Museu De La Musica
in Barcelona. Jose Romanillos has cataloged this guitar as FE14
in his book Antonio de Torres: Guitar Maker - His Life and Work
. Its back and sides were made of papier mache reinforced by a grid of cedar and transverse bars of pine. It was an experimental guitar made by Torres to prove his theories regarding the relative unimportance of the woods used for the back and the sides. The instrument supposedly first belonged to Tarrega
and then to Llobet
FE14 is reputed to have exhibited excellent tone, supporting Torres's theories. I have not heard it, but Pepe had mentioned that this guitar is recorded in the accompanying CD to La Chitarra di Liuteria - Masterpieces of Guitar Making
(link to PDF sample of the book).
Jose Romanillos seems to provide supporting testimony to the guitar's excellent tone but he also seems to leave open the question of the guitar's projection. Apparently, FE14 is in such poor condition following multiple restorations that its original projection cannot be accurately assessed.
I guess my question for this discussion is whether Torres's theories are still relevant today and what they actually prove. Are the chosen materials for backs and sides really that unimportant to tone? Are they, however, more important to projection? Does this mean that a guitar of laminated B/S can be made to rival a guitar of solid woods? Is the perception of "improved tone" from B/S mostly in our heads and can we happily migrate to alternate tonewoods?
The image above is of Antonio Torres's papier mache guitar which is currently in the possession of la
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