View Full Version : Torres style

07-11-2008, 08:52 AM
What do Torres style guitars sound like? The volume iniside a Torres is much less than a Hauser and others, correct? Maybe 1/3 less volume? And what is the best Torres style guitar you've heard?

07-11-2008, 01:35 PM

Torres guitars are known for their sound and not for their volume.
A lot of volume is not equal good sound. Well, that's my opinion.

Listen the Torres la Leona Guitar here:


Hope that helps



DP LaPlante
07-14-2008, 11:18 AM
Actually, there are five basic Torres plantillas. The largest of which is rather close in size (in all dimensions) to a Hauser. I think the one that people may be most familiar with is the one that Romanillos published years ago, FE19 (La Suprema) which is the fourth size and smaller than a typical Hauser (but not by as much as 1/3. The smallest size is less than 1/2 the size of a modern guitar and corresponds to the SE117 that Roy Courtnall published in his book.
I've made replicas now of three of the sizes. SE 114 (largest) the FE 14 "Cardboard" guitar (next largest) and SE 151A (smallest). As a reference, the Tarrega Torres FE 17 is the third largest of the five sizes. Of course there is a certain amount of variance from guitar to guitar but this is the easiest way to grasp the breadth of Torres' production.
Pics of my SE 114 and FE14 replicas can be seen here:


07-14-2008, 12:24 PM
DP LaPlante,

What is a Plantilla? Can you post a photo of one?


DP LaPlante
07-17-2008, 04:46 AM
I suppose beyond just a question of semantics, I'm using the term "replica" to differentiate what I'm doing from the many far more generic "copies" that abound. Many "Torres" models only resemble an original Torres in that they have smaller plantillas.
My satisfaction in these is indeed reproducing the details and attempting to replicate the character of the originals and in so doing further my understanding of Torres.
Of course, gleaning the information is a challenge. Of the three or so Torres examples that I've handled, one (SE 151a) was in my care for several months so I had adequate opportunity to fully document it. The cardboard guitar which I saw at the Met in 1991 was reproduced through information contained in Tom and Mary Ann Evan's book, Romanillos' description in the 1991 Met Catalog as well as his Torres book. The best reference photowise was in Grondona and Waldner's book. I also relied on verbal descriptions provided by luthier Joshua French and Joan Pellise' who works in the Barcelona Museum where the instrument resides.
I would also recommend the GAL plan of SE 114 drawn by Jeffrey Elliott (who restored the guitar for Sheldon Urlik) which has a wealth of detail.


Tim Miklaucic
07-17-2008, 06:47 AM
To the original poster's question, Torres is as "loud" as Hauser any day. In fact, my opinion having owed many of both is that Torres would be on the louder side. But that's not the remarkable thing about Torres. It's the richness, the purity and clarity of the note which makes it carry very well in a large hall and well as in a small room. Hauser was a great builder by all counts, but his guitars were and are built much heavier and less responsive and quick to react than Torres. They are only slightly similar in character of sound, but they are completely different to actually play one or the other.


DP LaPlante
07-17-2008, 08:25 AM
Just for the sake of clarity, though I'm on something of a Torres "kick" (utter self-indulgence after my recent retirement). My own guitars are more like a Romanillos in terms of overall size and plantilla (see number 90 on my site) and rather different than either a Torres or Romanillos (or Hauser for that matter) in terms of bracing (especially in my use of both a treble bar and a single cut off bar).
I also have my own approach in terms of things one can't easily see as far as wood guaging and the like.
I am however quite enjoying my visit to Torres' ideas before getting back down to serious work.



Todd Harris
07-17-2008, 09:22 AM
Mr LaPlante, when you build Torres replicas, do you match the scale length? Did Torres always build with the same scale length? What is the scale length? 640mm?


07-17-2008, 01:29 PM
"Listen the Torres la Leona Guitar here"

As I recall reading somewhere was not the la Leona guitar considered to be a fradulent Torres? or was that another guitar with a similar name. I do not have access to my guitar resource books as of this writing but in the book by the guy who owns a ton of high end/antique guitars there is a section describing the la Leona guitar being considered a fraud (i.e., not built by Torres) by Romanillos amongst others.

07-17-2008, 02:41 PM
I would recommend anyone with an interest in Torres guitars buy "Antonio de Torres Guitar Maker - His Life & Work by Romanillos. My only complaint with the book is I wish the photos were larger and in color.

DP LaPlante
07-17-2008, 05:25 PM
Todd, Yes within reason.
The scale on Torres guitars varies all the way from just over 600mm (smallest guitars) to over 650mm.
Most of the guitars seem to fall into the 647-650mm range.

MWA, I think GSI may still have copies of the Grondona /Waldner book which more than makes up for the photos in Romanillos.

07-17-2008, 06:56 PM
Thanks for the suggestion about the Grondona/Waldner book. Ironically my copy just came in today. Great book.

Todd Harris
07-18-2008, 06:14 AM
Have you guys seen this video? Davide Ficco playing Ponce on a replica of a Torres “cardboard” guitar made by Fabio Zontini.


DP LaPlante
07-18-2008, 09:58 AM
Darn......for some reason I can't get youtube to work....(not to mention my sound card)....I'll have to check this out on my wife's computer....thanks for the link.!..Zontini's website seems to be down as well.....
I just glued the bridge on my own replica of the "Cardboard Torres" today and will try and get a sound clip on my site ASAP. I'd love to get a better look at Zontini's to see how he handled certain aspects of the guitar.
Meanwhile there are some in process shots posted here:


07-18-2008, 09:25 PM
"Listen the Torres la Leona Guitar here"

I do not have access to my guitar resource books as of this writing but in the book by the guy who owns a ton of high end/antique guitars there is a section describing the la Leona guitar being considered a fraud (i.e., not built by Torres) by Romanillos amongst others.

you mean the 1858 "Torres" in the Russell Cleveland Collection which is presented in the very nice book "The Classical Guitar - A Complete History".

This guitar was the subject of a long and sometimes very boring "Letter to the editor"-discussion in the 1970s. At the end it turned out to be a real fake. Nevertheless about 20 years later this guitar was sold through a well known maker from New York as the true Leona by Antonio de Torres.

07-19-2008, 04:29 PM
I have one of Philip Woodfield's early Torres style models that I bought thru GSI some years ago. Despite the slightly more compact body size, what really impressed me was its HUGE sound. It's quite loud! :)

07-21-2008, 10:47 AM
The scale range is much broader IMO. I'd say a better average range is 639-661mm. I hate to use millimeters with Torres since it is most likely that he did not use that system of measurement. Keep in mind that the fingerboards were most likely slotted after and not before they were put on the neck. It was common to then decide were the 12th fret would be and then use a compass and dividers and use the rule of the 18th to plot the other frets. Then the frets are slotted. IMO this is why the Torres guitars are so inconsistent with exacting measurements.

DP LaPlante
07-22-2008, 06:04 AM
Hi David,
It would be interesting to see a percentage breakdown of the different scales and which were used the most.
Torres smallest scale is seen on almost as many guitars as the longest. Presently, I'm making a replica of SE 151A which is one of his smallest guitars (similar to SE 117) which I discovered here in Albany and which has a 610mm scale.
As for the unusually long 661mm scale, Romanillos implies that this may have not been installed by Torres as that particular guitar was finished by another maker. Indeed, so many of the fretboards seem to have been replaced that I think the original scales probably have to be considered on a one by one basis.
Romanillos also believes that the layout (traditional to Almeria) was performed with a fretboard shaped guage drilled with sets of holes to mark the fret positions and then scribed using an "offset square".
What does seem to be clear is that this was all done (in contrast to today) with the guitar assembled.



DP LaPlante
07-24-2008, 08:23 AM
It's interesting what, at the time (the beginning of Torres' career), was considered a full size guitar. I have a guitar made by Jose' Recio of Cadiz dated 1856 which is quite small (11 1/2" at the lower bout) and has a 650mm scale length....obviously made as a "full size" instrument.