A Dotras Cordoba

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Les Backshall
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A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Les Backshall » Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:29 am

I've just got hold of a guitar which my brother bought about thirty years ago. The label says:

A. Dotras Cordoba, Calle San Pablo 28, Barcelona.

It's in a bit of a state cosmetically as he stripped all the varnish off, but it seems to have been nicely made and the wood looks decent quality. The top is spruce with walnut back and sides, and ebony fingerboard. The top bracing is unusual in having six symmetrical fan braces, three per side, with no central brace and no bridge plate or bar. Apparently it cost about £150 ($300) new. I assume it's nothing to do with the current Cordoba guitars as their website says they were established in 1997.

Anyway, I'm going to refinish it for him and was wondering if anyone has any historical information about this maker?

Many thanks

Les
Lester Backshall, Guitar Maker - Aylesbury UK

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Les Backshall
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Les Backshall » Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:39 pm

Pity no-one has info on this – obviously a very obscure maker. Or perhaps I’m just getting old and it was too long ago :(

Anyway, I thought that before doing too much work on it I’d put some frets on, rough out a nut and saddle and string it up. Firstly to get an idea of what it sounds like, and secondly to see if it would hold together (it’s been unfretted and unstrung for the last twenty years or so). Actually it sounds rather good, lots of volume, rather bright (perhaps a bit too bright for my taste) and it hasn’t fallen apart yet :!:

I have a couple of questions about the way it has been put together which I’m hoping someone may have some experience of, and can comment on from a structural point of view.

1) I mentioned above the six fan braces, three either side symmetrically, with no central fan brace, no bridge plate or bridge bar. Instead there is a thin bracing plate running below the centre seam from the end block to the lower harmonic brace. It’s similar to the back centre seam brace, but much smaller.

Q. Has anyone come across this type of bracing before, and is there anything in its favour?

2) You can see from the photo that the last fret is back from the soundhole. At first glance I thought there were only eighteen frets, but actually there are nineteen, and the soundhole is further down the body.
cordoba-01a.JPG
Q. Given the odd places you see some soundholes these days, could this be an option for someone who wanted twenty frets? What are the downsides to moving the soundhole down the body a bit?

In anticipation as always

Les
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Lester Backshall, Guitar Maker - Aylesbury UK

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Vesuvio
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Vesuvio » Sat Nov 03, 2007 5:54 pm

Hello Les,

What a great project!

I hope someone does turn up who can give you some information about the guitar. Please let us have another look at it when you have finished your renovations,

Best wishes, V :)
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

shadsmeister

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by shadsmeister » Thu Jan 03, 2008 4:29 pm

Hi there
This is a coincicence. I happen to have picked up from a charity shop only yesterday a classical guitar with the same maker's label inside. The top is spruce and the back and sides are mahogany. The bindings are wood too. It is in pretty good shape except for a crack in the lower part of the top and the bottom curve side (dropped at sometine probably).
The label bears the year of fabrication which I swear looks like 1918! Could it really be 90 years old? Of course it could be 1978 but the way the continentals wrote and still write numbers a "7" would have a stroke through it. What I believe is a "1" has the classic leading stroke at the top. Anyhow I am just in the process of cleaning it up before I string it.
This guitar has only two cross braces both on the top (before and after the soundhole), and the back (just behind the waist-line and across the widest bottom part.
Ken

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Vesuvio
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Vesuvio » Fri Jan 04, 2008 10:45 am

Hello Ken,

Your discovery sounds very interesting!

Welcome to the forum! If you have time please visit the Introduce Yourself area where you might like to tell us a little about your musical background and interests,

Best wishes, V
"There are only two things worth aiming for, good music and a clean conscience." Paul Hindemith

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Les Backshall
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Les Backshall » Sat Jan 05, 2008 7:21 pm

There must be more about than I thought, although no one seems to have heard of ADC. There was one, very similar to the one I have, on e - b a y recently, described as over 40 years old. It went for £185. The one I have came originally new from the Bristol Spanish Guitar Centre in, I believe, 1972 and was the top of the range at that time. I would imagine yours would be 1978 rather than 1918, if they'd been around for that long I'm sure there would be more records of them.
I'd be interested to hear what it sounds like when you've restrung it.

Les
Lester Backshall, Guitar Maker - Aylesbury UK

kpcleary

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by kpcleary » Tue Oct 21, 2008 4:17 pm

Just found this conversation after googling ADC. I don't have much to add, as I was trying to discover info myself. I bought one in a small shop in Barcelona in the summer of 1980. They told me that they were made on the premises. I cam't remember what I paid, but it wasn't much. It is beautiful wood, and continues to produce beautiful tones. If anyone learns more please advise!

kc

Brynmor
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Brynmor » Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:44 pm

I remember my wife buying one of these guitars, many years ago, to learn on. The instrument would not have been my choice but she was trading in her keyboard and it was the only good guitar the shop had in stock. I remember that it was well made if rather rudimentary in design with a quite thick sprayed finish. I did not play it very much but I recall that it was quite heavily built and felt it! I think it was a factory built instrument but I cannot remember what model it was or very much else about it.

boos

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by boos » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:09 pm

i just found one that some school was trashing, the bridge was ripped off. i repaired it and is sounds great. im going to put it in front of a stereo tuned to a mexican radio station to open up the wood resonance. it looks like a 70s but there is no date.

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Granary Guitars
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by Granary Guitars » Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:28 pm

According to Jose & Marion Romanillos "The Vihuela de Mano and the Spanish Guitar": I paraphrase

A Dotras Cordoba:
Workshop was in operation in 1920 in calle San Pablo,5, Barcelona. In 1957-1958 he was at calle San Pablo,28, Barcelona. In 1963 he was joined by Vicente Carrillo Cantos and his wife who worked with Dotras in calle Ancha, Barcelona.

Might I suggest that all luthiers should treat themselves and buy a copy of this wonderful book? It is full of interesting information and it's amazing the number of times I've seen info lifted straight out of this book and no credit given.
Alun

AllanF

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by AllanF » Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:21 pm

I found an ADC some time ago (it was around EUR 70). The guitar was absolutely dead so i did not buy it.

Read this thread about this: viewtopic.php?f=11&p=331179

RexHall

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by RexHall » Sat Sep 25, 2010 12:05 pm

I found your site while searching for info on an A. Dotras Cordoba guitar that I have. I purchased it at a yard sale in New Orleans in the early 90's. The info I found on the site was very helpful. Does anyone have any more definitive info on the maker or the instrument? I would like to sell my guitar but have no idea how much it is worth.

Thanks for the help.

Rex Hall
Albany, LA
USA

TomS
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by TomS » Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:56 pm

this is a quote from a guy on GSI forum


Hi. I've recently come across a guitar by, I am told, Vicente C. Cantos. The guitar is labelled A. Dotras Cordoba - Calle san Pablo 28 - Barcelona and is evidently from 1965. The guitar is in okay state. A few minor scratches but it's still in a, in my opinion, very decent state. I was wondering what a guitar of that sort is worth and if any of you guys could perhaps help me. I've done a bit of web-research and came to the conclusion that the maker of the guitar was the now late Vicente Carrillo Cantos Senior - died 1970.
Well I hope you can help me out. I find it kinda exciteting since it's so old and by a - from what I can tell - rather famous luthier

sebastiaan56

Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by sebastiaan56 » Sun Sep 26, 2010 8:00 am

Hi Les,

The long flat "brace" in the centre of the soundboard is probably crack prevention. This is sometimes done if the centre seam is not perfect. The seam is obvious in your photo but it would be much more obvious in the flesh, errr timber. Normally braces are higher than wide to help transmit the sound across the soundboard.

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pogmoor
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Re: A Dotras Cordoba

Post by pogmoor » Mon Oct 04, 2010 7:44 am

Interesting to see that this thread has continued to get sporadic attention since you first posted it, Les - but not much comment on the way it is braced. Do you want to update us about what has happened to this guitar :?:
Eric from GuitarLoot
Renaissance and Baroque freak; classical guitars by Paul Fischer (1995) and Lester Backshall (2008)
Yamaha SLG 130NW silent classical guitar (2014), Ramirez Guitarra del Tiempo (2017)

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