Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

spottie
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Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by spottie » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:57 am

Hi, my daughter currently plays a 3/4 sized guitar and will probably need a full sized one within the next year. I really like the sound of Torres style guitars. Lots of the YouTube samples feature guitars in the $10,000 range, which is way outside my budget of $5,000.
One guitar I really like and within my budget is Cordoba masters series Torres model that is around $3,500. I understand with a $5,000 budget, I can get a custom made guitar. The question is which Luthier makes good Torres guitar around 5K and if they will be substantially better than the Cordoba? I'm in the U.S. and can probably make a trip to either Philadelphia or New York to check out some stores. Thanks!
Or forget to ask another question, the Cordoba Torres is a 640mm. Are most Torres style in that scale? I think smaller scale guitar will be good for my daughter initially when transitioning out of the 3/4 size, but are there any disadvantages for having a smaller scale guitar as she grow up and getting better at playing?

nmshu1
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by nmshu1 » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:42 am

About scale of guitar, check your daughter' left hand first. Her left hand span is 21-23?

I would recommend you the smaller scale guitar. It is easy to play. Everyone has his/her taste for the guitar.
2014 Otto Vowinkel Concert 650, Cedar/Brazilian Rosewood
2015 Juan Hernandez Torres 640, Spruce/Indian Rosewood
2016 German V. Rubio Concert 635, Spruce/Flamed Maple
2015 Kenny Hill Performance 630, Double Top(Spruce/Cedar)/Flamed Maple

vesa
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by vesa » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:36 am

Hi spottie
Almost all professional luthiers will make a better Torres inspired than the factory made are
and with 5 k you have a plenty of possibilities, just take your time.
Commissioning one from a luthier gives you an opportunity to get a tailor made to your daughter. A good luthier will be able to help you to get the neck made so that fits your daughters hands.
spottie wrote:
Or forget to ask another question, the Cordoba Torres is a 640mm. Are most Torres style in that scale?
No - the standard scale length (650) was nailed by Torres in 1850´s, he also build smaller guitars (a small plantilla Torres) with shorter scale, but 650 is regarded as a one of his trademarks.
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Michael.N.
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by Michael.N. » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:15 am

Torres did all manner of scale lengths so it's hardly wrong to go with 640 or even 630 mm. Generally speaking anything in the 630 mm to 650 mm scale can be placed on one of his larger models although personally I prefer 630/640 on his size 2 plantilla - 47 cm body length as opposed to his largest at 48 cm body length. I just think the proportions look better.
It's not just scale length that you need to take into consideration, fretboard width is a factor too, the stretches on a guitar are compound, stretches along as well as across the fretboard. If she has slim fingers (most females do) then consider a 48 mm nut width. The majority of male players (not all) can play on a 48 mm nut width and males usually have the thicker fingers. 99% of females shouldn't have a problem. Plenty of guitarists playing on 48 mm nut width guitars on utube - virtually all the romantic guitars are 48 mm, even down to 47 or 46 mm. I play on a Panormo copy that is 630 scale and 48 mm nut width and I have rather stubby fat fingers. I can play without inadvertently dampening adjacent strings.
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by simonm » Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:23 pm

spottie wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:57 am
Hi, my daughter currently plays a 3/4 sized guitar and will probably need a full sized one within the next year. ….
I see from another post that she is 12 and has been playing for a relatively short time. I would suggest looking for something more "generic" in the $800-$1400 range used. Many guitars with "Torres" in the name are related to Torres guitar in the same way as cars with "go faster stripes" are related to a pure bred racing cars. Keep the $5k until she has reached the point where both she and her teacher feel the guitar is holding her back. Then spend time with here looking at guitars at one of the reputable dealers or keep an eye on the guitars for sale her. A $5k guitar now will not make her a better player.


p.s. I am all in favor of you supporting your local luthiers by ordering a custom guitar but better do it at a point where your daughter has a clear idea of what she needs unless of course you can, and want to, spend 5k every year.

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souldier
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by souldier » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:13 pm

I definitely would wait, gain more experience, build repertoire, etc. before dashing $5000. I am not against a beginner having a high end instrument, but there is a good chance you'll end up spending 5k and wish you had spent it on a different instrument if you're inexperienced. Classical guitars are not as easy to sell as one might think, so you want to ensure you spend your money with as little chance of buyers remorse as possible.

Some tips:
-Gaining skill and expanding repertoire will help you to better assess an instrument.
-It's worth starting off with a decent student guitar. This would give you a good sense of what a guitar sounds like and what it is capable of. Using this guitar to compare with higher end guitars is also important.
-Travel widely. Play as many guitars of different price points in person. There are various dealers all across U.S. Watching YouTube videos can be helpful, but extremely deceptive.
-Trying and buying an already made guitar whether used or new is always the safer option, because you know exactly what you're going to get. Buying blind online or just through youtube videos is risky especially at that price point.
-If you insist on commissioning a guitar from a luthier, I would highly recommended trying samples of their latest work before committing.
-In regards to "Torres" style instruments... remember that you can have 10 torres style guitars built by various luthiers and they might all drastically sound different from each other. I personally wouldn't want to limit myself to one style of instrument. Go to a dealer and try various kinds of guitars and you might be surprised to discover that your ears prefer something different.
-Since you mentioned the Cordoba Torres, I can vouch for its quality since I've owned one. If you ever decide to go this route, definitely go used. If you're patient, you can find one in great condition for as low as $2000.
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spottie
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by spottie » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:19 am

Thanks everybody for your advice! You certainly give me a lot to think about and more research to do in the next couple of months.

I thought the general rule in instrument buying is "buy the best instrument you can afford", hence the $5K budget. Both of my kids are cello players and we had invested in good cellos for them when they transitioned to full size. They had no way utilized the full potential of the cello in their early years, but when we sit in their recitals, the difference in sound quality can be heard especially when other student played the same piece with a cello of lesser quality. Now my older son finally get to be upper intermediate level, it is quite enjoyable to hear him play. So I thought guitar would be the same way, a good one is something they can grow into. Shouldn't you have an instrument couple of steps better than your playing level? If she can advance to the level where she can tell the shortcomings of a 5K level guitar, wouldn't that be time to move on to a 10K professional level guitar? By then, she better pay for it herself :)

I will see if I can go to some guitar dealers and try different guitars, but I do kind of feel bad if I spend an hour or two in the store with the sales people's help and not buying anything :(

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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by eyedoc » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:45 am

I have a Torres from Randy Reynolds for sale
Amazing instrument
Please see the guitars for sale section
Ron

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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by Ramon Amira » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:52 am

simonm wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:23 pm
spottie wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:57 am
Hi, my daughter currently plays a 3/4 sized guitar and will probably need a full sized one within the next year. ….
I see from another post that she is 12 and has been playing for a relatively short time. I would suggest looking for something more "generic" in the $800-$1400 range used. Many guitars with "Torres" in the name are related to Torres guitar in the same way as cars with "go faster stripes" are related to a pure bred racing cars. Keep the $5k until she has reached the point where both she and her teacher feel the guitar is holding her back. Then spend time with here looking at guitars at one of the reputable dealers or keep an eye on the guitars for sale her. A $5k guitar now will not make her a better player.


p.s. I am all in favor of you supporting your local luthiers by ordering a custom guitar but better do it at a point where your daughter has a clear idea of what she needs unless of course you can, and want to, spend 5k every year.
This is excellent advice. This is not the time to be spending 5K on a guitar. For roughly $1000 you could get a brand new Yamaha GC22 or a Francisco Navarro Student model. These are both all solid wood guitars that would suit your daughter perfectly until her experience and playing level justifies the larger expense.

Or, an even better option - with the help of your daughter's teacher you could look into a used guitar. Then when she's ready you might be in a position to spend more than the 5K, most of which you will have saved, and get an even better guitar.

Ramon
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cgratham
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by cgratham » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:19 am

Helo Spottie
As a fellow parent of keen young musicians, I admire your commitment to supporting your children in music by providing quality instruments. Kudos to you!

I agree with your general approach about providing them with a quality instrument to play on. I think one of the key points people are making is that you don't necessarily need to spend $5K at this point to get your daughter a guitar that is at that high quality. As Souldier wrote above, you can likely find a high quality used luthier made instrument for about half of your $5K. That way if your daughter finds that it is not the type of guitar she wants (different woods, neck shape, etc) you can buy and try something else and sell the first one (or keep it as a back-up). Surely in the NJ and NYC area there are lots of used instruments available. I know that I could find something suitable in my areas for that price. In fact, you might even want to look in Canada since your US dollar buys you a lot more here given the excellent exchange rate.

Just for a data point, here's my story. My eldest son, as a young teen, gravitated towards the double bass. We had rented, borrowed, and then bought a cheaper instrument for the first while, but when it was obvious that the instrument was holding him back, with much advice from his teachers, we managed to find him a good quality bass that was not much more than your $5K budget. Now, 5-6 years later, he's a budding young professional bassist and on full scholarship in music performance at the best university in the county. He's won numerous awards, garnered quite a healthy amount of scholarship $, and recorded a CD. All on what he calls his "first and only bass". We weren't thinking of any of that when we got him the nice instrument - just that he would enjoy playing it more because it had better sound and playability. So who knows what role us getting him a good instrument played in his path so far, but I have no regrets.

All the best in making your decision.

Chris
2014 Douglass Scott Cdr/Irw; 2010 Martin Blackwell SpCdr Double top/Irw; 1989 James Frieson Sp/Irw

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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by AdamRoth » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:37 am

I think you've got to take her to try out a bunch of guitars. Neither of you really knows what sound she's going to like, what scale length she prefers, what tonewood sounds best for her technique. And even if the answer to all those questions changes over the years, she'll have started building the experiences that can lead to an authentic discrimination.
Besides, you want her to be invested in and attracted to the instrument. That's a not insignificant detail. And imagine how you'll feel watching her eyes light up when she gets her hands on something that delights her.
You already know there are a few shops in your vicinity with 100+ instruments to try. Take her!
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by simonm » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:33 pm

AdamRoth wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:37 am
I think you've got to take her to try out a bunch of guitars. ….
+1
spottie wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:19 am
(…)
I thought the general rule in instrument buying is "buy the best instrument you can afford", hence the $5K budget.
Who ever invented the rule was not thinking of parents spending $5k on a kids instrument. More likely their were thinking about people wondering about $200 vs $150 for a guitar. :-)
spottie wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:19 am
…. If she can advance to the level where she can tell the shortcomings of a 5K level guitar, wouldn't that be time to move on to a 10K professional level guitar? (..)
There is not a linear relationship between guitar price and "quality". That is the main reason why you should not spend the money just yet. A well chosen $5,000 guitar may be significantly superior to a badly chosen $10,000 guitar. As your children are cello players you will realize the second hand instruments (e.g.the 300 year old Duport Stradivarius for $20m ) are often more desirable than new ones so that puts you at a great advantage when buying guitars but you and or your daughter have to be at the stage where you can recognize the differences. The only way to get to this stage is to follow Adam's advice. You can short cut it a little by getting advice from a good dealer. You will not get good classical advice in a big box shop. I will leave it to US members to suggest reputable dealers in your area. You will also find names just by doing a search here.

Ramon's suggestions are very good for an interim solution until your daughter can evaluate instruments according to her taste. There are also a number of interments on the forum that might be worth looking at. (A new ones turn up regularly).

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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by MessyTendon » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:19 pm

The Cordoba Torres is a really nice looking guitar, but it doesn't have much character for sound.

simonm
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by simonm » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:33 pm

eyedoc wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:45 am
I have a Torres from Randy Reynolds for sale
Amazing instrument
Please see the guitars for sale section
Ron
I was going to mention this one here but in the end forgot about it. :-)

shihchuliao
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Re: Advice on Torres style guitar under $5,000

Post by shihchuliao » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:46 pm

Thank you for post the question and all the responds. I'm 51 years old, but looking for a good classical guitar for myself. I'm considering buying the Cordoba Torres (current price $3500) and that is why I go over this topic and all the responses.
MessyTendon wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:19 pm
The Cordoba Torres is a really nice looking guitar, but it doesn't have much character for sound.
I actually like a Cedar top, but the Spruce top Cordoba Torres sounds also sweet. Do you have a suggestion of other candidate guitar (under 5k) if Cordoba Torres doesn't have much character for sound?

I also visit Randy Raynolds website, it seems there are 2 guitars in inventory, the 2009 Reynolds Conservatory ($3200) seems a good one.

Thank you very much.
Shih-Chu Liao from Champaign, IL, USA

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