Jose Ramapuram. India. Bernabe M5 Spruce.

I took a bit of time for the feedback because I wanted to see how the guitar evolves over the first couple of weeks. I am new to Classical Guitar. I am just 8 months into my lessons on a basic Alhambra 2C and my feedback is from my ABRSM Grade 3 background.

My search, identification and purchase of the Bernabe M5 were purely based on research and communication over the internet. In fact, I never thought that I would buy an expensive guitar (by Indian Standards) online, without seeing, playing, hearing, feeling or smelling it (I love the smell of new guitar wood)... from unknown people at that! I started online dialogues with 3 European Classical Guitar stores and eventually selected http://www.staffordguitar.com based on my requirements and my dialogue first with Adrian and then with Sandra.

Firstly, I was comforted that I was speaking with musicians. They were very matter of fact and patiently educated me on what I should look for while purchasing a Classical Guitar. Over a period of two weeks, all my questions, from the silly to the outrageous, were answered with great patience and without any pressure on me to purchase. Adrian and Sandra are particularly adept at describing the ‘Character’ of the Guitar in terms of its sound and playability. Additionally, most of my in-depth research outside of my dialogue with Adrian and Sandra proved them right. I felt secure that I was in the hands of good, trustworthy people. ‘Trust’ was the key to this transaction. This was very important to me because of my lack of knowledge on Classical Guitars. It felt good to be able to depend on people who knew Classical Guitars.

My Guitar was brought into India from the UK by my brother who happened to be returning from his vacation there. He went through the VAT refund process at Heathrow quite easily as instructed by Adrian, and the guitar arrived home safe and sound.

I am really enjoying the M5. In fact my daily playing time has more than doubled since the guitar arrived. The guitar is perfect. It is just that I have a long way to grow in my capabilities to bring out the best in this instrument. It has that signature ‘Big Bernabe’ sound; big, beautiful, rich, deep and at the same time sweet. The sound has evolved beautifully over the last 2 weeks and I believe the Spruce will evolve continuously over the coming years. The guitar is absolutely beautiful and has that understated elegance. The playability is excellent. The action has been set so as to make it really easy to play. The Hiscox case is also of excellent quality although the lock & key on the case could have been of better quality. It was important for me to have a guitar that I would grow to love, in every way; a guitar that I would love to spend time with.

I am very pleased with my purchase and will come back to Adrian and Sandra for my next guitar upgrade when I have met the 5 year goal I have set for myself. I have already recommended you strongly to others here, and will do so in the future as well.
Wishing you the very best.
Jose Ramapuram