Home Art/Culture A Mexican shop making guitars since 1947

A Mexican shop making guitars since 1947


Los Angeles : A Mexican family that set up a guitar workshop in Los Angeles in 1947 has carved out many such instruments for musical greats like Spanish classical guitarist Andres Segovia and multiple Grammy Award-winning American rock band Los Lobos.

Puerto Rican composer Jose Feliciano and American singer-songwriter Jackson Browne are also among the artists who have relied on the “Candelas Guitars” workshop for instruments crafted to their unique specifications.

Ranging in price from $1,000 to $16,000, the guitars are made by hand at Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights neighbourhood.

“But the story began in Torreon, Mexico, where my grandfather Porfirio and my great uncle Candelario Delgado, known as ‘The Candelas Brothers’, made the first guitar in 1928,” current owner Tomas Delgado said.

Porfirio, a carpenter, and Candelario shared not only a bloodline but also a love of music. Soon after making their first guitar, they began performing at parties and festivals in Torreon.

“And then every time they went to a fiesta, someone asked them to make a guitar with special characteristics and styles for each person, and that’s how it all began,” Tomas Delgado says.

“They grew so fast that they soon opened another shop in Ciudad Juarez, later in Tijuana and finally here in Los Angeles, California.”

Renowned both for their sound quality and their beauty, Candelas Guitars come with a lifetime guarantee. Made of fine imported wood, each instrument represents months of painstaking work.

The company’s instruments have also been displayed at the Smithsonian.

Hoping for a life in music “as a guitarist and not as a guitar maker”, Tomas Delgado began studying classical guitar at the age of seven.

Thirty-five years later, Tomas is grateful to his strict father, also named Candelario, for forcing him to acquire the skills of guitar making.

“To maintain the name of my family with pride and respect is my mission. May there always be people who value what we do, the service we deliver. This is what I want to keep doing until I die,” he says.