Spaniard hopes ceramic guitar will help shattered industry

MADRID Wed Jul 3, 2013 6:49pm BST

1 of 3. Luis Martin, Spanish guitarist from the band ''Lobos Negros'', shows a ceramic guitar in Madrid July 3, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Juan Medina

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MADRID (Reuters) - A Spanish musician played a guitar fashioned from ceramic for the first time in public on Wednesday and said he hoped production of the instrument could boost the flagging pottery industry of his hometown.

Singer and guitarist Luis Martin, who took a month to make the blue and yellow glazed instrument with the help of a guitar maker and a potter, patented the design and said he has received messages from interested aficionados in Finland and Japan.

"In the 1950s lots of groups recorded in bathrooms because they had a special echo ... I thought a ceramic guitar would sound good, especially as there are other ceramic instruments like flutes," Martin told Reuters in an interview.

The guitar was made in the central Spanish town of Talavera de la Reina, famous for making the glazed tiles used to decorate El Escorial monastery in the 16th century and the Royal Palace in Madrid.

The industry has fallen on hard times following Spain's property and construction crash five years ago.

"Talavera ceramics are well-known but like everything else it's a tough time because things are bad in Spain with the crisis. If this project takes off it could provide work for a lot of people," said Martin.

He strummed some rockabilly chords on the instrument, accompanied by guitar maker Carlos Sabrafen on an electric guitar, who admitted he had initially considered the idea "totally crazy".

Martin said he thought ceramic guitars would have a market among musicians much like the niche glass guitars have carved in the industry.

"People would want to buy ours out of curiosity and for the sound it produces," he said.

The trio are looking for a sponsor to lend a brand name and money to the project. They expect the guitars to sell for around 2,500 euros ($3,300) a piece. ($1 = 0.7672 euros)

(Reporting by Clare Kane; Editing by Sonya Dowsett and Paul Casciato)

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