The Spanish luthier Juan Alvarez Gil was born in Madrid in 1932. In 1946, Juan began building guitars with his elder brother Lorenzo, a cabinet maker. At first they sold these badly made guitars in El Rastro, a flea market. As their guitars improved, they sold them to music stores. Later, Marcelo Barbero (1904-1955), one of the great guitar makers of the last century, became Juan's mentor, offering him his advice and counsel, from which he acknowledges that he benefited enormously. In 1952, Juan Alvarez established his own workshop. As might be expected, Juan Alvarez's flamenco and classical guitars share some of the qualities of his mentor's instruments.
They have bright round trebles and firm resonant basses. Although Juan died in 2001; his son, Juan Miguel Alvarez, (born 1960) who learned guitar making from his father, continues making the same great quality guitars. Initially, Juan Miguel confesses he did not want to become a guitar maker, and earned a B.A. in aeronautical engineering. Yet, the fascination and love of the guitar that his father instilled in him as a young man, eventually led him back into constructing guitars. Building in the tradition of the Madrid School, Juan Miguel's classical and flamenco guitars are made entirely by hand using traditional methods. The shop also sells factory made semi-professional, and student models that are made for them to their specifications.