Valeriano Bernal (Algodonales, 11/27/1938 – 01/30/2018)
Spanish luthier of Spanish guitar of recognized prestige among flamenco guitarists.
The only heir to the Cadiz school of flamenco guitar builders, known for his innovations in the construction of the guitar to achieve his own flamenco sound.
The most prestigious guitarists of the past and present of flamenco have played with their guitars, among which the following stand out: Paco Cepero, Manolo Sanlúcar, Gerardo Núñez, Dani de Morón, José Antonio Rodríguez, Carlos Ledermann, Alejandro Sanz, Kiko Veneno, etc. .
Father of three children, his legacy continues in the figure of his son Rafael Bernal Gil – «Rafa de Valeriano» -, the only one in his family who follows the trade of making guitars. In fact, he published a new harmonic bar system based on work by his father, called the Valerian system.
It summed up the most interesting biography of him;
I was born in Algodonales (Cádiz) on 11/27/38. At 8 years of age I began to train in the workshop of my cousin D. Francisco Ramírez Leo, to whom I am immensely grateful for the training acquired during the years of learning.
For me it was a pride to be able to learn with this great teacher, one of the best in the world.
At the age of 14 I built my 1st guitar, which I sold for 500 pesetas, to D. Diego Galván, that was the most beautiful thing in my life, at that moment, from then on I could only dream that one day my guitars were known to the whole world.
At the age of 20 I went to Norway. I enlisted in the Braheten company, in the Atlantic Trader oil tanker, in which I traveled the whole world several times, which at that time I really liked.
An accident on the high seas made me change course. At the end of 1962 I settled in Belgium; for 5 years I worked in what I liked, wood.
During that time I dedicated myself to building guitars with my wife Catalina Gil and repairing them in our free time, until finally, after the period established by Belgian laws, they gave me the power to establish myself on my own.
In 1968 we finally got our own guitar workshop and trade in Wavre, 20 km from Brussels, all the guitarists I knew advised me to settle in Brussels, as it was much easier to contact them.
In 1970 we decided to go to Brussels, we settled in Rue Theodore Verangen 21, from that moment on from that moment with good wind.
The best guitarists on the market of both classical and flamenco times passed through my workshop.
I learned a lot from all of them, especially from Roger Valentin. I worked for him for many years, not only on the guitar, but on all kinds of string instruments.
In 1976 I returned to Spain, to Algodonales … I longed for my land. As logical as it was, after so long outside my country, he was not recognized as a Luthier.
In 1977 I had to go to Jerez to make myself known more quickly. In Jerez I met all the flamenco guitarists.
In 1982 I returned to Algodonales (Calle Ubrique, number 8) where I hope to be until the end of my life, may it be for many years.
On March 13, 1998, Excma. Diputación de Cádiz grants me the Bronze medal for bringing the name of my town to all corners of the planet.