Can't afford an original Torres?

Construction and repair of Classical Guitar and related instruments
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Keith
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by Keith » Fri Nov 02, 2018 12:14 pm

Interesting discussion of using a factory flamenco for a classical. I recall several years ago in a discussion at the GSI forum where the phrase, "blonde classical" was introduced (as I recall by GSI themselves about the first generation of Carmen guitars). It seems many factory flamenco do not do so well with flamenco but do make good classicals; at least per experiences and posts. Maybe it comes down to a factory flamenco, typically overbuilt, is still light enough and underbuilt enough to make it a good classical.
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Jeff Hopkins
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by Jeff Hopkins » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:15 pm

Wonderful insight on getting a flamenco guitar to sound similar to late 19th century classical. Rob, I always enjoy watching your videos on period instruments. :)

RobMacKillop
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:05 am

Cheers, Jeff. Appreciated!

WillMbCdn5
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by WillMbCdn5 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:06 am

As usual lovely playing and insights Rob. Anyone have a current source for gut and silk strings I keep running into " not available" I have Aquila Nylgut sets but would love to try the real thing.

Will

RobMacKillop
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 04, 2018 7:56 am

They are still available from the Aquila Corde dot com website. Look under Early Music, then Historical Guitars. There are two Gut and Silk sets, the 800 for Sor-period, and the 900 for Tárrega-period. Cheers.

gjo
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by gjo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:32 am

Although the idea sounds quite attractive to convert a cypres flamenco into some sort of a Torres, I doubt that it is that easy. It might be that a higher bridge saddle and other strings can give the impression of a „different“ sound, but they do not change the basic construction of a modern flamenco.

I do not know which guitar Carles Trepat now plays next to his Torres, but some years ago he had a Santos flamenco (that was stolen), which sounded very „flamenco“ in my ears and not very much like a Torres.

Anyway, the experiment is quite interesting but should not be mistaken as giving a „poor man‘s Torres“ to everybody.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:53 am

As mentioned above, he plays a 1970s Conde. Have you ever played an original Torres, gjo?

kervoas
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by kervoas » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:13 am

How light is "light" ? I've an Aram "Torres" model weighing in at 1.7kg, from the balance of it I reckon the body is relatively light and the neck/headstock (and those Rogers tuners) relatively heavy. Anyone know if the sound of this model should be anywhere close to the original romantics ?
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RobMacKillop
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:23 am

A 1936 Hauser I sold by Kent Guitar Classics in 2016 weighed 1385gm.

Friederich's guitars are typically about 1700 or 1800 gm.

Flamencas vary a lot. Blancas are about 1200gm though some are similar to classicals.

I haven't got scales to weigh my Camps, but it's very light, around 1200 to 1400g I'd imagine.

gjo
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by gjo » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:33 am

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:53 am
As mentioned above, he plays a 1970s Conde. Have you ever played an original Torres, gjo?
I guess that in the past 30 or so years I had something around 25 - 30 original instruments in my hands and at least played a few notes on most of them.

RobMacKillop
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by RobMacKillop » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:50 am

Good! And how many were strung with gut and silk strings? They make a huge difference to your perception of what the Torres sound is. Now, I'm not saying what I've done here is definitely the Torres sound, or in your words a poor-man's Torres (I never claimed that), but it does bring me closer to that sound world than any of the Torres-inspired guitars I've played or have heard. It's the combination of the lightness and the strings. Unfortunately, there are many modern flamenco guitars that are relatively heavy, especially the cheaper ones, but it's worth shopping around to find a very light and resonant example. And I've played quite a few luthier "Torres" models which look great, but are too heavy, the back, sides and top being too thick, as if the maker was scared to go as thin as Torres did - they don't want the owner bringing it back six months later with split sides. My experiment is not perfect, but I think it brings me pretty close.

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Michael.N.
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by Michael.N. » Sun Nov 04, 2018 1:39 pm

Generally speaking a lightly built flamenco should get one closer to a Torres. However specifying weights can be very deceptive largely because there is a big difference in the weight of woods such as cypress, maple and rosewood. Even a guitar with a fairly thick top will seem light if it's made of cypress or maple. Best to quote weights for guitars made of the same or similar materials.
The thickest measurement that I've come across on the soundboard of a Torres is 2.4 mm and that is a bit of an outlier. We know he and the Spanish makers went thin, sometimes frighteningly so.
As for the sides. It can be somewhat difficult for modern makers to go to the number than Vesa quoted (certainly not all are that thin). Not only does it make the sides extremely delicate but it leaves nothing to lessen the cross width undulations/corrugations. The modern aesthetic is for ruler flat sides with those undulations seen as poor craftsmanship. Put a high gloss finish on them and they become even more magnified. It can be a bit jarring for those accustomed to seeing guitars built in a more 'processed' manner. I suspect that Torres employed such thin sides because it allowed him to adjust and correct the outline as he was assembling the instrument. Thin sides and the use of continuous kerfed linings gives a bit of leeway. Much harder with sides that are 2 mm's or thicker.
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Mr.Rain
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by Mr.Rain » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:12 pm

RobMacKillop wrote:
Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:50 am
Good! And how many were strung with gut and silk strings? They make a huge difference to your perception of what the Torres sound is. Now, I'm not saying what I've done here is definitely the Torres sound, or in your words a poor-man's Torres (I never claimed that), but it does bring me closer to that sound world than any of the Torres-inspired guitars I've played or have heard. It's the combination of the lightness and the strings. Unfortunately, there are many modern flamenco guitars that are relatively heavy, especially the cheaper ones, but it's worth shopping around to find a very light and resonant example. And I've played quite a few luthier "Torres" models which look great, but are too heavy, the back, sides and top being too thick, as if the maker was scared to go as thin as Torres did - they don't want the owner bringing it back six months later with split sides. My experiment is not perfect, but I think it brings me pretty close.
The point is that pre 1910s guitars are different,not only Torres.All the antiques I hand in my hands were extremely light,while the replicas with similar dimensions are heavier(pre 1910s tend to have super thin sides,sometimes 1mm...).
Till that time the difference between classical and flamenco where none,by 1910 you can find Andres Marin /Salvador Ibañez having "guitarras sevillanas" in their catalogs,but no flamencas(which still nowadays is argued if it is flamenco or just andalusian folk music :D)

Needles to say,many replicas have a sound similar to the originals in the period,but most sound closer to a sturdy modern guitar(with an smaller template),all the replicas I have seen were heavier...

One of the builders i know(who has made 2 replicas for me in the past),said he would never do thinner sides(he would do a thinner back,even on guitars who had just 2 backbars ).He wouldn't risk it, specially with the sides...

Guitars made for gut,expect the trebles from the strings(gut),so they tend to have rounder trebles(with regular nylons)

Regarding the flamencas,all the antiques I have have the same neck angle(also my torres copy).

IHMO a very light flamenca can give the vibe of an antique guitar,but may be too bright/dry with gut(depends on the guitar,changing the action to 4/3 will make it rounder).

It works for Trepat,I have played an old Conde flamenca,I was blown away about how warm it sounded for a flamenca(again a superbly light instrument,the owner said he would never sell it :mrgreen: )

printer2
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by printer2 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:04 pm

Not that any of my guitars would sound like a Torres, but for light weight going all spruce (back, sides, top, neck) makes for a unique guitar and the sides do not have to be razor thin. I do have Spanish cedar for the neck, one day I will pick some up for the sides and back.
Fred

vesa
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Re: Can't afford an original Torres?

Post by vesa » Mon Nov 05, 2018 6:42 am

Of the few I have build 3 last ones has been with thin sides (1.1 and after final sanding maybe 1.0). I have no scientific evidence and my experience as a builder is limited (not as a guitarist), but I think that the flexibility thin sides bring to ¨Torres concept¨ give an instrument that is exeptionally good in bending a phrase, making a musical line to sing.
The tap tone of the thin side is very special. When you hit the board lightly with your knuckles it starts to vibrate a bit ¨hysterically¨ and gives a sound that is very much alike thin saw blade (a musical saw). It begins with that behavior (¨normal¨ taptone disappearing and saw blade coming out) when I'm down in about 1.3 mm not before.
Vesa Kuokkanen

Antonio Marin nr. 813 1995 (Bouchet)
Vesa Kuokkanen 2016

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