A network for historic guitars and vihuelas
LABEL: JOSEF PAGES ME HIZO EN CÁDIZ AÑO DE 1825
(Gil de Avalle’s Private Collection)
Joséf Pagés was probably born in Ecija, Sevilla around 1740. His brother Juan Pagés also became a notable guitar maker. It is thought that Joséf was the first of the brothers to go to Cádiz around 1760. He established his workshop in Calle de la Almargura by 1809. A leading member of the Cádiz school, Joséf, followed very closely all the innovations that Francisco Sanguino had introduced, but with the additional development of doming the soundboard with the struts, an approach that later makers such as Jose Recio, Antonio de Torres, and Francisco Gonzales also adopted. Pagés started with systems of three braces, like the early guitars of Sanguino and Benedid; his later instruments used five.
The great Spanish composer and guitarist Fernando Sor thought highly of Pagés’s guitars, stating ‘The guitars to which I have always given preference are those of Alonso of Madrid, Pagés and Benediz of Cádiz, Joseph and Manuel Martinez of Malaga…’ The composer Dionisio Aguado also mentions the Pagés brothers as among the makers he would recommend. Joséf Pagés’s known surviving guitars date from the 1790s to 1822.
This is an incomplete list of the guitars that Joséf Pagés made.
“……The guitars which I have always given the preference are those of Alonzo of Madrid, Pages and Benediz of Cadiz, Joseph and Manuel Martinez of Malaga…….” – Fernando Sor, “Method for the Spanish Guitar” English Translation of 1836, published by Tecla Editions.Spanish guitars of the 19th century, and the Panormo, are the most similar to the modern Spanish guitar of any 19th century builder. However, the Spanish guitar has changed considerably since then. Spanish guitars have had fan bracing since at least the 1700′s (older instruments do not survive, so it is impossible to know how far back this construction dates). Fan bracing is a distinguishing characteristic of Spanish guitars, pre-Torres and beyond. Spanish guitars share the mellow, singing quality that is still embodied in the modern guitar, though today’s guitar is physically larger.The most famous Spanish builder was no doubt Antonio de Torres. Although Torres is sometimes credited with inventing the modern guitar, the construction characteristics of Torres guitars can be found in other Spanish builders of his day and in earlier periods.The Spanish school is sometimes described as a delayed initial response and slow decay, with heavy bass dominance. The French and Viennese schools were also excellent sounding, with a different sound characterized by a more rapid attack and a treble or midrange dominance.Much credit for the Spanish school should go to Juan Pagés, as these guitars were fan braced since around the 1790′s, and formed the basic architecture of the Spanish design. Spanish Baroque guitars were fan braced since the 1700′s. Juan Pagés was highly recommended by both Sor and Aguado. The basic body shape of the Spanish guitars was established by the early 1800′s, and in turn evolved throughout the 19th century and even into today. It is widely said that Torres increased the guitar’s dimensions, but this same trend was happening in all the schools of construction at that time, and other examples of Spanish guitars contemporary with Torres show similar dimensions. Some original Torres guitars were much smaller than the modern guitar, and modern players often lose sight of the evolution in internal construction which occurred since then. Other Torres guitars, later ones, are almost as large as a modern guitar.
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