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Manuel Rodríguez, Jr., President Jimmy Carter and Manuel Rodríguez, Sr., at a recent meeting to strengthen a reciprocal charitable relationship among Guitar Center, the Carter Center and Manuel Rodríguez & Sons S.L. Señor Rodríguez passed away on December 25, 2008.

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— Legendary Spanish guitar maker passed away on December 25, 2008 —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, January 30, 2009 — Guitar Center mourns the loss of legendary classical guitar manufacturer Manuel Rodríguez, Sr., who passed away on Christmas Day, 2008, in Madrid. At the time of his passing, Rodríguez’s family was nearby, and his son, Manuel Jr., recounts being able to personally sense his soul cross over. Señor Rodríguez is renowned as one of the finest guitar makers of the Madrid school, and his beloved company, Manuel Rodríguez & Sons S.L. – a key GC partner – will continue carrying on his legacy in bringing to market the very finest classical guitars, preserving the design and quality of the master himself.

Sr. Rodríguez was born in Madrid in 1926. As a young man, he learned the craft of constructing flamenco and classical guitars from such key names as Santos Hernandez, Modesto Borreguero, Marcelo Barbero, Jose Ramirez and Sr. Rodríguez’s own father. Under these figures’ tutelage, Sr. Rodríguez grew a deep appreciation for flamenco music and instruments that are strong and balanced in sound while being visually beautiful. As he started building his own guitars, he made a point of continuously striving to innovate and improve the instrument. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1959, where he constructed instruments for the lively local music scene and did research with engineers from UCLA to radically improve guitars’ design, including enhancements to bracings, frets, the bridge and more. He also established a family, as his wife Emilia gave birth to their sons, Manuel Jr. and Norman.

Sr. Rodríguez relocated to Spain in the mid-1970s and developed a dual approach, constructing fully-handmade concert guitars while also utilizing a specialized workforce, machines and meticulous quality control to manufacture student guitars with unprecedented standards. His sons eventually learned their craft from their father, and to this day Rodríguez & Sons is in large part a family enterprise, fully run by Manuel Jr., Norman and Emilia. Manuel Sr. was still working in the shop until a few weeks before his death.

Although Rodríguez called himself “simply a luthier and guitar maker, neither a good nor a bad one,” that would be a severe understatement. His guitars have been praised by many top guitarists and composers, and his book The Art and Craft of Making Classical Guitars is available in three languages and is regarded as a definitive work on the subject. Today, Rodríguez guitars are the gift bestowed by the Federation of Entrepreneurs and the Chamber of Commerce on presidents and chiefs of state visiting Spain.

In recent years, Sr. Rodríguez was engaged in many charitable activities, notably partnering with the Guitar Center Music Foundation and the Carter Center in 2008 to donate one guitar per year for auction by the Carter Center. The company also hosted former President Jimmy Carter and GC’s Eric Spitzer in Madrid for a tour of the Rodríguez & Sons workshop.

“Manuel was a giant in his field, influencing scores of guitar makers and luthiers that came after him,” stated David Angress of Guitar Center. “He had a remarkable passion for guitars, and an intense drive to innovate and fine-tune the craft, while also being very modest. He was a truly kind, generous and humble man, and he will continue to inspire the whole M.I. industry long after he’s gone. I feel blessed to have known him personally and call him my friend and a friend of Guitar Center’s. The entire GC family sends its condolences to the Rodríguez family as we mourn Manuel’s passing.”

Photo File: ManuelRodriguez_Carter.JPG
Photo Caption: Pictured L-R: Manuel Rodríguez, Jr., President Jimmy Carter and Manuel Rodríguez, Sr., at a recent meeting to strengthen a reciprocal charitable relationship among Guitar Center, the Carter Center and Manuel Rodríguez & Sons S.L. Señor Rodríguez passed away on December 25, 2008.


About Guitar Center
Guitar Center is the leading United States retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Our retail store subsidiary presently operates more than 200 Guitar Center stores across the U.S. In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 100 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. We are also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the United States through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalog and Web site, www.musiciansfriend.com. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company's Web site at www.guitarcenter.com.

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