Hernández y Aguado: A historic classical guitar maker in Spain

Hernández y Aguado: Label

Hernández y Aguado was a historic classical guitar maker in Madrid, Spain.

Santiago Manuel Hernández was born in 1895 in a village near Toledo. When he was eight, he moved to Madrid with his family. When he was 14, he began to work as an apprentice at a piano workshop. Soon after, he was allowed to work in a section where the main bodies of the piano were being constructed.

Victoriano Aguado Rodriguez was born in 1897 and grew up in Madrid. He was employed as a French polisher at the same piano workshop, in this way, the two became friends. When the piano workshop was closed in 1941, Hernández y Aguado decided to set up a workshop specialized in the restoration of the piano and antique furniture.

Aguado and Hernández’s son-in-law, Jesús Belezar were both enthusiastic amateur guitarists. The passion for the guitar and craftsmanship led Hernández and Aguado to build a couple of guitars for their own amusement.

When the maestro Sáinz de la Maza, the famous guitarist and professor at the Madrid Royal Conservatory in Spain, examined these guitars, he liked them and encouraged Hernández and Aguado to make more guitars.

It is worth mentioning that Modesto Borreguero, a guitar maker who had worked for the Manuel Ramírez's workshop together with Santos Hernández and Domingo Esteso, generously helped Hernández and Aguado by teaching them the traditional guitar making techniques that he had learned at the Manuel Ramírez's workshop.

With the help of Borreguero, Hernández and Aguado achieved to improve the quality of their guitars even more. They sold out fast and more new orders came in.

They decided to concentrate on guitar building full-time. This must have been a quite risky decision for them because there were full of well-established guitar makers in Madrid such as José Ramírez, Marcelo Barbero, Conde Hermanos, and Santos Hernández.

However, after their first year, they had 70 clients on their waiting list.

They worked carefully and patiently. Each part of the guitar was made in the most suitable season of the year. For instance, the construction of the bodies was taken place during the winter, while the French polishing was done during the summer.

The main construction of the guitars were handled by Hernández, and the French polishing and manufacturing of the necks by Aguado.

They made only around 400 guitars between 1941 and 1975.

The sound of their guitars is pure elegance, a traditional and old Spanish sound. Very mild and austere character of this guitar gives a false impression of the lack of volume to the player. However, it sounds surprisingly powerful and loud to the audience at a concert hall because of its magnificent projection.

This Hernández y Aguado guitar brings back many beautiful memories as this was the guitar I played since my formative years.

Beautiful guitars change people's life and their future. In my case, this guitar and its historical background brought me to Spain.