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woensdag 2 juli 2008

LaCote Style Guitar / David Caro Leonardo / Antonio Lorca Model 23 (Guitarras Mervi)

Recently we acquired this instrument that bears no label
but is unmistakably a French oriented instrument from
around the period 1840 / 1850. Many features are the
same as on the Rene Lacote guitars but the differences
also are there. Anyway a very securely built and good 
sounding instrument in a remarkable condition.

The back the show us the Brasilian rosewood book-
matched halves. The neck has been veneered with
ebony while the heel end is provided with a piece
of ivory as are the bindings and rosette.

The lower ends of the two slots are also comparable
to a genuine LaCote. Probably ivory rollers as well.

The set in of the head to the neck betrays a
lot of craftsmanship as well.

The ivory knobs can be studied here but also the hand
engraved copper tuner plates. Remarkable thing is that
these tuners can also be found on some Torres guitars.

Another heel form compared to the LaCote guitars.

A fine grained table with one repaired crack. The two small
cracks alongside the fingerboard will be repaired in the near future.

The meticulous binding inlay that is of a really high quality.
The soundboard is carried by a kind of ladder bracing but
not parallel placed as also is the case in the LaCote guitars.

Probably the original bridge that has been glued onto the 
soundboard but also pinned. I've seen it more the way
they did it and studying the inner looks it is thought
to be original.

The sides that are quite attractive and they are showing
no cracks at all. Both back and sides are not "veneered"
with a spruce layer on the inside as a lot of French 
builders did in the 19th century.

The inevitable player wear, also partly due to the low 
bridges of that time. The fingerboard could be a later 
addition as the frets are not the original ones but modern. 
It might have been an "inline" neck with the higher 
frets placed into the wood of the soundboard.

A nice shot of the neck and head. Still straight!

David Caro Leonardo

This specific builder lived and worked in the town
Paracho, Mexico, famous for its' guitar builders of
which David Caro Leonardo is one of the better
known ones. The soundboard (cedar) of this guitar
is equipped with a fan strutting with 5 braces.
Scale length is a surprisingly 645 mm.

In fact a guitar in good condition disregarding the two cracks
in the back that are in need of a good repair. This instrument is
worth these efforts as the famous guitar player David Jerome
plays the compositions of Dilermando Reis on one of Caro
Leonardo's guitars.

The headform is a bit reminiscent of the Manuel 
Contreras guitars but possibly a coincidence.

Rather simple tuning machines bit they work well.
Two shafts however had some fractures and for that
reason we've changed them for new proper tuners.

Provided with a nice rosette and surprisingly a
rosewood fingerboard. We have to assume mr.
Leonardo used the same South Americain hard
woods for the body and the fingerboard. This 
is the case on more Paracho built instruments.

The David Caro Leonardo label and we stil have to
investigate the inner bracing pattern as this guitar 
could be suitable for steel strings while most Spanish 
built guitars do not withstand that kind of tension.
While searching for this brand we've concluded that
 it is better to search with Daniel Caro Leonardo, 
most likely "the son of'.

Antonio Lorca Model 23 guitar

Though this brand has very little to do with the famous Malaga 
based luthier who was active in the 19th century, I've included
it for other reasons: Mr. Joaquin Garcia Fernandez (born 1929)
was the advisor of Guitarras Mervi (Valencia) the firm that
produced this guitar. Ment for the semi professional player it
has an attractive tone and is easy to play due to the 65 cm scale.
Garcia can be found as well in the Romanillos dictionary

All woods are solid: Cedar topped with a rosewood bridge.
Of course a Spanish heel inside and good overall workmanship.
Sides and back are of indian rosewood while the fingerboard
is made of ebony as well as the reinforcement of the neck.

Probably difficult to read but this guitar is a model 23
though we think Antonio Lorca is a fake name and
probably used for commercial reasons, the more
expensive models carry a hand signed label.

Joaquin Garcia Fernandez (19290 was  born in Santa Cruz
(Argentina) and active as a cabinetmaker in Asturias. He
returned to Buenos Aires when he was twenty years old.
In 1975 he returned to Spain and settled in Valencia where
he also was advisor to the firm Raimundo y Aparichio.
Eventually he established his workshop in Torremolinos
in 1982. He learnt his craft from the old Spanish guitarreros.

For people who a searchin for prices of these guitars I've 
included one picture out of the "Renner"  pricelist. The 
prices here beyond are also derived from that site. The
site gives a good description of the woods used in each
model. I do not know from which year these prices are
alass but it is a good guideline to my opninion.

Model 8      :   USD  275
Model 8 ST :   USD  289
Model 8 DS :   USD  310

Model 10 :   USD  375
Model 14 :   USD  462

Model 16 :   USD  450
Model 18 :   USD  599
Model 20 :   USD  799

Model 22 :   USD 1399
Model 23 :   USD 1599
Model 24 :   USD 2299

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