Here are photos of an early 19th century guitar I found in Madrid in October 1999 in an antique furniture shop on the block behind Arcangel Fernández's shop. It had just been brought to the shop the day before. When I showed it to Felix Manzanero, who has a great collection of old guitars, he told he that he would have bought it himself and that he had not seen any good old guitars in a few years.



The guitar has no label. But from its body shape and size and various features I figure it was made about 1830. Although I found it in Madrid, I'm not sure that it is Spanish. It does have a Spanish foot, but it physically looks like some old Italian guitars I have seen in photos . If anyone has seen a similiar guitar please contact me.


The soundboard is spruce (what is called pine in England or pino in Spanish). The back and sides are probably maple with a violin type reddish varnish. The fingerboard looks like pear wood with a black paint or stain. The neck might be sycamore with a black paint/stain.

The first 10 frets are ivory. The 11th, 12th and 13th frets are wooden--possibly ebony. The fret board meets the body between the 11th and 12th frets.

There is a paddle type head stock with 7 holes. Six holes for wooden tuning pegs, one hole for hanging the guitar on the wall. There is a wooden strap button at the base on the back of the head stock. And, there is a hole at the base of the guitar for a peg or button for the strap. There is an "ice cream cone" type neck base.

There are three braces (5mm x 15mm) supporting the back, with a 5mm center strip covering the joint of the 2 piece back.

The soundboard has one bar located 15mm above the soundhole, it is 5mm wide by 15mm high. Another bar is located 20mm below the soundhole, it is about 5mm high by 6mm wide. And, a 3rd bar is located 75mm below the soundhole, it is about 4mm high by 6mm wide. This last bar is about mid-way between the bottom of the soundhole and the bridge. These bars extend from one side (rib) of the guitar to the other.

The bridge is made of a light hardwood which was been colored. It has 6 holes for string pegs and has a slot for the saddle. The bridge has painted mustache curls on each end.

The back has no purfling or binding. The face has a dark wood binding and a 10 veneer purfling made of 5 dark and 5 light veneers. The soundhole is ornamented with a simple dark/light wood pattern and circled with an inlaid "vine" design.


Actual scale length: 630mm (there is no compensation)

Nut to 12th fret: 315mm

Nut width: 42mm

Width of fingerbooard at junction of neck and body: 53mm

Upper bout: 200mm

Lower bout: 272mm

Body depth at base: 76mm

Body depth at lower bout: 73mm

Body depth at upper bout: 67mm

Body depth at neck: 67mm

If you have any comments, email me:

Return to Table of Contents on the Home Page