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Famed guitar maker dies, age 63

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Internationally known Albuquerque guitar maker Agustin Pimentel, a member of the famous Pimentel family of luthiers whose instruments are favored by classical guitarists worldwide, died Monday from a brain aneurism suffered the previous day. He was 63.

Agustin Pimentel, a member of the famous Pimentel family of luthiers, died this week. (Courtesy of the Pimentel Family)

Agustin Pimentel, a member of the famous Pimentel family of luthiers, died this week. (Courtesy of the Pimentel Family)

Pimentel, along with brothers Rick, Robert and Victor, was known for an innovative guitar bracing system and creative guitar shapes.

“He made great instruments, beautiful concert instruments,” said brother Hector Pimentel. He and brother Gustavo are the musicians in the family and exclusively play their family’s Pimentel guitars.

“He loved making guitars since he was a young boy and that’s all he ever wanted to do,” said Hector. “He learned from our dad, Lorenzo Pimentel, the patriarch of the family, who started the business in 1951.”

Lorenzo Pimentel, master luthier and musician, died in December 2012, when he was 82.

While Agustin was not known as a guitar player, “he loved playing the guitars he made,” said brother Rick. The family’s highly sought guitars are made with mahogany backs and sides, spruce or western red cedar tops and necks of Spanish cedar. The guitars can cost up to $45,000, Rick Pimentel said.

“As a person, Agustin was always ready to help,” he said. “He had a very kind and big heart, and lots of passion – passion for his family, passion for his guitars and passion for life.” Last year, Agustin built a guitar for 14-year-old Albuquerque guitar prodigy DeAndre Garcia. A portion of the guitar’s cost was donated by the Pimentel family.

Agustin Pimentel was also active with the Pimentel Concert Series, which is held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. The concerts feature talented guitarists from around New Mexico and the country performing all genres of guitar music.

The upcoming March 8 concert will feature Cuba-born classical guitarist Manuel Barrueco performing original pieces, as well as compositions by Bach. That concert will now be held in memory of Agustin Pimentel, his brother Rick said.

Agustin Pimentel is survived by his siblings and their spouses: brothers Carlos and wife Lecha; Hector and Carol; Rick and Jean; Robert and Elizabeth; Victor and Paula; Lawrence and Gustavo; sisters Marciela and Aida Pimentel, and Zoyla and George Nuanuez; mother Josefina Pimentel; and Agustin’s son and daughter-in-law, Jaime and Jennifer Triggs, and their children, Mariah, Daniel and Kayla Triggs.

A funeral service Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today at Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, 5311 Phoenix NE, followed by burial at Fairview Memorial Park Cemetery, 700 Yale SE.