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 We've been here a long time! We started as a band instrument repair shopBerkeley Musical Instrument Exchange with used instruments for sale, added stringed instruments, pianos, and then started producing guitars in 1987. We are now an acoustic instrument shop, specializing in stringed instruments produced for us in Mexico. We still sell used instruments, and as our name implies, we like to trade.

    The Berkeley Musical Instrument Exchange was established at it's present location in 1975
by George Katechis Montalvo, a highly skilled master technician with experience in all aspects of tone production, who began repairing and selling musical instruments at the age of twelve.View of the shop. In the early 1970s, he worked with Domenic Mavilia, a silver and gold smith; In 1976, studied Renaissance and Baroque Woodwind construction with Charles Collier in Berkeley. This included cutting, drying, turning, and finishing complete instruments; In 1977 began a ten year association with Benjamin Treuhaft from Steinway New York Concert and Artists Division, learning sound board technology, and the properties of string under tension, did everything from refinishing to complete restoration. Since 1988 he has been devoted to producing and importing fine hand made Mexican stringed instruments. In 1991 he founded the K&S Guitar Co., Since then, he has been working with  many fine Mexican guitar makers, helping to design and produce Casa Montalvo and Superior Guitars.
 

It is now a father and son operation, in the European tradition, with GeorgeFather and son
passing all his knowledge of restoration,
repair and building
on to William, his son.

 






William has grown up around musical instruments, and has achieved his own mastery of woodwindWilliam Katechis, Master Technician and brass technology. He is now in charge of woodwind and
 brass restoration and repair, and there is hardly anyone more qualified to do this type of work in the Bay Area.




 
 





CASA MONTALVO & SUPERIOR GUITARS
The Story
 The guitars produced for the Berkeley Musical Instrument Exchange are some of the finest in the world Rosette from Torres style classic guitarfor the money. Many professionals are using these instruments for performing as well as recording; John Scofield, and David Lindley are the most notable. Many years have gone into the design and production of these guitars.  This has resulted in affordable hand made guitars that are unsurpassed in their quality and craftsmanship
 
       CASA MONTALVO GUITARS and SUPERIOR INSTRUMENTS are  made in Mexico for George Katechis Montalvo of the Berkeley Musical Instrument Company.   All these instruments are hand made and built of all solid woods. The town where they are made is in the mountains in the state of Michoacan. where they have been making guitars  since the mid 1800s. The area is famous throughout Latin America for its fine guitars.Players choice award
       George, a highly skilled craftsman with experience in all aspects of tone production, began importing Mexican instruments in 1987, but these instruments did not meet the high standards of American players. By the early 1990s, he was producing his own instruments, supplying the makers with new tools, information and materials. In 1990 he started the K&S Guitar Company featuring the award winning Jorge Montalvo Classic and Flamenco guitars.
     In January of 1999 The K&S Company desolved. Now, George is bringing you new and improved,  high quality guitars under the name "CASA MONTALVO" Classic and Flamenco Guitars, and "SUPERIOR" musical instruments. This includes the "SUPERIOR" Hawaiian guitars, the "SUPERIOR" nylon string models, and the "SUPERIOR"" mandolins and mandolas.
George setting up one of his Flamenco guitars.  All CASA MONTALVO guitars are painstakingly set up and final inspected by George Katechis Montalvo at the shop in Berkeley, CA.Jorge Montalvo setting up a guitarGeorge has established personal relationships with a number of Mexican makers, and  has become actively involved in the production of the guitars he sells. He brought higher quality woods, glues, finishes, and most importantly, builders and restorers to share their knowledge with the Mexican
builders.

Casa Montalvo Flamenco and Classic guitars, and Superior  hand made instruments are finely crafted beautiful sounding instruments featuring solid Engelmann Spruce or Canadian Red Cedar tops, Mahogany or Spanish Cedar necks and Rosewood or Ebony fingerboards. The necks are reinforced with a graphite stabilizing bar. The backs and sides are made of solid Indian Rosewood, Honduras Rosewood, or Cypress. These woods are well seasoned, and the guitars are guaranteed for one year against defects in materials or workmanship
    .
Since the beginning Casa Montalvo Guitar Co. has had the good fortune of having local Bay Area Builders and restorers imputing their knowledge and skills into Montalvo guitars; Marc Silber, Freddie Mejia, Stuart Port, and Mario Martello, to name a few.

 
CASA MONTALVO has it's headquarters at the Berkeley Musical Instrument Exchange in Berkeley, California. our shop
If ever you are in Berkeley, you should stop by and visit. There's much to see. The Berkeley Musical Instrument Exchange has been here for 26 years, so there are hundreds of used instruments for sale as well as the Casa Montalvo, Superior Hawaiian,  Steel String, and Superior economy lines of guitars
Montalvo Flamenco and Classical Guitars.
Quiet John Scofield Kirk Hammet from Metallica



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9/08