Tribute for the man behind “Coco” guitar

Paracho honors the work of master luthier Germán Vázquez for boosting the economy of his hometown
Germán Vázquez – Photo: CHARBERL LUCIO
18/02/2018
11:37
Carlos Arrieta
Paracho, Michoacán
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After 40 years, Germán Vázquez Rubio has finally returned to his native Paracho, in Michoacán, after gaining international acclaim as the maker and designer of the guitar featured in Disney's animated film “Coco.”

He receives an award today for boosting tourism and economy in his hometown, located 150km from the capital of the state, Morelia.

During an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Germán Vázquez confesses the price Disney-Pixar paid for the design and fabrication of the guitar was almost USD$20,000 (roughly, MXN$380,000).

This international luthier was received in the corner of streets Independencia and Cuahtémoc, in downtown Paracho, where he learned from his uncle, Manuel Rubio, the art of guitar-making.

German recalls he began to train as a luthier at the age of 15, and now, aged 65, “Coco”'s guitar has been one of his greatest challenges. He was contacted by Disney-Pixar through a Hollywood music company to make a model inspired by the tradition of the Day of the Death in Mexico.

“They gave me a photo so I could create something in real life, almost like making a dream come true, and I had to make a Mexican-styled guitar but with a classic sound,” he says.

At his workshop in the south of Los Angeles, in the United States, it took Germán nine months to come up with the design and to craft the guitar. He found it hard to match colors, materials, and decorations, as he was requested a musical instrument with elements of a classic guitar.

The master luthier had to test wood thicknesses and think of a way to paint the white layers so as not to affect the sound. For the body, he used European Maple, then gave it a finishing in mother of pearl, and chose 24-carat gold for the inlaid work.

Crafting the guitar was something that filled Germán with pride and made him feel a huge sense of responsibility as he knew Paracho's reputation was in his hands.

Germán claims he has always worked in guitar workshops because being a luthier is his true calling. “I'm like Miguelito in the film. He's a fan of music, and I'm also passionate about guitars and my people,” Germán claimed, clarifying that while the copyright belongs to Dinsey-Pixar, non-identical replicas of the musical instrument have boosted the economy of guitar-makers in Paracho.

The work of Germán and the success of the film caused hundreds of people to flock this weekend to Paracho, the “guitar capital of the world,” and present an award to their favorite son, Germán Vázquez Rubio.

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Artículo

Coco strikes a chord in Paracho

“Coco” has now brought its craftsmen global fame and booming sales
Coco strikes a chord in ParachoCoco strikes a chord in Paracho

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