A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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josswinn
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:25 pm

I've updated the map and spreadsheet with info from here and here. There are now 81 luthiers on the list and 59 on the map. When I get time, I'll start to illustrate the 'genealogy'.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by zzzsegundaepoca » Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:46 pm

The comment about A P Sharpe’s book hits the nail on the head. Most makers started with an almost worthless book and forged their own paths.

To my way of thinking, the modern iteration of the Spanish guitar in the UK is made largely by autodidacts and individualists who claim to be copying Torres and Hauser but have really made something unique and idiosyncratic.

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mandarin
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by mandarin » Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:01 am

Hi

Does soneone has info on the teacher (and students) of luthier Roger Allan?
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josswinn
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:47 am

@mandarain Thanks for a name to add to the list.

A guitar by E R Moulder (Surrey, 1961) has come up for saleroom auction. Does anyone recognise the name? The description reads: "A hand made Spanish classical guitar made in Chessington, Surrey in 1961 by E R Moulder, a copy of a 19thC guitar by Antonio De Torres. The back is made with Nigerian Pear Bosse, the front with British spruce, the sides with Australian walnut, the finger board with guarea and the neck with Honduras mahogany, in a Cheney case".
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:23 am

I have updated the list with some makers listed on the Luthier Directory. Of the 89 UK luthiers listed on that site, only 4 appear to make classical guitars (among other types of acoustic):

Black Swan Guitars (not sure about this one - might be just starting out)
James Alexander
John Marlow
Mark Burnet

Have yet to find any female luthiers of classical guitars (and only 1 of steel string guitars).
Joss Winn

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josswinn
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:24 am

The oldest English-language 'teach-yourself' book on making a classical guitar seems to be A. P. Sharpe's 'Make Your Own Classical Guitar'. I believe that Romanillos used this book when making his first guitar, too. For both of these reasons, it's an important link in any genealogy of classical guitar luthiers in the UK. You can find a copy online if you search for it. It's 32 pages long.

ImageA. P. Sharpe's 'Make Your Own Classical Guitar' (1957/63) by Joss Winn, on Flickr

In the book, Sharpe credits luthier, Marco Roccia (1905?-1987) as the source of information for the book and for checking it before publication. Roccia, was born in England, learned lutherie in Italy and Paris, and worked for The Clifford Essex Music Company Limited between 1927 and 1977. Sharpe was a managing director of Clifford Essex until he died in 1968. Apparently, both John Williams and Julian Bream visited Roccia in his home in Brixton.

Marco Roccia is the earliest name I have right now for a classical guitar luthier in the UK in the 20th century. To go back further, would be to the Panormo family in the late 19th century. No doubt there are still gaps to fill.
Joss Winn

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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by es335 » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:35 am

josswinn wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 6:53 pm
@DerekB Thanks for the additional names. I think the criteria for now is whether they learned or have taught classical guitar-making in the UK for any period of time. I'll look up all the names you mention and add them to the list if it looks like this is the case...
Hi Joss, considering this criteria you may add Jens Towet to your list. Though based in Germany, he lived in UK for a period early this century to learn guitar making in Newark which he proudly keeps emphasizing! :D
Last edited by es335 on Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:37 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by gjo » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:36 am

It might be worth to check the BMG magazine as well.

Sharpe wrote another book about „The Story of the Spanish Guitar“ with a list of the Panormo workshops.

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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by Michael.N. » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:43 am

Panormo are more towards early to mid 19 th century. Earlier than Panormo was John Preston. We are into the late 18 th century. I have a baroque cittern made by him (or rather his workshop) but he also made guitars. Roudhloff brothers were in London mid 19th century. James Westbrook would be well worth contacting for information on early English makers.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:52 am

Thanks everyone. I’m in touch with James Westbrook. He told me he is due have a book published on 19th century guitar-making in London, later this year. He’s happy to leave the 20th century to me :-)

Edit: James Westbrook also confirmed he is writing a biography of David Rubio.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:46 pm

The list of past and current UK classical guitar makers that I am compiling has just reached 100 names (John S. Claughton being the most recent addition). 81 of those names are on the accompanying map. Here's a slightly more developed (though rambling) outline of the research I am pursuing. In brief, the initial research questions are:
  • How has the experience, knowledge and skills (i.e. craft) of classical guitar-making in the UK been transmitted since the early 20th century? Can a ‘genealogy’ of luthiers be established?
  • What has been the role of colleges/institutions in the education and training of aspiring luthiers? What are the current risks and challenges that such institutions face?
  • What is the contemporary experience of lutherie students on formal programmes of study? Who are they? How are they taught? What are their motivations and aspirations? What challenges do they face after graduation?
  • What role has autodidacticism (i.e. self-taught luthiers) played in the development and maintenance of the tradition of classical guitar-making? What can we learn about the experiences of autodidacts and the literature (e.g. books, magazines, internet forums) that they draw upon to teach themselves.
If anyone has relatively complete collections of the following magazines that I might come and look at for a day, please PM me. I'd be very grateful. Thanks.

Guitar 'the magazine for all guitarists'

Fretwire

Guitar Review (USA) (prior to issue 39. The British Library hold issues from 39 onwards)

BMG (issues between 1903 and 1955 - the British Library hold this from 1955)

The British Library hold 'Classical Guitar' magazine from issue 1, so I have easy access to that.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by DerekB » Sat Mar 03, 2018 4:37 pm

Two more names for you, Joss. John Hall, another retired gentleman who took up making guitars. His details can be found on the Stafford Guitar Centre website. And Alastair McNeill - details at Nugent Guitars in the Sold section. Sorry that this doesn't take you any further back.
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josswinn
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by josswinn » Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:13 pm

Thank you, Derek. I had overlooked those. Much appreciated. I plan to contact dealers past and present for interviews once I have trawled the magazines.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by Two Left Hands » Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:23 am

What a superb and interesting post, my first bookmarked item, keep up the good work Josswinn.
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Re: A ‘genealogy’ of UK classical guitar-makers? How is the craft transmitted?

Post by simonm » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:46 pm


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