The guitars built by Ignacio Fleta before 1955 are rare to appear on the market primarily due to the fact that very few were made during the initial phase of his professional career, 1927 to 1955. At this time, he was primarily a builder of instruments in the violin family, only building guitars on occasion.
This very unique and intriguing instrument was built in 1936 after Fleta had seen and done some restoration work on an 1864 Torres (FE 17) - which happens to have been the very first of three Torres previously owned by Francisco Tarrega (1852-1909). This Fleta "replica" is actually a structural copy of FE 17 only, and apart from the use of the same materials (flamed maple for back and sides, spruce for the top), it bears very little aesthetic resemblance to the original. What is striking about the visuals is that it shows elements not normally associated with the more familiar Fleta guitars built post-1955 (which are typically simple and understated by contrast to this guitar). It has the standard Fleta mosaic in the rosette (which is still used today by his grandson Gabriel Fleta and countless others) however it is flanked on either side by full herringbone inlay which also outlines the top in the outer purfling. Additionally, the back and sides have extensive half-herringbone purfling along every edge of the maple. To top it off, there is a delicate and beautiful floral relief carved into the head veneer. This guitar in a certain sense is a "missing link" in the Barcelona school, unifying the highly ornate and intricate guitars of late Garcia and Simplicio/Sanfeliu, with the later, more conservatively built instruments of Coll and Fleta.
Sound-wise the guitar is absolutely stunning. It has an old-world sound with a dark and mysterious character. Despite the smaller body size it has enormous volume, even by modern standards, and could easily fill any sized hall. Overall this is truly a one-of-a-kind instrument, one of the most unique we've ever seen.