Here’s Rafael Elizondo playing a gorgeous 1862 Antonio de Torres. It’s always an amazing experience to hear these guitars played after so many years and have them always deliver. Here’s a bit about the guitar (and you can read more on the product page):

This is a fantastic example of an incredibly well-preserved first-epoch Torres guitar, made in his Seville workshop at Calle de la Cerrageria No. 32 in 1862. Built the same year as the famous “paper mache” guitar, it has the unique and creative feature of using colored paper as part of the rosette (in bright red and blue) and veneer lines in the top purfling (in blue). It is one of Torres’ more elaborately made instruments, featuring 3 piece sides (with flamed maple at the edges and birdseye maple in the mid-section). The back is birds-eye maple, the top European spruce. Master repairman Yuris Zeltins recently cleaned-up a few old repairs and also did a fresh setup job which makes this one of the easiest and most enjoyable instruments to play that we have seen in years. The surprising effortlessness required of the player yields the most intoxicating results in terms of beauty and quality of tone, the guitar itself being ultra-responsive (due in large part to its featherlight build) to the most delicate or aggressive touch, with a huge palette of tonal colors to choose from, all available with the slightest change of right hand position. It is mind-bending to experience this while realizing at the same time that this instrument is over 150 years old! Truly a very rare and unique example of one of the great masterpieces in the history of guitar making.

Huge thanks to Rafa Elizondo for showing us what a guitar like this can sound like after 152 years!

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10 Responses to “Rafael Elizondo Plays 1862 Torres”

  1. Drumcious says:

    Clearly, this is a special guitar. I would have however loved to have heard it without the added “ambience” in the recording (filtering?). In this special case, it’s natural room sound would have been more appropriate to get a truer experience on its unique qualities and perhaps limitations. For example. was it the filtering that weakened the base or was it the guitar itself? Also. with due respect to Rafael’s lovely playing, this demonstration of the guitar’s capabilities would have had a greater effect if perhaps a more seasoned guitarist would have played it, especially a guitarist who would have attempted more complex pieces. I for one want to hear more from this guitar.

  2. Rene says:

    Beautiful playing and sound. I had the impression that Rafael on purpose controlled the basses very carefully. If it is like other Torres guitars, it will have a very low air mode and the bass can easily dominate the sound. I suspect the recording techniques and processing for this guitar are different from the other GSI recordings, but even with that I suspect I would still hear in a live performance that very relaxed, yet still clear, sound with no strain that seems to characterize these instruments.

    • tom says:

      @Greg Smith. I may be kidding myself, but I think I can at least tell from these recordings whether a guitar records well or not. Also, with experience of recordings, it’s possible to learn to read between the lines, that is to say to be able to discount the recording technique from an evaluation. This is particularly true when a guitar is always recorded in the same way and the recording always mastered in the same way. It’s true that this hasn’t always been the case with the GSI recordings.
      One factor that is usually very evident from recordings is the sustain of the instrument, particularly in the high treble. Also, to some extent, the speed of response.
      So no, I wouldn’t agree that these recordings can ever be valueless for assessing a guitar.

  3. Greg Smith says:

    I do wonder with all of these videos how close the sound is to what a listener would hear in the room. If there is a significant difference, they are valueless in terms of listening to the voice of a particular guitar, regardless of the wonderful playing and beautiful music.

  4. tom says:

    An excellent choice of pieces for showing off the sound of this guitar, although an additional and more technically demanding music might have been interesting as a contrast. Fine playing from this clearly experienced guitarist.

  5. Outsanding guitar and excellent playing! The recording sounds great keeping in mind that most recordings now a days use effects (compression and reverb) and the quality of streaming music is not the same Hi-Fi as you would hear on a CD through a proper music system.

    • Torres' Ghost says:

      “… sounds great keeping in mind that most recordings … ”

      If this recording is as pimped as some comments point out, it’s simply a pity. It doesn’t get better knowing you can find worse efforts elsewhere (especially with classical guitar). You definitely can.

      • Well, there’s nothing like hearing them live isn’t there?

        • tom says:

          True. Accurately capturing the true characteristic sound of a guitar isn’t easy and sometimes may not even be desirable! Even recordings in a live acoustic can distort the reality. Still, for retailers, I think there is an argument for standardizing recordings as much as possible.

  6. John Hills says:

    I should love to know what strings were used. What a beautiful sound – close miked, or not!


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