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dinsdag 10 juni 2008

Juan Roman Padilla ( 1928 -

Presented here is a guitar built by the Granada based
guitarreros Juan Roman Padilla. He is thought to have
consulted Eduardo Ferrer and Manuel de la Chica but
in fact was a self taught cabinet maker. He modelled
his guitars after the plantilla of Marcelo Barbero.
This instrument dates from 1970, a few years after
some Japanese businessmen (Kurosawa)  invited him to
come to Japan to give instructions to the workforce of
this big guitar company. Juan Roman Padilla refused:
He sent his brother instead (1966).

As can be seen on this picture the condition of this instrument is 
rather poor: The lacquering suffers from humidity problems and
this guitar has some repaired cracks in sides and back. 
The bridge needs to be replaced as it shows some cracks as well.
Inside one bracing of the back needs to be reglued.
However the vital elements are good!

The inner construction shows a lot of attention to detail.
It is therefore remarkable that the spacing for the tuners
is not symmetrical as can be seen by comparing the lower 
ends. And also the headcarving itself hasn't been done
 symmetrically as well. These imperfections will be
corrected as I'm planning to keep this instrument anyway.

Juan Roman Padilla still lives in Granada as far as I know
and though being quite a bit older he still constructs guitars
merely as  pastime. Remarkable is the very traditional
7 fan bracing of the soundboard and the Torres way of 
bracing as a whole. This guitar is remarkably lightly
built: The basses are very strong and rich in colour and
the higher notes do speak easily as well though this guitar
really tends to have the older, more woody sound of
the luthiers from around 1900. This guitar is very
quicly responding, allmost as a flamenco model and as
a kind of "percussive" high end though not for every style 
of music. It will be brought back in a like new condition!
The same labels can be seen on later instruments made 
by Padilla and some of them are stamped partly on the 
label  and partly on the back.

All the laquer has been removed. I did this with 
good quality lacquer remover in order not to have
to sand parts and make them thinner especially the
soundboard. The remover can be only solved
in water with soap substantials or thinner.
Later I used an appliance against wood aging
that removed the uneven colour effects after
the removal of the lacquer.

It is a lot of work but the starting point for the final lacquering 
must be perfect in order to have a satisfactory final result.
According to spanish tradition no fillers will be used at first
in order to fill the pores of the wood.

Though unlacquered I still dig these kind of pictures as
it shows us the pure wood before any treatments.

I decided to maintain the original bridge after treatment of
the two cracks. I made a kerf just alongside the cracks and
continiously inspected where they stopped and then glued
in two pieces of matching wood as far as was possible.
The plastic lining of the tie block where the strings are attached
I replaced with pieces of ivory as the original parts were
damaged and had a cheapy look.

picture taken from the same spot. Soundboard and bridge 
have been relaquered allready. As with wood: It still
depends under wich angle you look at it to determine
the inserts. Sometimes they are clearly visible, sometimes
not. I'm glad I have kept the original bridge.

The front of the completely relaquered Juan Roman Padilla 
guitar. A new (ivory) nut and bridge saddle while the bottom 
on which the bridge saddle rests has been securely flattened out. 

The back that looks great again and while 
relaquering you are able to make some
minimal corrections regarding flatness.
A repaired and stabilized crack is hardly
visible but only when the laquer lost all
his solvents conclusions can be drawn.

As has been said allready I did some corrections regarding 
the symmetrical view of this headshape. The lacquering
is the logical follow up. New tuners have been added
as only one side of the original tuners still was present.
Of course I will take a close look around when I'm
in Granada these holidays. The topnut is rather wide but
that has everything to do with the way the gap was
made originally. It has a better fit now. 

The rosette looks much fresher than before the
lacquer job. I like the typical use of the color
green the way the old guitarreros used to do.
Of course the fingerboard has been flattened
out while the frets are levelled and dressed. 
Juan Roman Padilla is known to have delivered
instruments to the Casa Ferrer shop that wasn't
mentioned that way when Antonio Duran was in 
charge. See for an original Duran guitar in this
Blog: A modest but skillful person.

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