I met Jose Romanillos in 1996 at a meeting of the Guild of American Luthiers in Tacoma. I was immediately intrigued with his approach to making guitars. In particular, the way he worked the top with a wooden plane, and measured flexibility with his hands. His process of assembling pieces of the guitar was distinctly different from any other that I knew of. He was sure about what he believed about guitars, but he recognized that there were other valid approaches… just not for him.
In 2004 I jumped at the chance to build a guitar in Spain with Jose, his son Liam, and Gerhard Oldiges. I learned a lot in the Romanillos workshop, and the model based on Jose’s design has become one of several designs I build. The Romanillos design is sort of a “touchstone”, a reliable base to which I return, often interspersed with trying some new fangled approach. 🙂
I have a picture of myself with Jose, but I like the following one. It shows a person who was gentle and enjoying and sharing their work. My sincere condolences are with his family and friends.