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In the 1970s, the Uruguayan guitarist and composer Abel Carlevaro began to imagine the ideal guitar. Inspired by the shape of grand pianos, he decided there was no need to curve the upper side (since it was not necessary for supporting the instrument). As he wished to find a perfect balance between bass and treble, he also omitted the sound hole so that nothing would affect the vibrations of the soundboard. This also meant extra space to develop the bracing.
To replace the sound hole (and let the sound out) he imagined a « floating » top, only supported by small brackets resting on the sides, thus creating an empty space underneath the top. Never before had anybody contemplated separating the vibrating part (the soundboard) from the reflecting parts (the back and sides) and thus from the guitarist himself.
In 1981 Manuel Contreras took up the challenge of building such an instrument. Here is an excerpt from one of the Madrid luthier's letters to Carlevaro: « Rest assured that I will not disappoint you. I shall endeavour to follow your instructions meticulously […] so as to make the best possible guitar. » Between 1982 and 1994 (when he died), Contreras built a total of twenty "Carlevaro » guitars. His son never worked on this model. Abel Carlevaro gave his first concert with one of these guitars on July 31, 1984 in Heidelberg. The guitar on display belonged to one of his students, Jad Azkoul, a Lebanese concert performer and the French translator of Carlevaro's guitar method .