The name of Antonio de Torres (1817-1892) is to guitarists what the name of Antonio Stradivari is to violinists. Taken as a whole, the corpus of instruments made by this legendary maker’s hand are today regarded as the foundational basis of the modern guitar. The impact that these guitars made on successive generations of luthiers is impossible to exaggerate – still to this day, most or nearly all of Torres’ structural and tonal improvements are still in use by all top contemporary builders. In Torres’ own day, the leading players such as Julian Arcas and Francisco Tarrega were already performing on his masterpieces, and successive generations of players over the 20th century continued to play them. Although increasing values on Torres over the past several decades has resulted in their placement largely within sphere of collectors, they are still highly desirable to leading professional players and occasionally make their way into the recording studio or even concert stage. Pepe Romero, Stefano Grondona, Wulfin Lieske and Marc Teicholz, among others, have brought them to life in recorded and live sound and we all hope this trend continues in the future, especially as more Torres instruments come to the public’s attention.
Built at the very end of the so-called "first epoch" while Torres was still working in Seville, this is a marvelous and extremely rarified example of Torres' most representative work from the period. It is a full-sized instrument, completely "modern" by todays standards in terms of measurements and proportions which incredibly, remain the blueprint for all guitar makers ever since, with little to no modification from this basic design. Condition of the guitar is excellent, particularly given that it was built 150 years ago. All current repairs were expertly done and the guitar is in performance-ready condition. Sound is absolutely majestic. It has a huge voice with a velvety texture, rich in overtones yet retaining great clarity at the core of every note. The body resonance is very deep, partly due to a device Torres used with some regularity - especially in the first epoch (including most famously in such guitars as "La Leona", FE08, FE13 ex Llobet, FE17 ex Tarrega and others) called a "tornavoz" - a conical tube attached to the soundhole, which in this guitar adds a sonic boom to the bottom end and gives the trebles a brilliant, sparkling clarity. The instrument is as beautiful in appearance as in sound, it has a 3-piece CSAR back, ringed rosette with central herringbone motif and matching "thick" purfling on both the back and sides. Tuning machines were replaced with a custom set made by Rodgers of England for functionality however the original Jerome tuning machines as well as a very old (likely original) wooden case remain with the guitar. Another breathtaking example of a well-preserved, elegantly built and simply gorgeous Torres. Highly desirable to the most discriminating collector or performer alike.