Lorenzo Pimentel, whose handmade guitars are played by professionals around the world, has died at age 82.
Pimentel died Monday after a long battle with prostate cancer, family members said.
Pimentel, who moved to Albuquerque in 1963 with a few hand tools, founded Pimentel & Sons Guitar Makers Inc.
His handmade classical guitars gained an international reputation after the music magazine Frets featured his work in 1965 and guitarist and music publisher Mel Bay published photos of Pimentel's work on the covers of his guitar method books.
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.
Lorenzo Pimentel, born in Durango, Mexico, made his first guitar at age 15 in a Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, workshop under the guidance of two brothers.
He told the Albuquerque Journal in a 1992 interview 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 1970s.