From classical to country, the Pimentels continue to be a force in the music world.
Sixty-five years after patriarch Lorenzo Pimentel began the business in New Mexico, his family continues to construct one-of-a-kind guitars.
To help mark the anniversary, Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers will host a concert on Saturday, Feb. 18, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.
“We usually do two concerts a year as part of our Pimentel concert series,” says Rick Pimentel, president of Pimentel Guitars. “This year, we thought we’d celebrate our 65th year.”
The concert will consist of 16 artists, whose music ranges from classical to flamenco and jazz and country.
The show will also be a tribute to the late guitar makers Lorenzo and Augustin Pimentel.
The story begins with Lorenzo Pimentel, who began apprenticing at his brother’s guitar making shop in Mexico.
At age 23, Lorenzo Pimentel moved to the United States and began making guitars at a violin store.
In 1951, he moved to Carlsbad, where he opened his own shop.
Four of his sons embraced his legacy, which has grown worldwide.
“We’ve done so much since my father first started,” Rick Pimentel says. “My father taught us about innovation. This is a big part of our success.”
In the Pimentels’ Northeast Heights building, on any given day, one could find Rick working on a classical or an acoustic guitar.
Meanwhile, Robert specializes in classical guitars.
And Victor specializes in mandolin and ukulele.
“We’ve broken into so many areas of guitar,” Rick Pimentel says. “And the genres of music has grown.”
The company prides itself on building each guitar by hand.
“We build each piece one by one,” he says. “My father taught us about that. It does make a difference, and I think people respect us for still putting the craft into all of it.”
Making a guitar usually takes anywhere from 45 days to three months, depending on the style and aesthetics.
“If there’s a lot of inlay work, then it takes longer,” he says.
Another aspect that makes Pimentel Guitars unique is that the lumber used for the guitars is aged about 15 years inside the warehouse.
“It’s naturally air-dried,” he says. “My dad used to buy lumber and just store it. The aged wood gives the guitar a beautiful tone. You can notice it immediately. We’ve also developed our own way of bracing and patterns for the guitars, which set them apart from others.”
WHERE: Albuquerque Journal Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 Fourth SW
HOW MUCH: $22-$32, plus fees at nhccnm.org or 724-4771
Mariachi Tenampa – mariachi
Gustavo Pimentel – classical
Dan Lambert and The Creatures of Habit – jazz-rock fusion
Ambrose Rivera with Trio Bravo – jazz
Harry Irrizarry – world music
John Truitt – flamenco
James Crabtree – popular music
Cali Hughes – indie, country
Gerardo Perez Capdevila – classical
The Cibola Quartet – classical
Up a Creek – country
Dennis Hatfield – Americana/folk
Ken Gilman – Celtic
Jerry Robbins and the Mungos – classic rock
Out to Nowhere Jazz Band – Latin jazz
The Water Mountain Jug Band – bluegrass