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Museum

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

Year 1888
Top Spruce
Back & Sides CSA Rosewood
Scale Length 650 mm
Nut width 52 mm
Finish French Polish
Country Spain
Luthier Antonio De Torres
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Description
Built the same year as Tarrega's favorite Torres guitar (SE 114) and almost identical in detailing and dimensions, this guitar (SE 116) is one of the great masterpieces of guitar making history. It is in phenomenal condition with all original elements preserved, including original polish, tuning machines and internal pencil marks. Accompanying the instrument are some very interesting documents dated 1951 from Barcelona luthier Enrique Coll (1894-1978), who was a disciple of Simplicio and mentor to Ignacio Fleta. Among these is an appraisal in which Coll describes a metal plate bearing the name "La Italica" which is fastened onto the headstock. According to Coll, this instrument received special attention from Miguel Llobet, Domingo Prat and Emilio Pujol. The story goes on to say that Prat and Pujol "baptized" the guitar and gave it the name "La Italica" while Llobet prefered to refer to it as "La Leona di Farre" in honor of both the legendary "La Leona" Torres of 1856, and as a gesture to the owner of "La Italica" at the time - Leon Farre, who was one of the grand guitar aficionados of the Barcelona scene in the early part of the 20th century. Whatever the meaning of all this, we are left only to wonder.

Words are inadequate in describing just how rich and harmonious the sound is, how perfectly balanced the notes are when they blend together, and the sensation of playing the guitar as it vibrates against the players body. It is a tremendous experience which is only possible with an instrument such as this in ones hands. This experience is confirmed over and over again with every Torres we see, particularly with something as profound as this guitar, SE 116.

For more information on the life of Antonio de Torres, be sure to read this short biography and this excerpt about the Torres sound from the Jose Romanillos book, "Antonio de Torres". We also have an interview between Pepe Romero and Kenny Hill about the master luthier.

Orfeo Magazine #9 - The 200th Anniversary of Antonio de Torres

Videos

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

York 'Quicksilver' played by Andrew York on an 1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica"

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

York 'Squares Suspended' played by Andrew York on an 1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica"

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

York 'Knowing' played by Andrew York on an 1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica"

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

York 'Mechanism' played by Andrew York on an 1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica"

1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica" SP/CSAR

York 'Yamour' played by Andrew York on an 1888 Antonio de Torres "La Italica"

Guitars by Antonio De Torres