A native of Florence, Italy, Andrea Tacchi
is arguably Italy's foremost contemporary luthier and is ranked among the top handful in the world by players and collectors alike. His interest in guitar making started very early in his life - he built his first guitar at age 15. In 1977 he began the serious study of guitar making with Argentinian luthier Ricardo Brané. After Brané’s death, Tacchi traveled extensively (starting in the early 1980s) in pursuit of mastering his craft. In Spain he spent time in the workshops of Jose Ramirez III, Paulino Bernabe Sr, and Francisco & Gabriel Fleta; and in England with Jose Romanillos. But perhaps his most influential trips were those to France where he befriended and consulted with Robert Bouchet and Daniel Friederich, whose approaches and aesthetics would greatly impact Tacchi's developing style. His reputation internationally was boosted in 1985 when he competed in the Concours International des Facteurs de Guitare organized by Robert Vidal of Radio France - Tacchi won first prize for Aesthetic Qualities and second general prize for Acoustic Qualities. His instruments have been played by several notable guitarists including Filomena Moretti, Flavio Cucchi, Carlo Marchione, Antigoni Goni, Robert Gruca, Colin Davin, Minoru Inagaki, and Marcelo Kayath, while others belong to important private collections. Two of his guitars are in the collection of the Conservatorio Luigi Cherubini in Florence, Italy.
This is Andrea Tacchi's flagship model, the "Coclea Thucea". It is a fusing together of two different design ideas that were developed independently. In 1989, Tacchi publically unveiled his "Coclea" model – named after the Latin word for the part of the inner ear that transforms sound vibrations into the psychological sensations of volume, timbre, and tone. It is based on geometric and mathematical concepts that Tacchi discovered in researching the dimensions and proportions of old stringed instruments (including not just guitars but also instruments from the violin family), as well as more abstract concepts such as Fibonacci sequences (as in the shape of the human "coclea"), and the relationships found in the careful combining of circles and spheres to generate his plantilla (outline shape of the guitar) as well as the side-view shape with its unique back and soundboard doming.
Years later Tacchi was able to personally examine and evaluate the last Torres ever built from 1892 (the year of Torres’ death), an instrument which would profoundly influence his future work. Notably, Torres constructed the soundboard with four pieces of spruce. The densities of the outer two pieces were sufficiently different from the inner two that over the course of 100+ years, they oxidized at different rates, leaving the outer two pieces noticeably darker in color than the inner two. This inspired Tacchi to develop yet another new design concept – a four-piece top made of two pieces of western red cedar at the extremities and two pieces of European spruce in the middle, named "Thucea" from the union of the Latin words Thuja Plicata (cedar) and Picea Excelsa (spruce). Tacchi’s idea was to work with woods of different densities (as Torres had done with his final instrument) to maximize the efficiency of sound transmission in his soundboards, resulting in great response and projection.
Notable qualities of this guitar are an easy emission of sound, a great variety of timbre, polyphonic clarity, increased volume, great playability and relaxed, comfortable string tension. Back and sides are made with wenge, which Andrea has favored for this model for over 20 years due to its assistance in production of a clean, focused quality of sound emanating from the box. Fitted with Rodgers tuners and 20th fret. Overall a very sophisticated guitar, successfully achieving its intended aims, the primary of which is beauty of sound.
Luthier Bio: Andrea Tacchi
Orfeo Magazine article on Tacchi, Locatto and Frignani