Melchor de Moya (1830-1891), friend and contemporary of Antonio de Torres, is likely the earliest luthier to adopt and transmit many of Torres’ building techniques to the post-Torres guitar making community. Moya established his shop in 1848. His two sons would apprentice with him and eventually take over after his passing, building instruments under the label "Hijos de Melchor de Moya". According to Domingo Prat, in his "Diccionario de Guitarristas" of 1934, the sons themselves (Andres and Juan) befriended Antonio de Torres during his break from guitar making (between his first and second epochs) while he was running a china and crystal shop in Almeria. The Moya brothers learned a great deal from Torres, which they applied in the construction of their guitars. After the passing of their father Melchor in 1891 and their mentor Torres in 1892, the Moya brothers were awarded a "first medal" and first prize for a guitar of theirs that was entered in the Almería Provincial Exhibition of 1895. In August of that same year, on the occasion of the opening of the railway to Guadix, at another exhibit, the local literary circle wrote of one of their guitars: "The sons of Melchor de Moya provided a guitar that was admired by all visitors to the exhibition, the richness and variety of materials, combined with great delicacy for the construction of the popular instrument of Andalusia." The younger brother of Melchor, Miguel Moya was also close to Torres and according to Jose Romanillos, may have assisted in the final construction of several Torres guitars left unfinished at the time of Torres’ death. Indeed Miguel was purportedly allowed to use the title "disciple of Antonio de Torres" on the labels of his own guitars. Clearly the singular importance of the Moya family in the early assimilation and transmission of Torres' building techniques cannot be overstated.
This particular guitar has several very notable features including the striking and beautiful large rosette, with dark navy blue as the dominant color in the mosaic. Other noticeable features are the slightly more compact box depth despite a more or less standard Torres-style plantilla and three-lobed headshape. The guitar is very easy to play with a comfortable neck for the left hand and quick responsiveness making it very easy on the right hand. Sound is huge, especially considering the shallower body depth. Basses are deep and the trebles are very lyrical and pure with a very strong fundamental dominating the center of every note. It has a beautiful, old-world character that only seems to lurk in an instrument of this vintage. It recently had some repairs done by Rafael Moreno Rodriguez of Granada, Spain, to re-glue some of the old cracks and loose binding from a previous restoration. Special care was taken to use only the same kind of hide glue as had been used by the Moyas, and the original thicknesses and finish are intact. It was also refretted so is in excellent, stable and playable condition. This is a fine and collectible instrument by every measure - very rare, from a historically important shop, and simply a joy to play.