Antonio de Torres

1888, Almeria (SE 112)

Top: Spruce
Back & Sides: Maple

This guitar, SE 112, from Torres’ second epoch, is made of visually exquisite birdseye maple, a tone wood highly valued by Torres. Like the collection’s SE 14 from 1878, this instrument has undergone a complete restoration, this one in 1995 by luthier John Mello. Whereas the cypress SE 14 has a bright, crisp and clear voice, SE 112 has an added depth and complexity to the sound (no doubt due in part to its maple body) that can produce a profound emotional response in both player and audience.

The original owner of SE 112, Lambert Suydam, was a student of the great virtuoso, Miguel Llobet. It is one of a series of four guitars made by Torres between 1887 and 1888 with virtually identical constructive and decorative details. In his book, La Chitarra di Liuteria (Masterpieces of Guitar Making), the Italian guitarist, Stefano Grondona, says of this group of guitars (from SE 111- SE 114): “…[Torres’] sound now acquires a maturity in which the force of discovery gives way to the inevitability of understanding.” The first in the series, SE 111, also in maple, was owned by a student of Miguel Llobet. The fourth, in rosewood (SE 114), was the last guitar Torres built for Francisco Tárrega.