Thursday, 30 October 2014

Torres SE122 update

Congratulations to all at Bromptons Auctioneers on their highly successful sale on Monday. The guitar by Antonio Torres, SE 122, sold for the hammer price of £85,000. Had I had the money, I would have paid a good deal more for this fabulous guitar. The guitar is special to me in that it is such original condition; and is the closest therefore that many of us will get to Torres himself. Most Torres guitars I have seen have been altered or restored; some significantly. This one is virtually untouched. The new owner I am sure will value and respect this instrument. My hope is that little will be done to change it; in fact I would like to see it remain unrestored.

I was lucky enough to have this guitar to examine in considerable detail earlier this summer and I am in the process of preparing a drawing and detailed description of this guitar for other makers and interested parties to download. I will post details and prices on this blog. I have other drawings of interesting and rare guitars which I will also be making available.

Other guitars that sold on Monday were an interesting Garcia made in 1906, a fairly early guitar by Robert Bouchet, and a nice Lacote 'Legnani' model.

 I am also just finishing my first copy of SE 122 ,(pictured below) and I'm very exited about the prospect of stringing it for the first time. It goes without saying that I will keep you all informed...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Antonio Torres 1888 SE122

Every so often a guitar turns up in the workshop that you can't get out of your head. This guitar by Antonio Torres is one of those guitars.

Until recently, this guitar was simply not known about and lay in storage in the house of its owner. It is a large bodied, seven fan strut guitar, with the back made of rosewood and mahogany, and it carries many of the most iconic features of this great maker's work, such as the 3-lobed headstock and the herringbone inlay in the rosette. Although it has playing wear and humidity cracks, it is in virtually untouched condition which is truly remarkable. So many Torres guitars have inevitably been altered or restored, but with this guitar you see the work of Torres; the doming on the front, the exquisite shaping of the head and even the polish - all original and as Torres left it.

One extraordinary feature of this guitar is the grain orientation on the front as it is 3 degrees off centre. This is startling and almost unnerving at first glance. It is, however, almost symbolic of this makers approach to his craft and illustrates his insistence on using the timber available to him in the best possible way.
Startling and unnerving maybe but not unique in Torres work; a Torres guitar owned by Tarrega, SE114 (also from 1888)  exhibits skewed grain, as does SE99.

This guitar is due to be auctioned at Bromptons in London on October 27th, along with other fine guitars. I will write about this instrument in much more detail in a future post.