Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

I would be grateful for advice about inspection and selection of a 19th C guitar. I currently play the lute but I rather fancy going back to my long- lost youth to play some of the 19th century repertoire again. To that end I am looking for an original (or a copy) of a 19th C Romantic Guitar. I would like to know the areas that I should check carefully and the kind of areas that might be problematic in the future. I would imagine there are as many pitfalls in this as with most!

Many thanks

Charles

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Hi Charles,

Some very interesting remarks by Tom and Thomas above. 

I just would like to add one thought about modern replicas. Please beware of guitar makers who make guitars that look historic from the outside, but are basically constructed as smaller-sized modern concert guitars, with lots of 'improvements'. There are many guitar makers doing that! For instance reinforcing the neck with a truss rod, or not using historic bracing patterns under the top. Both affect the sounds considerably. 

Some of those makers combine design features of very different guitars from different eras and countries, and mix those up with modern technology to build what is -- at best -- a small size modern concert guitar disguised (and sold) as a historic instrument. 

The best 19th century makers had very good reasons why they chose certain combinations of woods, bracing patterns, tuners (pegs or machines), soundbox design, and fingerboard type.

As to people near you :-) I can think of a few names in Scotland (Jamie Akers or Rob MacKillop) and Birmingham (Danielle Saxon Reeves and Mark Willets), but those are still not too close!

What we need is a proper early guitar festival :-D

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