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2005/178/1 Classical guitar, with case, 'De Cámara' model, wood / metal / leather / synthetic fabric, made by José Ramirez III, Madrid, Spain, 1988. Click to enlarge.

‘De Camara’ classical guitar made by Jose Ramirez

The Ramirez family have been a leading maker of classical guitars for over a hundred years. Established by José Ramirez I in about 1882 the family eventually divided, with José's brother Manual also establishing a successful independent business which his widow continued after his death in 1916. The original business under José continued also and is still run by family members today. Although the company had won several awards and had a reputation for fine instruments it was not until José Ramirez III took over the company during the 1950s that he began refining the instruments and improving their quality still further. Again many awards were won but one of their greatest accolades was gaining the acknowledgement of the great Andrés Segovia who began playing Ramirez guitars in the 1960s for his regular concert performances around the world.

José Ramirez III actively experimented to improve the classical guitar which lead to improvements in quality and changes to design. To this end he tried to address the problem, common in many instruments, of wolf notes or notes that appear muddy and out of tune with the rest of an instrument. He was moved to address this particularly because of comments made by Segovia about the problem. To do this Ramirez developed a classical guitar with an inner soundboard held within the body cavity. Ramirez stated about his innovation that "It does not muddle or intermingle the different polyphonic voices. Each musical line rings independently and is distinguished over the rest with absolute clarity. It behaves like a musical quartet in which each instrument has its own differentiation of timbres. It makes chamber music and for this reason and also because it contains an inner chamber, I called it the "De Cámara" guitar" (Things About The Guitar by José Ramirez III, Soneto, Madrid, 1993, p.146).

This development to a traditional design is significant in demonstrating technological innovation within the context of the museum's collection of nineteenth and twentieth century guitars. It can also be seen as part of a continuing tradition of similar innovations that were earlier attempts to improve the sound of the guitar. One of the earliest of these being done by René Lacôte dating from 1830 (now in the collection of James Westbrook) and the internal scoop design used by Mario Maccaferri a hundred years later during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Many current developments in classical guitar construction have concentrated on bracing systems for the soundboard and the actual materials used rather than looking at the addition of any internal soundboard.


Tom & Mary Anne Evans; Guitars From the Renaissance to Rock (Paddington Press, England 1977).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York & Museo Municipal, Madrid; La Guitarra Espanola/The Spanish Guitar Exhibition Catalogue (Opera Tres Ediciones Musicales, Madrid, 1993).

José Ramirez III; "The 'De Camera' Guitar" in Things About the Guitar (Soneto, Madrid Spain, 1993, pp.141-146)

Michael Lea
Curator, music and musical instruments
May 2005


Object No.


Object Statement

Classical guitar, with case, 'De Cámara' model, wood / metal / leather / synthetic fabric, made by José Ramirez III, Madrid, Spain, 1988

Physical Description

Classical guitar, with case, 'De Cámara' model, wood / metal / leather / synthetic fabric, made by José Ramirez III, Madrid, Spain, 1988

Classical acoustic guitar with cedar soundboard and Indian rosewood back and sides. Features an internal soundboard inside body to eliminate wolf notes. Back has join line running down centre. Two rectangular labels glued to inside of back. Rosette around sound hole. Soundboard has residue outline of tap plate on treble side. Plectrum or thumb nail scratch on bass side of soundboard.

The guitar has a hard black case with red lining. The case has metal hinges and a black [plastic] handle and three internal compartments, one of which has a cover.


Upper label on inside of back, printed in black 'CONSTRUCTOR / DE / GUITARRAS / José Ramirez (registered trademark symbol) / CONCEPCION JERONIMA, No. 5 / 1882 MADRID 1988 ('88' handwritten in black ink)'

Lower label: 'No. A1238 (handwritten in black ink) / (initials of signature in black ink) / (registered trademark symbol) / Nombre Registrado Clase 1a ('1a' handwritten in black ink)'

Sticker fixed to inside of left upper bout, typewritten in black ink '#7 - 220'



370 mm


105 mm



The guitar was invented and patented internationally by José Ramirez III and produced as a top of the range instrument in limited numbers. It was made in Madrid, Spain in 1988.



The guitar was used by the donor as a playing instrument and also as part of his private guitar collection.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Jeff Maher, 2005

Acquisition Date

5 July 2005

Cite this Object


'De Camara' classical guitar made by Jose Ramirez 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 30 October 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='De Camara' classical guitar made by Jose Ramirez |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=30 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


This object record is currently incomplete. Other information may exist in a non-digital form. The Museum continues to update and add new research to collection records.