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Ceramic Guitar Proves Good for Rockin'

Musicians have been using clay, or ceramic, wind and percussion instruments for a long time. But a rock guitarist in Spain is now attracting audiences with not only his music, but his unique ceramic guitar.

Luis Martin is the guitarist and lead singer in the Spanish band "Lobos Negros." He says that widespread success does not come easy for rock guitarists. Mr. Martin says guitarists need something to set themselves apart from all others.

He says, "I wanted to achieve a different sound that everybody wants to use to play their music, whether the style is rock n' roll, rockabilly, blues, reggae or whatever."

The idea to use a ceramic guitar came from Luis Martin’s hometown of Talavera de la Reina in central Spain. The town is known for the ceramic art found in many houses there.

Manuel Carrillo makes ceramic guitars in Talavera de la Reina. He says it took him some time to master the process of making a guitar body without any cracks or deformities.

He says, "A very thin wall of clay is made for the outside of the body, then we get rid of the leftover liquid. Then we make openings in the body, so the guitar maker can assemble everything he needs. And then, once the clay is baked, it is glazed and decorated."

Luis Martin says that, back in the 1950s, rock musicians in the United States discovered the unique quality of bouncing sound off ceramic material.

He says, "In the 50s, voices and a lot of guitars used to be recorded in bathrooms with a microphone in the middle. The ceramic tiles in the bathrooms created a special sound."

A ceramic guitar costs about $3,000 and weighs 3.5 kilograms. Each one is unique and has different decorations.

Luis Martin and his band now plan to travel around Spain hoping to attract fans with their new ceramic sound.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

George Putic reported this story from Washington. Jonathan Evans wrote it for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.


Words in This Story

ceramic adj. made of clay that has been heated to a very high temperature so that it becomes hard

decoratev. to make something more attractive usually by putting something on it

deformity – n. a condition in which part of something does not have the normal or expected shape

glazev. to give a smooth and shiny coating to something

uniqueadj. used to say that something or someone is unlike anything or anyone else

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