The Spanish luthier Antonio Raya Pardo was born in 1950 in Huelva (Jaen), but his family moved to Granada when he was fourteen. Before becoming a guitar maker he worked as a weaver, he then, like so many of guitar makers of his generation, he apprenticed with Eduardo Ferrer for a short time, and eventually married Pilar Ferrer, Eduardo’s granddaughter. In 1972, he continued his training Jose Lopez Bellido, but admits he wasn’t there long, and only learned the basics.
In 1973, he decided to open his own workshop. Despite this training, Antonio considers himself to be largely self-taught. Even so, he notes that among luthiers in Granada “no one is alone, there are always friends to give you a hand.” Antonio Marin Montero is one such friend, he acknowledges, who has given him valuable advice.
He builds handmade classical and flamenco guitars using traditional methods of construction. His son, Antonio Raya Ferrer, has been trained by his father, and shares his workshop, but builds under his own name. Antonio Raya Pardo builds a Torres model classical guitar using the Marin-Bouchet system of bracing. This guitar is not only powerful, responsive, and easy to play like the Granada School instruments, but has good clarity, lovely tone, and projects well.
Antonio is the youngest of the five living Spanish makers Summerfield includes in his list of the finest classical guitar makers since 1800. He is also among the few luthiers to whom Luis F. Leal Pinar devotes an entire chapter in “Guitarreros de Andalucia” (2004).