Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - 76

COLUMN Guitars with Guts

guitars now sporting Arias labels or reasonable
facsimiles. As we always caution, the label in
an instrument is often the least reliable piece
of information in an instrument.

THE INSTRUMENT
Smaller than today's standard measurements, this Llorente harks to a time when makers built instruments
to fit players. Most of
Llobet's instruments
were smaller, similar to
this, which has a scale
of 640 mm. Very wellproportioned, it does
not present a diminutive appearance at first
glance. The sides and
back are very old, nicely
quartered Cuban mahogany. Today, many
consider mahogany an inexpensive alternative
to rosewoods, but in 19th-century Spain, mahogany - especially the commercially extinct
Cuban variety - was the ne plus ultra material
for sides and backs, and makers reserved it for
their finest instruments, often after salvaging
it from antique furniture. The fingerboard is
rosewood, often used for its lightness compared
to ebony, and the neck is Spanish cedar with a
grafted head and heel. The bridge is made of
rosewood with a bone tie-block veneer.
The decoration is restrained - a simple

rosette of concentric colored and natural wood
rings - and the purflings are plain lemonwood
or possibly Maracaibo box. Of interest is the
lack of 19th-fret split by the sound hole, a
common 19th century feature. Internally, the
top linings are solid bent softwood (which
fractured around the waist while being bent),
and the back is attached with individual

The rounded arms of the bridge were but one of
many design variants used by makers of the era.

triangular softwood glue blocks of uniform
shape and spacing. It appears the instrument
was assembled with the back attached first and
later the top, the opposite of the "traditional"
top-first, back-last Spanish method.

HISTORY
According to oral history, this guitar passed
from Llobet to Daniel Fortea (1878-1953), a

VINTAGE GUITAR

76

March 2017

(MIDDLE) The head's veneer of walnut.
(RIGHT) The sliver of the second head
between the original neck and current head.
The roller holes were plugged when the
current and final head was installed.

colleague of Celedonio Romero, founder of the
world famous Los Romeros quartet. In the late
1950s, the Romeros
left Spain to settle
in the U.S., where
t he i n st r u ment
passed to the Otto
Winkler collection
in New York City.
Winkler was one of
the pioneer American collectors of
Spanish guitars and
amassed a sizable
collection of rare
instruments. When Winkler retired, he sold
some of his collection to Victor Rangel-Ribeiro,
who ran the retail shop Orpheus Music in New
York City, a meeting place for world-renowned
musicians, scholars, and literary giants of the
era. From Victor, it passed through our shop.

HARD LIFE
Like many instruments of this era, this
guitar exhibits indisputable evidence of prior
repair, including two head replacements, top
replacement and later top repair confirmed by


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open

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Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - October 2017 - open - IFC
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