ancient guitars

The concept of ancient instruments has changed a lot since the first years of the ancient music «revival», about the 1880’s, and the tendency has moved towards a «philological copy» approach to the original instruments. This presumed copy is not exactly a copy. In the lute family, the instruments made today are very similar to the old ones, but in the guitar family it is not always the case. Nowadays we can find two branches: one that looks for the «authenticity» of the instruments, and another one that works on topics like the volume and the projection of the guitars.

I like to look at both ways of working. On one side, models which can be copies of concrete instruments or which are based on the detailed examination of tenths of ancient guitars, on the ancient maker’s concept of instrument. On the other side, some musicians have more «actualitzer» needs, so modern techniques and approaches have been applied to ancient models, giving preeminence to other factors than the «original» sound.

As for the models with an «ancient» approach, I’ve chosen guitars from the Catalan School, mainly instruments from the workshop of Joseph Massaguer the elder, like those at the Metropolitan Museum of New York and at the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, among others. Also from the Catalan School is the guitar from Miquel Llausàs that I’m using as a model of romantic guitar, an absolutely Catalan School guitar, at the midpoint of Castilian/Andalusian and French traditions. As an example of pre-Torres andalusian guitar, I make an instrument based on the work of the last members of the Pagés family from Cádiz.

The design of the «actualized» model of five-courses guitar has been based on Andalusian models from Cadiz from the last third of the 18th century. I’ve used an archaizing but also comfortable plantilla, and on the soundboard I’ve used a transversal bars model based on those of the lute. This way, we have an instrument with a spontaneous response and brilliant timbre.

The materials and decorations used on the ancient style guitars will be those used on the original instruments, or presents in instruments by the same builder or contemporaries from the same building school. The actualized guitars have more freedom on these aspects, but always taking care of the aesthetics of the ancient instruments.

All the instruments will be given strung and with a high quality semi-rigid case.

Here you can hear one of my guitars on the hands of Xavier Coll at the Palau de la Música Catalana:

Models:

– Renaissance guitar:

Four or five courses guitar based on an original by Belchior Dias signed in Lisbon in 1581. Neck made with maple, plum or black dyed cedar, and cypress, maple, walnut or rosewood back ans sides. String length: 560 mm. Price around 2250 €.

renaixentista 1    renaixentista 2  renaixentista 3    renaixentista 4

renaixentista 5    renaixentista 6    renaixentista 7

 

– Baroque guitar, Massaguer model:

Five courses guitar based on instruments made by Joseph Massaguer the elder (Barcelona, 1711-1763). Materials and decorations based on the original instruments kept in Barcelona, Berlin or New York. String length: 671 mm. Price around 3100 €.

– Baroque guitar, andalusian model:

Own model of five courses guitar based on andalusian instruments of the end of 18th century, specifically made by the Pagés family and Fransisco Rivera, all from Cádiz. Diverse materials and decorations, which can be chosen between traditional and present-day designs and woods. String length: 650 mm. Price around 3000 €.

barroca andalusa davant    barroca andalusa darrere  barroca andalusa taula

   barroca andalusa pala   barroca andalusa boca   barroca andalusa pont

– Romantic guitar, Llausàs model:

Six string guitar copy of an original signed by Miquel Llausàs in Barcelona in 1819. Instrument between Iberian and French traditions. Neck made with cedar o mahogany, ribs and back made of rosewood, maple or cypress, original decoration. String length: 650 mm. Price around 3300 €.

llausàs davant   llausàs darere  llausàs taula

 llausàs pala   llausàs boca   llausàs pont

The next pieces are played by Xavier Coll with a combination of Aquila (Nylgut) and Pyramid strings. All the recordings are made in Barcelona by Alfred Fernàndez:

– Romantic guitar, Pagés model;

Six string guitar based on an original instrument made by someone of the Pagés family between 1810 and 1830. Response and sound color typical of the Iberian instruments immediately before Antonio de Torres guitars. Neck made with mahogany or cedar, ribs and back made with maple, cypress or rosewood, original decoration. String length: 660 mm. Price around 3500 €.

pagés 1    pagés 2  pagés 3    pagés 4

pagés 5    pagés 6    pagés 7    pagés 8

The next piece is played by Xavier Coll with Pyramid strings. The recording is made in Barcelona by Alfred Fernàndez:

Extras:

-I can make “study” versions of all these instruments. In this kind of guitars the decoration is reduced to the minimum and they are made with less aesthetic quality materials (although with very good sound and structural qualities). If you are interested in the prices, just contact me.

Inlays on soundboard, plus 150-250€.

Ribs and back made of wood strips, plus 130€.

Rigid case, price depends on the model requested.

Pegheds. These are mechanical pegs with the look of traditional wooden pegs. Maybe aesthetically they aren’t as beautiful as the original wooden ones, but their precision is amazing. In a five courses guitar: plus 300€. Six string guitars always have it.

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