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 during Torres' second epoch, this guitar is numbered SE 14 on the label by its maker. As is the case with every Torres we've seen, words continue to be inadequate when trying to describe just how rich and harmonious the sound is, how perfectly balanced the notes are when they blend together, and the sensation of playing the guitar as it vibrates against the players body. The trebles have an intoxicating, "velvety" and multi-dimensional texture to the sound and it is remarkable just how sensitive each note is to the slightest change in right hand position - allowing for a wide variety of color and expressivity. The basses are wide and deep with a rich, sonorous bottom-end, also with great lyrical charm and character. When evaluating the sound of a guitar like this, it's difficult to tell where the genius of Torres ends and the accumulated years of being played by great artists begins. Nearly 20 years ago Yuris Zeltins performed a fantastic repair job to the instrument, restoring it to concert-playing and recording condition. A guitar cannot be easier to play than this - it truly plays "like butter" - it's almost as if the player simply thinks of the music, places his hand over the string, and voila - the music magically sings from the guitar. This is also a great example of a cypress instrument that is equally at home with classical repertoire and sound as with flamenco - very versatile in what it can do. It is truly a marvel and a further testament to the sublime acumen of it's builder, the founding father of the modern classical and flamenco guitar, Antonio de Torres.