Firstly on the subject of Lute makers I have this to say:Michael.N. wrote: Lute makers virtually to a man try to replicate historical instruments as they were first conceived. The same can be said for makers of Harps. I think we all know what type of instruments violinists are using, a design that was developed in 17th century Cremona, altered slightly in the mid 19 th century and has remained the same ever since. There have been plenty of people throughout the intervening years that claimed to have designed and made a 'better instrument' though. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference. You like such guitars, I like some of them and dislike others whereas some people hate them with a passion.
And do you seriously believe that people like me are stilting the development of the guitar? Thanks, I didn't know I had that much power.
The makers of today no doubt make them according to the original plans because when Peter Biffin disobeyed orders from above and made lutes with lattice bracing his lutes were embraced as absolutely fabulous. Until someone in Europe fell over and broke one in half, only to find , shock horror, that it WASN'T ORIGINAL. O My God how terribly shocking!!!! But I tell you that what was more shocking was that the guy ceased making these brilliant lutes that everyone with an ear was enjoying so much and had a nervous breakdown. That was a travesty in modern instrument making. But that's why modern lute makers are so sh%t scared of pushing the boundaries.
Don't talk about harps or violins Michael. These are evolved instruments largely because they have been developed over centuries but in the case of the violin the makers that pushed those boundaries did it in the sixteenth century. I suppose that because it was so long ago you must consider that what they did must be legitimate. And then in the nineteenth century the clowns that brought us romantic music had to have everything louder so they abandoned lutes and guitars and harpsichords and recorders and trombo marinas and crumhorns and many other worthy instruments. They f%$cked with the violin , increasing the tension on the strings by changing the neck angle and increasing the string length, which involved removing and replacing the bass bar, and for that reason there are few baroque violins that haven't been messed with.[I have a very interesting violin book by Ed Herron Allen called "Violin Making as it was and is" which describes in gory detail how to ruin a Baroque violin]
But where's the guitar in all this? Consigned to the back blocks and not taken seriously as a concert instrument. Why? Because it didn't sound any good in those days.
And that's why Torres was such a hit. He brought the guitar into the the 20th century by his innovations. He evolved the instrument from a piddly little parlour twiddle to something that could make a more adequate sound. But that was only the very beginning. The guitar was only recently taken up by Segovia and then Bream as something to fascinate the masses. In so doing it has been the beginning of the evolution of the instrument.
For luthiers of this decade to be involved with innovation is an honour and a pleasure and for those who prefer to remain in the dark ages I feel really sorry for them. They have not understood what the modern classical guitar stands for.
It is a new instrument with elements of antiquity but it has not yet reached it's full potential which the violin did so many years ago. It requires to be developed further for the sake of humanity.
This is what makes modern luthiery exciting.