Luthier Ariel Ameijenda builds a copy of a rediscovered Antonio de Torres guitar - SE 81.
Antonio de Torres built around 155 guitars during his lifetime, but unfortunately, many of them haven't survived to this day. We can only hope that some of these instruments will be rediscovered and presented to the public as time passes. Since these are highly desirable and historically significant instruments, collectors worldwide dream about finding one of the "missing" Torres guitars.
Sometimes people are successful in their search! Six years ago, one of the missing guitars from the second epoch - SE 81 - was found in someone's home in Uruguay. The guitar was discovered by a private collector from Spain, who flew to Uruguay with Antonio Fuentes who inspected the instrument's condition and its authenticity. Torres SE 81 was built in 1885. To the best of our knowledge, nobody has played on this instrument for decades, but it is in an excellent state of preservation for its age - it has an original upper nut, machine heads, and most of its varnish - as it was later described by Italian luthier, Gabriele Lodi, who did some restoration work on this instrument. Gabriele told us that it is one of the most well-preserved Torres guitars he has seen. See the photos of the original Torres SE 81 below.
While in Uruguay, Fuentes prepared detailed plans of the SE 81 and left them with guitar maker Ariel Ameijenda with whom he has been in touch this whole time. Ariel told us that the plans are very detailed containing more than 50 measurements of the top and back, as well as thicknesses. For this guitar, Torres used Black Locust wood for the back and sides. While it's a rare and difficult material with which to work, it's still very pleasing to the eye.
Having these detailed plans inspired Ariel to build a copy of that guitar for us. We have some sneak peek photos below! Ariel chose a stunning set of birdseye maple for the back and sides (Torres' favorite wood, used in FE 08 - La guitarra cumbre) since it's visually similar to the original Black Locust wood, but is of better quality.
Ariel is the first luthier to build a guitar based on the SE 81, so we can't wait to check out this instrument once it's finished!