Guitars as Works of Art

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text by Fernando Daniel MartĂ­nez
photos by Infobaja staff

In a workshop in the Colonia 20 de Noviembre neighborhood of Tijuana filled with Canadian and German spruces, Indian rosewood, Honduran cedar, African ebony, and other rare woods, masterpieces renowned as some of the finest classical guitars in Mexico are being made. They carry the name of Fructuoso Zalapa.

Zalapa comes from four generations of luthiers in Paracho, Michoacán. He has spent his life building guitars that are now commissioned by professional guitarists who demand the unique acoustical properties and fine craftsmanship that his work is known for.

After his life took him down several paths – among which he studied to be a classical guitarist and a teacher – he settled four years ago in Tijuana because this city allows him to build outstanding guitars thanks to the select woods available across the border. “For this work,” Zalapa comments, “excellent materials are essential even though they cost ten times more than ordinary materials.”

During an interview with Infobaja magazine, this maker of fine instruments and characteristic acoustics talked about his craft, with which he has achieved international fame.