- acoustic guitars
- classical guitars
Manuel Contreras was born in Madrid in 1928. He was a renowned cabinet maker who in 1959 was invited to join the guitar workshop of José Ramírez III. Within three years he had sufficiently developed his skill in the craft to establish himself, in 1962, as an independent guitar builder in Madrid.
Contreras was not constrained by tradition as a luthier his work shows his adoption to new ideas and developments in various unusual instruments. His first achievement, in this sense, was the design of the "Double Top" model, introduced in 1974, after several experiments in order to improve the sound, volume and projection of the instrument. The great acceptance that this model quickly obtained within the classical guitar world encouraged Contreras to continue his innovative work. Further experiments included the elaborately constructed "Harp Guitar" model and the "Alto Guitar" - a smaller instrument with higher tuning than the conventional guitar. The "Carlevaro" model was built by Contreras in 1983. Based on an idea by the Uruguayan maestro Abel Carlevaro, it incorporates several original elements, such as the absence of a waist in the bass area and the mouth in the harmonic top.
In the mid-80s, Contreras devised the "Fondo de Resonancia", a design that he developed, in close collaboration with his second son Manuel Contreras, specially designed to improve the sound response of the guitar in large theaters, chamber music formations and performances with orchestra.
Manuel Contreras died in 1994. His son, Manuel Contreras II, continued to build guitars. Born in 1957, Manuel Contreras II had been learning with his father from an early age and finally joined the workshop in 1986. Since then he continued his father's work, both with the construction of established Contreras guitar designs, as well as demonstrating the innovative spirit inherited from his father that led him to develop unique models.
Manuel Contreras II died in 2011. Since then the construction of all Contreras guitars is directed by the luthier José Antonio Lagunar, who previosly worked with both Manuel Contreras senior & junior.