, a monumental, special and unique work. A work of many years’ research on this great luthier.

There is no other work like this, there is none. You will not find anywhere in the world, a work focused on a luthier in which, additionally, in a well thought out way. You will efficiently and easily consult and find all the elements that allow you to analyse the work of this guitar maker, to see all the social, personal, human and even historical characteristics, accompanied by all the perfectly explained technical details for each of the guitars.

Dr. Jaume Ayats
Present Director of the Barcelona Music Museum

Comments

[ ORIGINAL LANGUAGE ]

[ENGLISH]

Today my copy of «José Luis Romanillos, Guitarras – Guitars, Época de Guijosa – The Guijosa Period, 1993 – 2015» arrived. I just opened the box and I am absolutely amazed from what I see. By now I only spent about two hours having a brief look through both volumes and I am sure that with a lot of pleasure I will continue reading through certain descriptions and technical details, or just looking at the pictures for a long time.

Great work! Thank you very much for having done it.

Gerhard J. Oldiges
Master Guitar Builder

Germany

[ENGLISH]

Great photography, text, I bought it only for the museum photos of the old guitars. Is it almost sold out? I have sent a warning to several colleagues, “Get this book, before it goes out of print.”

Sure it’s a great book that was a quarter of a century in the making you can say that too.

Randy Osborne
Guitar Book Writer

U.S.A.

[ENGLISH]

Your Romanillos Edition arrived safe and sound for me today, and I’ve just finished going through it all for the first time. I have to say, there is an amazing amount of detail and the photography is breathtaking. The whole thing is nearly overwhelming. It is easily the best book I have ever seen on any subject. It is very inspiring, and brings back amazing memories. Bravo on a monumental achievement in publishing this. I know it is the result of an unimaginable amount of hard work. Congratulations and my sincerest thank you for your hard work and dedication. It truly is a marvel.

Joshua French

U.S.A.

[SPANISH]

Gracias, el libro llegó bien, el embalaje es bueno y llegó sin marcas ninguna de maltrato, teniendo en cuenta el peso es evidente que UPS lo trató con mucho cuidado, cualquier descuido hubiera dejado marca.

El libro es fantástico, no hay nada parecido en lutería de guitarra clásica, a falta de verlo más detalladamente estoy impresionado. ¡Felicitaciones por tan buen trabajo!

Joaquín García

Spain

[SPANISH]

De verdad que este libro te ha salido como otra de tus obras de arte. Es realmente un gran trabajo de admiración. Todo el tiempo y detalles que le has aplicado es totalmente precioso. Lo veo cada vez y sigo asombrada. También me hace reflexionar y apreciar el gran homenaje al Maestro Romanillos que le has hecho. Te felicito mucho.

[ENGLISH]

Truely this book has come out like another one of your works of art. It is really a work of great admiration. All the time and details that you have applied is absolutely beautiful. I see it each time, and I continue to be amazed. It also makes me reflect and appreciate the great homage to Maestro Romanillos that you have done. I congratulate you very much.

Monica Esparza
Master Guitar Builder

U.S.A.

[ENGLISH]

Thank you so much for the copy of your masterpiece – the most impressive publication I’ve ever seen! Design, overall aesthetics, paper quality, text, photos, historical facts – as well as detailed information on materials, colours and measurements… A separate book showing all instruments in real size… WOW!!

I’m extremely grateful that you sent me this beautiful treasure – I will cherish it for the rest of my life.

Jan Erik Pettersen
Composer and musical performer

Norway

[SPANISH]

El libro llegó hoy. ¡Bien hecho! ¡Increíble! Espero meses de estudio.

[ENGLISH]

The book arrived today. Well done! Amazing! I look forward to months of study.

James Kirby
Amateur Guitar Builder

U.S.A.

[ITALIAN]

Ho sfogliato il libro, iniziando a leggerlo, e ho guardato tutte le schede sulle chitarre in grandezza reale. Hai fatto un lavoro eccezionale. Il tuo libro è una vera opera d’arte che ben rappresenta l’altezza vertiginosa del lavoro di José. Tutto è ai massimi livelli: le foto straordinarie, le informazioni precise e dettagliate dei testi, la qualità della carta e della rilegatura. Addirittura la scatola di imballaggio è bellissima! Non ho dubbi nell’affermare che questo sia il più bel libro dedicato alla chitarra che sia mai stato pubblicato. L’unica informazione in più che mi sarebbe piaciuto conoscere è la frequenza principale di risonanza delle varie chitarre rappresentate – una caratteristica che varia molto nelle chitarre di José. Ma questa è probabilmente solo una mia curiosità un po’ eccessiva!
Complimenti, Josep. Lavoro meraviglioso.

– final comment –

Ho quasi finito di leggere il libro. E’ fantastico, davvero una realizzazione di valore inestimabile. Non riesco a immaginare quanto lavoro ci possa essere dietro un libro così. Lo sto consigliando a tutti gli amici liutai che mi capita di incontrare. Ho fatto anche un post su Facebook, segnalando l’importanza di questa pubblicazione. Penso che sia un’opera fondamentale, che, oltre a mostrare immagini e dettagli tecnici bellissimi sulle chitarre di José, illustra con abbondanza di informazioni la storia, il percorso artistico e la filosofia di questo immenso liutaio. Molto bella anche la storia della chitarra che hai costruito con la sua tavola!

Andrea Dieci
Master Guitar Builder

Italy

[ENGLISH]

What a stunning work. I’ve spent a couple of hours every day with it since receiving it as a gift, and keep finding more wonderful things. The combination of your care, love, deep knowledge of the craft and inconceivably hard work has resulted in something truly special. I sense that you began the work with the idea of doing something similar to what José had done with his Torres book, but the resulting project is uniquely yours, with a human and artistic scope that only you could have achieved.
I can’t imagine the work involved in publishing this beautiful book: there must be tens of thousands of man-hours behind it. Congratulations and thank you for a work I will enjoy in depth for the rest of my life.

[SPANISH]

Qué trabajo tan impresionante. He pasado un par de horas todos los días con él desde que lo recibí como regalo, y sigo encontrando cada vez más cosas maravillosas. La combinación de su cuidado, amor, conocimiento profundo del oficio y trabajo inconcebiblemente duro ha dado como resultado algo verdaderamente especial. Presiento que comenzaste el trabajo con la idea de hacer algo parecido a lo que había hecho José con su libro Torres, pero el proyecto resultante es únicamente tuyo, con un alcance humano y artístico que solo tú podrías haber logrado.
No puedo imaginar el trabajo que implica la publicación de este hermoso libro: debe haber decenas de miles de horas detrás de él. Enhorabuena y gracias por un trabajo que disfrutaré en profundidad el resto de mi vida.

Murray Case

U.S.A.

[SPANISH]

Tu gran libro sobre la obra de Romanillos es espectacular. La calidad de la edición, la impresión, los trípticos… todo es impecable. Tu investigación obsesiva es una caso aparte ya que como Thomas Mann eres de los pocos que les gusta sumergirse, profundizar en vez del tan abusado superficialismo actual. También la edición de los desplegables con cada instrumento a tamaño real es muy impresionante. Un gran trabajo. Muchas felicitaciones!

Dr. Arq. Miquel Adrià
Founder and director of the publishing house Arquine

Mexico

[ITALIAN/ENGLISH]

Il tuo libro e un spetaccolo! non mi stanco a vederlo tutti i giorni un poco piu. E di un interesse grande per liutai, chitarristi e anche amici della chitarra in genere lo ho mostrato anche a gente, non molto affezionate alla chitarra pero anche per queste persone e un attrazione a vedere quelle meravigliose fotografie. Anche, e la prima volta che lego piu della biografia di José – tante cose che non ho saputo finora.
I will enjoy this book for a long time Josep!!
Punti negativi: davero, non ne ho trovati, via del peoso enorme – difficile a tranportarlo!!

Claudio Meneghelli
Maestro Liutaio

Switzerland

[ENGLISH]

The book is magnificent. A mild criticism is that it is so big. If it were a bit smaller it would be easier to read and hold. Additionally, the weight of the guitars would be a good statistic to know. The detail and photography are absolutely fantastic.

Laurence Wexer
Music and historian of American string instruments

U.S.A.

[ENGLISH]

Absolutely fabulous book, brilliantly well produced and the book should be seen as an investment as it is well worth the cost.
Impressive photography, exquisite detail and a testament to one of the great luthiers of our time.

Alan Miller
Master Guitar Builder

U.K.