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woensdag 2 juli 2008

Salvador Ibanez (1854-1920)

Salvador Ibáñez (1854-1920) was a Spanish
luthier. He made guitars, ukuleles, mandolins
and other stringed instruments. These
instruments were considered the finest of
their age and are prized for their excellent
quality and impeccable workmanship.

At eleven years of age Ibáñez became an
apprentice in guitar construction at Calle Muela
Valencia. In 1870 he started his own company:
Salvador Ibáñez y Albiñara.
The company was registered at Calle Cubells.
Working in his shop were the ten-year-old
José Ibáñez and Magdalena Albiñara y
Magraner, from Ollería, Valencia.

In 1896 he first appeared in the trade guides at
Calle Ruzafa Valencia and from 1898 to 1906
his shop was located at Calle Bajada de San
Francisco. Salvador Ibáñez made bandurrias,
lutes, six and nine-string guitars and also
guitars with detachable necks. In 1897 he
made the world's first double-necked guitar.

In the period 1915-20 Salvador Ibáñez e Hijos
(Salvador Ibáñez and Sons) were located at
Calle Bajada de San Francisco and at Calle
Padre Rico Valencia. When he died in 1920
his workshop continued to be managed by
his two sons until it was completely destroyed
during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)
in a bloody street fight, which cost the lives
of many of the personnel.

This was THE story up until now, however one of
my friends visited Madrid in order to meet some
colletors there and it became clear that at least one
of the sons of Salvador Ibanez didn't die in the civil 
war and that the factory and its' machines were sold 
to Telesforo Julve. A picture of a graveyard stone
from one of the sons from S. Ibanez attests:

DIED 21 abril 1967

 After the Salvador Ibáñez workshop had
been destroyed and with the Salvador Ibáñez
guitars not being available (and very much
sought after due to their excellent quality),
the Japanese distributor Hoshino Gakki
decided to start making Ibáñez guitars of
their own after years of importing Salvador
Ibáñez guitars to Japan. They purchased
the trademark and started production, first
naming the guitars "Ibanez Salvador" and
later Ibanez which obtained great success
in the 1970s and 1980s.

Hoshino Gakki currently produces both
acoustic and electric guitars using the Ibanez
brandname and is oriented at all kinds of
devices for electric guitars and basses.

Julian Bream has played a Salvador Ibáñez
guitar. Eric Clapton has owned several original
Salvador Ibáñez guitars, one of which was sold
at a benefit auction in 1999 at Christies,
obtaining a final price of $42,000 USD.
The guitar was estimated between 3000 and
5000 USD what can be considered a fair
price on an auction. Regarding history it is
curious to discover that the first quality guitar
played by Francisco Tarrega was a Salvador
Ibanez before he switched to the Torres
guitar. A picture of Tarrega with a Salvador
Ibanez guitar seems to be around somewhere...

As opposed to the front, the back looks
much better and indeed hardly any cracks
and that counts for the sides as well.

A nice shot of the brasilian rosewood back though
on some pics it may look a bit otherwise due to
necessary moves in a Photo program.

Dirty and still not taken care for on this picture
but clearly visible is the Bajada de San Francisco
label and not Salvador Ibanez e Hijos from the
later period.

The label here above has been used appr. from 1900 until
1905 according to Ton Bogaard who started the Telesforo
Julve site but he extended his search with other Valencia
based builders such as Ibanez, Andres Marin, Parres etc.

The head that is in good condition as well as the
fingerboard, frets and neck: The last one being
absolutely straight. Believe it or not:
To my opinion the original brass frets!

Allready cleaned for this picture the nice
and gracefully placed outer binding and of
course its rosette that is in good shape.
The biggest problem is restoring the outer
binding around the lower bout in a proper way.
The way the fingerboard looks is due
to lighten the darker parts in this picture.

A terrible sight for most guitar lovers but
even these damages can be cured. Some inner
soundboard struts are missing but the
discolouration of the wood where
they should have been makes it easier
to mark the places for copied ones.
Remarkable on this guitar is the three
piece soundboard as the 2 biggest "cracks"
in fact are no cracks at all but loosened
seams between the three parts. Luckily all
parts from the soundboard are still present.
The first thing to do is to remove the
back in a proper way which makes it easier
to repair the soundboard, strutting and little
glue blocks. A new endblock has to be made
and of course the outer lining that will
take most of the time. To be continued....

This picture is showing the repaired soundboard
as well as the glued sides for the purfling inlay.
One insert was necessary as clamping would
have asked too much pressure to bring the parts
 together. The sounboard is perfectly flat now.

The strutting of the soundboard in the lower bout
had to be copied from the old ones. The two outer fan
braces are newly made as well. The endblock was
missing but the discolouration of the inner soundboard
made it easy to copy it according to the original one.
 Next step is to place the back with two new transverse
bars. The back is in excellent shape and will be allmost
original when placed back on this instrument.

At this stage the Ibanez has been inlayed but it hasn't
been coloured yet up to matching the existing inlay.

The same with the back that received an entire
edge inlay though more simple according to the original.

The wood insert and the contour inlay has been matched with 
the colour of the soundboard and existing inlays. I'm planning to 
make a slightly action correction and probably mount a piece
of  ivory on top of the bridge for better tonecolour and
sustain though it is not originally intended by Ibanez.
These bridges are making it possible to place a piece of 
ivory or bone just behind the rim the strings are resting
on. Allways removable and this move would even
improve intonation!

Salvador Ibanez e Hijos (appr. 1910)

This is another, somewhat later Salvador Ibanez guitar.
It is an easy conclusion as the label states: Salvador
Ibanez e Hijos, a label that Ibanez started to use from
appr. 1910. A neatly built instrument but still a lot of
work to bring it back to life again. It is a concert model
with the dimensions that go with that: a 650 mm scale.

A nice Brasilian rosewood back with some repaired cracks. 
Cedar has been used for the neck that is still straight. The 
action on this guitar wil be cured by shaving off the fingerboard 
towards the head. It has two advantages: a better playing action 
and the damages in the fretboard can be removed. And these
damages are allways present around the first two frets.

Curious on this bridge are the two inlays, later a trademark 
for Telesforo Julve. In fact not strange as Telesforo Julve 
took over the Salvador e Hijos workshop. Salvador Ibanez 
(the father) died in 1920. The took-over took place some-
what later. One small crack can be seen just at the right.

As the crack on one side of the bridge still closes a 
careful glueing process will do the job. Afterwards
two or three cleats will hold this crack and another
advantage is that the upper surface becomes per-
fectly straight again. As the bridge appears to be 
quite heavy, I'm planning to sand it down in order
to give the top more possibilities to vibrate.

A bit of a Torres shaped head with square ending slots.
Width at the topnut is 51 mm. The nut is a bit crudely 
made and will be substituted with an ivory one.

The knobs on the tuner appear to be from 
bone and they are locked on the axes.

A nice shot of the heel which is typical Valencian in
shape. The lower part of the heel however is made
out of hardwood as well though the cheaper solution 
in Valencia was to install spruce or another softwood
to speed up the building process.

Presented here is the label ftom this guitar.

For an even better impression the same label found
on internet. 

In fact simple tuners but they do their job well.

A rather small rosette in width made with concentric
circles and inlayed with mother of pearl pieces. Salvador
Ibanez more than often worked with remarkable big ro-
settes but in fact a big rosette influences the sound in a 
negative way as it stiffens that part of the soundboard.

Sides that are still in a pristine condition. The yellowish
color is a result of the varnish that has been used and
over time gives this color on Brasilian rosewood. A
new lacquering process would give this guitar a
much darker and deeper coloured appearance as
can be seen by studying the back after a refinishing
process: The result is a much darker colour.

The first cleaning process allready took place but some 
discolourations around the bridge still have to be removed.
After that and the reparation of the crack near the bridge
the entire soundboard will be treated with a special liquid
to remove the dicolourations that still can be determind
at the moment. It is still absolutely straight probably
due to the bowed construction.

The relacquered back that shows the old beauty again
of the Brasilian rosewood. The original lacquer colours
the wood in a yellowish way but had to be removed as
some restorations were not properly executed. Always
trying to not thinning the wooden parts!

A nice shot of the newly finished back

And the difference in colour compared to 
the sides that have their original lacquer.

On this picture the fretboard has been shaved allready.
Afterwards new frets were installed and the cleaning
process of the soundboard is in a "second"  stage

As the sleeves for the tuners were a bit crudely done that
could be fixed as well. Relacquering of the head after-
wards in fact was a must but again: The beauty of the
wood is there again to its' full potentials.

Second cleaning job before the first playing trial on 
this guitar. After restringing a guitar that was not
under tension for a long time means that you have
to wait a few days to be able to judge the sound of
an instrument. Adjustments can be made once some
elements are not accordingly your wishes. Especially
the bass tones can be boosted by thinning the sound-
board a bit along the edges.

So nice to see the wood again in its' beauty.

This picture has been taken to be able to study the colour
differences after the relacquer job on the back.

The crack that has been glued and provided with three cleats
inside. The split in the two halves is covered by one of the
7 fan braces. That will do the job.

A new ivory nut and the fingerboard has been shaved 
towards the head and the new frets.

Not all imperfections of the soundboard have
disappeared but for a 100 year old one it is
in a very nice condition again.

The square filed slots for the tuners can be studied
here. The neck had been left the way it was.

As the wood on the head has a beauty of its' own
only a sanding and refinishing job will do.

The inner heel has been inscribed with Salvador Ibanez
 e Hijos -Valencia. Only visible from the inside of course.

The cleaned tuners that in fact are quite simple but
they still do their job in a sufficient way!

A rather small rosette but a tasteful one to my
opinion as opposed to the earlier quite ornamented
ones. A smaller rosette is better for sound results!

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