Monday, July 23, 2012

My Guitar Detour

A wall of light colored guitars
Guitars hanging off to dry
My bro-in-law doing his impressions
I was in Cebu last weekend, with my sister and her family. On our way to the Mactan Shrine, we visited the Alegre guitar shop in Bangkal, Mactan (named after the bangkal tree which was once common but could still be found in the area). I bought my very first guitar, eventhough I do not know how to play. I got one because I  very much appreciated the tedious process how they were made.  

Guitars slowly clamped into shape
In the Alegre shop, we were free to roam around and look how the local craftsmen transform the different wood pieces like lauan, kamagong, langka, acacia, mahogany and a lot others into the precise parts needed to make a world famous Cebu guitar.  It takes around 3 days.  Alegre even labels every guitar with the date it was manufactured to determine age.

Rondalla looking guitars
The Alegre showroom displays a lot of guitars and ukeleles.  They are of varying shapes and color and of course a wide price range.  The more common wood guitars would fetch popular affordable prices, but the premium wood ones like lauan and kamagong would cost as much as 60,000 pesos or more. I even heard that the late Beatle star John Lennon owned an expensive Cebu guitar worth 28,000 pesos about 40 years ago. I bet the same quality guitar nowadays would fetch much higher.

The craftsmen working hard on next week's guitars
Unfinished handles
Expensive kamagong
The many woods they use in manufacturing
It appears my chosen guitar is made of langka, which is a light and common wood.  Lauan and kamagong are expensive because they are rarer to source. Even Cebu guitars are a testament of what is happening in our environment. More introduced trees, less natives.

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