6-string guitar after Panormo, c. 1812

6-string guitar by BC luthier Clive Titmuss, 2011, after Louis Panormo, London, c. 1812
$6,500 CAD
$4,840 USD


(Click for larger image)

Please see a short descriptive video and playing demonstration: https://youtu.be/Wfd5kro4ntE

630 mm string length; Maple neck stained black; figured European Maple back and sides; turned blackwood buttons; apple-wood peg head and ebony pegs; Gaboon ebony binding, French-polished finish. Made from the best available material.

This instrument is a close copy of a guitar whose maker was declared by Fernando Sor to be his favourite. The quality of his body of work would justify owning one, but there are many more wonderful pieces from that period, the beginning of the guitar’s modern dominance in music and certainly some of the best pieces its long history. Every student learns the etudes, but there are dances, fantasies and improvisations, sonatas, concertos and chamber music with strings or winds.

Created after borrowing and playing the original for a number of months, I made an accurate drawing and from that, a number of copies. Included are some interior details not original, especially the barring and timber dimensions from a contemporary guitar by Grobert, made for Paganini, later owned by Berlioz. The two instruments shared some features, with the French guitar more elaborate in its interior construction.

For this guitar there are accurate details including fossil ivory frets and ebony pegs, an ebony fingerboard, bindings and head veneer. The neck is (Okanagan!) pear wood, the head is apple-wood with ebony face veneer, both stained black and French-polished. The guitar has a pin bridge and period-style strings. The principal timber is German figured maple for the sides and back. The rosette is made from holly, ebony and pearwood purfling.

It is perfect for playing the composers of the period: Carcassi, Carulli, Giuliani, Sor, Legnani, Molino and others.

This instrument is similar in the hands for a classical guitar player–the string tension is not so different, but there are differences in the sound and articulation.

The speech is shorter, more emphatic in the upper partials and the bass is amazingly penetrating and clear for a small instrument. The early 19th century makers were rigorous in their use of minimal material to do the work required and preferred thinly-worked maple over rosewood, which dominated in the Iberian guitar making tradition. The timbre of the upper strings is sweet; the bass balances this with a thinner more astringent sound than that of the boomy Torres-style pattern favoured by today’s modern classical guitar players. This guitar suits a mic well, being less noisy. It’s ease-of-play and sweet presence make it excellent for self-accompaniment.

The classical period guitar is a design that evolved from two schools of guitar making: the Spanish school of Cadiz and Madrid makers who mainly made six-course guitars, and the northern guitar makers of France and England. Panormo’s guitar is interesting because it indicates that the centre of guitar making shifted north when the Napoleonic wars made life difficult for the middle class in Spain. This is one reason that Aguado and Sor moved to Paris. Sor later lived in London, where Panormo was active.

Panormo used the profile and size of the six-course guitars and converted it for use in a six-single string configuration. HIs design is not a large as most Spanish instruments of the period, but this works well with slightly reduced string energy. Where the six course guitars were more raucous and noisy, good for outdoors or ensemble music, the Panormo is designed for solo performance.

These guitars are not copies, things such as spacing action and fingerboard width at the head nut follow contemporary ergonomics. Once you have adjusted, the player will find that these instruments are astonishing in their ease of play, their responsive character, bass and treble balance, and their capacity to produce a sustained and singing line.

If you like to play Sor and his contemporaries, the players and composers, you will enjoy playing a period instrument, they work so easily, so you do not have to.

For more about period instruments including keyboards, my recordings, free guitar, vihuela and lute tablatures, visit me on the web, www.earlymusicstudio.com

The guitar comes with a heavy-duty fitted and upholstered custom case with brass hardware.

You will find more videos about early music, instrument making and related ideas on our YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCo9xxfdmwQieHnL87Fn6xbQ

Comes with a heavy-duty reinforced case with locking brass hardware.

All instruments built by Clive Titmuss come with custom-fitted cases.
Prices do not include shipping and insurance.


If you have any questions about the instruments, please contact me.

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