Early Guitars and Vihuela

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Hi all. First post. Rob, I've spent many hours glued to my monitor viewing your Sor renditions at sorstudies. I'm not a stranger to Sor's music, but hearing your recordings has rejuvinated my interest in not only Sor but the guitar itself. Thank you. The panormo is breathtaking; I hadn't really looked into instruments of the era until I saw your site, and have since been looking more into the Lacote and Panormo, perhaps with a view of purchasing a replica one day. Mr Ambridge is the obvious example, but what other luthiers have people come across in the UK, and what prices could one expect to pay for such an instrument?

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Hello Spencer,
Since you have not received any replies yet, I thought I could mention one of the photos on My page (Harry Jess) showing a Panormo replica I got from a luthier in Mexico. I don't know how much you are prepared to spend on a Panormo, but since you talk about luthiers only in the UK I guess you have to pay quite a lot. Being a self-taught guitarist of intermediate level inspired by Rob's videos like you, I was very happy to get this replica for less than $800, and to my ear the sound quality is very fine for such a small and inexpensive instrument. I just wanted a guitar that would give me a feeling of playing a similar instrument of size and tone as Sor did, and frankly, I've got that feeling!
Harry, many thanks for the reply - your panormo replica looks fantastic. I'd love more information, if you have any? I really wanted a UK-based luthier for shipping and security reasons I suppose - I've never bought a guitar from abroad. I'd probably look into it if I could save myself a fortune and get adequate insurance.
Steven, the replica was made after the measurements of an original Panormo at Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments. The only difference was that I wanted the nut width to be like that of a modern classical, 52mm, and I do not regret this. But it's a matter of taste, actually. I chose German Pine (Spruce?) for the board, Paloescrito (Mexican Palosanto) for the body, Caoba (Mahogany Swietenia Macrophylla) for the neck. I chose rosewood (like the original) for the fretboard to keep the costs down, but it came with ebony as a special courtesy since this was the second instrument I had ordered from this firm and this luthier. It's a Bolivian Firm, TendasLatinas, and the luthier is Martin Zalapa from Mexico. So the instrument was shipped from that country, not Bolivia. TiendasLatinas informed me that they had the full responsibility during transit, so there was no need for an additional insurance. I ordered the guitar 31. October last year and it came to my doorstep 3. January. Personally I can give this firm and this luthier my best recommendations if you are looking for reasonably good and not least affordable instruments. I have noticed at their web site that the prices have been raised since then. I hope this could be of any help. If you want to contact them, you are free to mention my name. Good luck!
Harrys
Here's a link to the panormo I think Harry is talking about, if anyone is interested. Looks promising.
http://www.tiendaslatinas.com/centrocomercial/product_info.php?prod...
Yes, Spencer, I haven't noticed this! The price has gone up quite a bit since I ordered my Panormo, posssibly because it was the first Panormo replica he made?
I think they only created the page today because I pestered them yesterday and asked for more information :)
Can you explain the difference between a panormo and lacote? Is it just the woods used?
I recognized my guitar at once! I don't know why they haven't added this to their gallery before, I advised them to do it. The Lacote generally has a headstock shaped like 8 with friction pegs. Panormo was one of the first to use tuning machines, and personally I prefer that. But M. Zalapa can also make you a Lacote replica if you send him some pics and measurements. By the way, Sor is known to have played Lacote, but he was also in London visiting Panormo's workshop and tried his guitars as well. Whether he later bought one himself I guess Rob is the right person to ask. Good luck and keep us informed!
Harry
It's much more than just the woods used. A Lacote is Ladder braced, the Panormo is fan braced. The Panormo is much deeper in the side dimensions - very near the full depth of a modern Classical. Whilst the Panormo example in Edinburgh is of a laminated Back that particular feature is fairly unusual (but not entirely unknown). Lacote laminated Backs are plentiful although he did use solid woods in both Maple and Satinwood.
In a nutshell the Panormo model is closer in sound to that of a modern Classical guitar - hardly surprising since the construction details are not that far removed from a Torres. Lacotes display a more fundamental type sound. A modern guitarist would be more familiar with the Panormo type sound. It seems that Sor rather liked his Lacote although it's obvious he was a bit of a 'collector'.
Not a lot wrong with wooden tuning pegs, Baroque Lute players seem to manage OK and they have to contend with some 25 pegs on their instruments.
It might be wise to get them to change those machine heads on that Panormo copy, otherwise you might have a LOT of string winding to do.
Hi Spencer,
Can you tell me which cord length you ordered? (62, 63, 64, 65 cm?) at tiendaslatinas
What is your opinion of the cord length you use?

Did you order the hardcase also?

Daan

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