Price paid: £ 1350
Purchased from: Guitar village
Sound — 10
Hmm how to describe it... If I said I tried every other classical guitar in the shop from 600 to 4000 and I was loath to even put this one on a stand in case someone stole it. It is, for me, the quintessential Spanish sound. The projection is huge, this is a loud guitar with a responsiveness and musicality that responds to your playing from the softest fingerpicking to the flamenco strumming that stirs the blood. The rosewood adds huge depth and bass tones, the Cedar a mellow melancholy that allows emotive playing and the crispness of the notes is achingly good. So your picking and the intonation of your style comes through effortlessly. It is an amazingly expressive guitar. I tried Ramirez, Alhambra, Taylor, and a host of others - but this was the one. I use it for Spanish style, and moody expressive pieces. I'm not into more modern classical and this is a traditional guitar of the highest quality.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a hand built, professional, beautiful, responsive, passionate guitar. It is so clearly quality and the sound was something I couldn't bear to leave in the shop. I went in looking at PRS 24's and came out with this - that's how striking the sound was. If it were stolen I'd travel to the nearest stockist (3 hours away) and try the one they have in stock and I'd try the 180 (the next model up). I am a Raimundo convert. The best feature has to be the tone. The volume means it can project a long ay before you even need to think about microphones. I've been playing for a long time and this was my first classical guitar - it was good enough that I got rid of my semi's and started learning more classical. It's quite different to play than any electric as you'd expect but this is the guitar than convinced me to put in the hours to do it.
Reliability & Durability — 10
This is a guitar aimed at professional players who need a robust, reliable and responsive instrument. It is well made and after 10 years it looks like new. The case is fantastic and so sturdy I feel safe carrying this guitar around. I would depend on this guitar and not carry a backup - and I would be disappointed to use another because the tone is just so rich and vibrant. The Cedar has aged on the guitar so I also know the body is now stable. At ten years old the neck, finish, tone and body woods have shown they were put together perfectly. Can't fault it.
Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action is firm and this adds to the volume and the control you can exercise over the volume. The string spacing is even and well placed, the bridge is a perfect height and after 10 years has shown itself to be stable. The wood is exceptionally well matched and the finish is immaculate. After 10 years there are two tiny pin sized dents in the finish. I mentioned the chip in the fretboard already. The frets are solid, well seated and hard wearing, the tuning immaculate and stable. The gloss on the neck makes for a responsive and fluid feel when playing, and the neck shape is rounded beautifully by hand. Smooth contours and a slowly widening profile that lets you feel where you are on the neck.
Features — 9
Made in 2003 this guitar was second hand. New 150's retail at anything from 1300 to 2000. The guitar is a traditional Spanish construction, luthier made from Raimundo's "handcrafted" series. Mine was made by Manuel Raimundo. The guitar has a German Cedar top, Indian rosewood back and sides. An ebony fretboard (which is good and thick) a Cedar neck with an ebony reinforcement strip. The headstock is traditional Spanish with a rosewood and ebony veneer. Bridge is rosewood and the heel (a Spanish heel that is set into the guitar) is capped with rosewood to match the back. There are no side dots and no inlays. Tuning pegs are a white ivoroid type material and the mechanism is gold and black, styled with shapes and etching. Bracing is a "special" pattern, based on a fan bracing for the front and a cross bracing for the back. Each brace is lovingly finished. The neck is 51.5mM at the nut and 61.5mM at the 12th fret where it joins the body. The 19th fret meets the sound hole. Mine has a nick in the ebony at this point - doesn't effect the sound or playability but a slight flaw - possibly from the original owner. 650mM scale length (25.6in). The rosette is made of a repeating mosaic of wooden strips, edged in rosewood and with a feathered pattern that is quite subtle in colour. The binding is a fine white line. No electronics. It came with a fantastically light and strong hard case - more rigid and lighter than the Gibson equivalents - very high quality.