Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

I've noticed a few people trying to bring in the modern classical guitar to this site, and it's something I gave a lot of thought to before setting it up. I'm no longer an administrator here, so it's up to those who are to set the agenda. My reason for having a cut-off point of Torres, is that I didn't want this to become yet another classical guitar site. Performances of Dowland or Bach on a modern classical guitar, while often being worthwhile, are not what I had in mind. Even Sor on a modern classical sounds odd to my ears. The internet allows niche gatherings, and not every site has to be all inclusive.

However, there are many of us who also play modern classical guitar, myself included. Where can we go? Well, the biggest forum is the Delcamp one, but I and others have left there or been banned due to the obsessive and aggressive policing by over-zealous Stasi, sorry, administrators. I have recently joined this site: http://classicalguitarforum.net, itself only a couple of months old. At the moment it is very quiet, but if enough people join it might establish itself. I hope to see some of you over there.

That aside, I'm wondering what members here think of THIS site? What could be improved? Pros and Cons? Should we open up to the modern classical guitar? We have close to 900 members, but only 20 or so seem to be actively participating. 

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Excellent comments all round. It's for the Mods to consider what, if anything, to do, and I am sure they are watching this discussion. 

Regarding multi-string guitars, Torres also made them. It is clearly a difficult thing to pin down. If someone plays a genuine Torres guitar (no matter how many strings) or has a good copy of one, and approaches the repertoire in a historically informed way (maybe gut strings, maybe not taking out all the glissandi, using a tornavoz, for instance) then I think it would be wrong of us not to include it. Llobet's Torres dates from 1859, which is very early. 

What we all now seem clear about is not having Dowland on a modern classical guitar. On the other hand, we have had, and enjoyed, Robert de Visee played on a 19th-century guitar, but in that case it was to illustrate the transcription which appeared in Napoleon Coste's tutor. 

Clearly the wording of the sub heading I gave at the top of the Main page of this site is misleading and require revision:

"For all gut strung historical guitars (Renaissance, Baroque, and Early Romantic) and related plucked, fretted instruments up to c. 1850"

For a start, how many of us use gut? I try to, as that is what I like best, but don't always manage. 1850 misses out much important instruments and repertoire. I think it is important to give visitors to the site a clear indication of what we are about. So, can anyone take a stab at revising the sub heading?

Hello Rob, Martyn and others

As one of the admnistrators I am following this discussion with interest (but don't have all that much time to participate with a degree thesis to finish). Personally I would think that the main purpose should be to offer a place for players and lovers of historical guitars, maybe from before ca. 1900. Somehow however we should perhaps include the concept of repertoire being played on appropriate instruments in an appropriate style: for instance vihuela music on a vihuela, and Aguado on some type of 19th century guitar. That to me is an important thing about the larger HIP (historically informed performance practice) movement: that it matters what you play on which instrument and with what technique.

Let's have this discussion go on for a bit and hear what others think :-) 


(and by the way, the guitar in my profile pic is from 1862, oh dear!)

Personally I joined this forum precisely because of the name: Early Guitars and Vihuera.


As others noted, these two categories (especially vihuera) are scarecely specialized in any other websites (except for Sociadad de la vihuera).


I'm neither purist or cultist, but, as Rob noted in the first place, I don't think you need yet another forum for post-Torres guitars and lute family instruments (some pictures and videos of them have already been posted here).


Please don't get me wrong.  I'm also fan of music of lute family.  But I would hope that this forum to keep concentrating on the original criteria.  I may want to know more about theorbos and archlute, though.  :P


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