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1903 Vicente Arias SP/CSAR

Year 1903
Top Spruce
Back & Sides CSA Rosewood
Scale Length 648 mm
Nut width 50 mm
Finish French Polish
Country Spain

This guitar is no longer available in our inventory. If it interests you, click the ”notify me when available” button to be notified in the event that we re-acquire this guitar for re-sale.

See more from Vicente Arias

This is a superb and beautiful guitar by Vicente Arias (c. 1840-1912), one of the most intriguing yet shadowy giants in guitar-making history. Almost no biographical details are known about his life, and despite the fact that the instruments he left behind are rarely seen, they have retained a very special mystique and longstanding reputation of the highest order amongst the guitar aficionado communities world-wide up to the present day. Although presently we know very little about this elusive personality, a glance at his label suggests that he was likely a household name in his own time - the label proudly displays the medals won in competitions in Brussels, Madrid and Barcelona. Several of Arias' most famous contempoaries performed on his instruments, including noneother than the great Francisco Tarrega. Arias guitars continue to be played today by many top professionals including Stefano Grondona, David Jacques, Raphaella Smits and Javier Riba. For the most current information about this mysterious luthier, we highly recommend the excellent publication by Camino Verde: Vicente Arias 1833-1914: The Forgotten Luthier. This guitar from 1903 is featured on pages 192-193.

Even though the plantillas and bracing systems (and degree of ornamentation) Arias experimented with differed substantially from guitar to guitar, his reputation for producing a consistently beautiful quality of tone is likely the reason for his enduring legacy. And this guitar is a great example - it is simply exquisite. While every note is rich in overtones, it retains an almost unbelievable degree of separation and clarity between voices. Due to its ultra-lightweight build, the production of sound is immediate, with ample amounts of tonal modulation and dynamic range. Aesthetically, this is a gorgeous instrument with beautiful materials, including a dramatic set of CSA rosewood for the back. It also showcases one of his more elaborate and colorful rosette designs featuring circular floral patterns in the central band, surrounded on the inside and outside by strips containing peanut-shaped and circular inlays. The rosettes and inlay work of Vicente Arias are some of the most discussed, respected and loved in today's guitar making community for his elegant and unique designs, as well as masterful execution and this is a great example of his more virtuosic woodworking skills.

The guitar is currently in excellent, restored condition. Like almost all Arias guitars we know of, this has had repairs done to stabilize old cracks, and the original tuning machines have been replaced with a set of Rodgers. A second fingerboard has been added to the original, likely to improve playability by creating lower action. The integrity of the instrument for sound and playability is perfectly intact and it is currently ready for any concert or recording project. This is an expressive and impressive instrument by all measures from one of the most enigmatic builders in the 'canon' of the great historical makers of the past 150 years.

Guitars by Vicente Arias