ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Lorenzo Pimentel, whose handmade guitars are played by professionals around the world, has died. He was 82.
Pimentel died Monday after a long battle with prostate cancer, family members said.
Pimentel, who moved to Albuquerque in 1963, founded Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers Inc. His handmade classical guitars gained an international reputation after the magazine Frets featured his work in 1965.
His reputation for quality endured because he resisted mass-producing guitars, said son Rick Pimentel, president of Pimentel & Sons. Today, the company builds just 40 instruments a month ranging from $1,200 student models to concert instruments costing up to $15,000.
Mexico-born Lorenzo Pimentel made his first guitar at age 15 in a Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, workshop under the guidance of two brothers. He said he also learned to be a baker because guitar-making alone wouldn't support him.
His fortunes improved with the soaring popularity of guitars and folk music in the 1960s and '70s.