Searching for the Sound of the Southwest

An interview with Pimentel & Sons Guitars

The sound of Albuquerque is defined as much by its instrument makers as it is by its music makers. Albuquerque’s luthiers, or makers of stringed instruments, have carved out their niche in the Southwest using centuries-old techniques in a warm, dry climate that’s perfect for crafting wooden instruments that won’t warp or crack. From banjos to guitars, to mandolins to ukuleles, stunningly beautiful sounding—and looking—locally-made instruments have provided vessels for the voices of New Mexico for generations.

The world-renowned Robertson & Sons Violin Shop continues in the tradition of Stradivarius with its handmade violins, violas and cellos, and provides the repair, restoration, rental, and sale of bowed instruments and bows curated from around the globe. Robertson & Sons rents out an average of 4,000 instruments a year to almost every state in the U.S., and their instruments can be found in symphonies spanning the globe.

Pimentel & Sons Guitars creates unique pieces of art that not only help define the sound of the Southwest, but that also keep its rich musical roots alive and growing. Rick, Robert and Victor Pimentel continue their father’s legacy of handmade guitar, ukulele and mandolin making, while Hector and Gustavo are virtuoso classical guitarists who play and compose Spanish, Mexican and classically-inspired music. Click the link above to listen to the brothers talk about their craft and the fervor behind their frets.

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