Sunday, March 9, 2008

Jose Luis Velazquez Requinto Romantico

This was my first guitar. It was a gift from my aunt when I still lived in Mexico over 20 years ago. It had remained in Mexico at my parents' house for over a decade before I decided to bring it with me to the states. It is a requinto romantico handmade in Paracho, Michoacan by Jose Luis Velazquez. It has a solid spruce top, solid palo escrito (Mexican rosewood) sides and back, rosewood fretboard and mother of pearl soundhole inlay (pictured below.)

The requinto romantico is a small guitar that's tuned all the way up to A. This gives it a very bright and beautiful sound, perfect for rasqueo style in Mexican music, or soloing over trio-style songs. Growing up, I never gave this guitar the respect it deserved. Now I have a lot of appreciation for its craftsmanship and sound.

There's not a whole lot of information available online about this luthier or requintos in general. But, Candelas Guitars sells requintos made by Tomas Delgado. His mahogany requinto is remarkably similar to mine.
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Fender Vibro Champ Amplifier

This is the first amplifier I ever bought. It's an all-tube Fender Vibro Champ from the late 70s or early 80s. I purchased it from Elderly instruments when they would still ship amplifiers. I've used this little amp in a lot of my recordings. It doesn't have reverb, but it does have tremolo, which I like. The tremolo on this amp sounds more intense than the one in another bigger Fender amp I own from the same era.

Another nice thing about this amp is that it breaks up easily with my Les Paul. It's not the most reliable amp for playing live, however, as it does peter out if the volume is set anywhere past 8. Still, for recording, it sounds huge.
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