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maandag 5 mei 2008

Hiroshi Tamura / Hijos de Vicente Tatay (2) / High end Vicente Tatay Tomas / V.T.T. around the years 60


Presented here is a Hiroshi Tamura guitar from 1972.
In fact a P50 model. They carried this model number 
through the seventies but as it has something to do with
its' price one should notice that this was quite an expen-
sive guitar. I didn't bought it for that reason! I liked
the sound. The brothers Tamura worked together
during the sixties, seventies and eighties. They are
no longer alive and had no successors.


A narrow grained solid cedar top that has its' marks
of intensively playing and in fact a kind of rough
treatment. An ebony fingerboard but on the other
hand a rather simple plastic topnut. I've changed
both topnut and bridgebone into an ivory one.
Its' scale is 655 mm. Width at the topnut: 52 mm.
Quite a standard 7 fan bracing with 2 closing 
ribs in the old Antonio de Torres way.


The back that is in good condition but laminated as
are the sides. The appearance is still great as it appears
to be Brasilian rosewood to my opinion though only
a top veneer layer. Inner woodwork is immaculate.


A Rosewood bridge that carries an experiment: The 
G and B string have been mounted with a button that
in fact works the same as a string holder. The advantage
of this way of stringing a guitar is that the strings will
make a better (steeper)  angle over the bridgebone.


A tasteful headform but strangely enough the distance
between the tuners is a bit larger than normal. The tuners
installed now are not original and are of a poor quality. 
But still I have to make a solution for this odd aberration.
I've ordered three in line tuners that can be separated
by sawing them in order to make individual tuners
again and add an extra screw to mount them.


On the more expensive models an ebony line has 
been mounted in the neck. Probably not neces-
sary as the neck is still straight after 45 years.
The sound is quite similar to the wellknown
Kohno concert models of that time. Deep bass
notes with a warm high end that is in a good balance. 
Maybe it lacks a bit character compared to the real 
top but the prices (and sound) of these instruments 
were related to a near top quality guitar.


On this picture you can see how I brought up a solution 
for the strange distance between the string rollers, not
the common 35 mm but 38 mm.


Some marks can be determined here as well in the
soundboard but on a rather  cheap guitar as the "lower"
P50,  the choice for a Brasilian wood bridge is quite odd. 
A new bridgebone has been placed as well. Inner gluework 
is very neat but no inner heel has been provided with this 
instrument and in that way you could compare it with the
Juan Orozco model 8 guitar though the Tamura has more 
qualities regarding sound. Just check the Blog I made 
about the Juan Orozco guitars regarding Japanese guitar 
models and their way of pricing them. A model P 50 from 
1972 could be easily compared with a model P 100 from 1978.

From a Japanese source I found out that the two Tamura 
brothers did have a disciple: Mitsuru Tamura is one of the 
founder of Asturias guitars, he is an interesting character, 
a national athlete on clay shooting and a noted golfer and 
bowler as well as a great player.




Hijos de Vicente Tatay





The repair under the bridge can be seen by
clicking on this picture.


Now matched up to the color of the rest
of the soundboard.


A factory made guitar from Hijos de Vicente Tatay from which
a lot of examples must have been made. The same models were
delivered to the Ramirez company in Madrid. Those guitars can
be recognized having a dark blue label. As one of the former
employees told that apart from the whole bunch of guitars from 
Valencia some bags of rice were delivered as well as there
was shortage of about everything after the civil war and the
second world war. In order to make a decent instrument of it 
I was forced to  redress the frets which were made out of copper
and showed file traces as was common on these student guitars.
The next move is to remove the ugly varnish on the fingerboard.
Now it looks fresh again and feels better though not entirely
original. The insert in the ladder braced soundboard is in fact
exactly in the seam of the two halves. Not even centered.
Another thing to be done was to reshape the roughly
modelled bridge as it came off allready and I wanted to lower
it in order to study the effect of it.


This picture shows us the walnut wood used for back and
sides. The crack in the lower left corner will be repaired
in the near future. No problem fixing that. As for the insert
in the soundboard: It can be brought back into the color of
the surrounding wood with a water based stain.


Shown here is the typical construction found in Valencia
of the neck to body. The lighter wood is the wittnes of it.


The rosette exist of simple concentric circles and some
"higher end"  models show a slightly more decorated one
but the rest of those guitars in fact show the same mediocre
materials. That these guitars sound pretty good has a lot
to do with the resin in the wood that in fact cristallizes over
time and makes the top even more vibrant.
The typical label of the fifties can be studied here.


Presented here is the dark blue label used in the Jose Ramirez
branded student guitars of the fifties from the past century. In
fact Valencia imported instruments as the excerpt from the
Manuel Rodriguez book here beyond attests.






Hijos de Vicente Tatay (Mahogany soundbox)




The recently added Spanish guitar with the frets removed
as the action was too high and the thickness of the fret-
board is bigger towards the head. There a part of the so-
lution can be cured. The bridge is way too heavy so that 
part will be sanded down as well to normal proportions.
A little more elaborate rosette completes the 3 pieced
soundboard. Scale 650 mm. This instrument also is 
equipped with a ladder bracing.


Often these guitars are executed with walnut sides
and back. On this example they used mahogany. 
The fingerboard is made from a dense hardwood but
not really detectable. Spruce topped soundboard
in three pieces as often was the case on the cheaper
Valencian made guitars. No fan strutting, just a
simple transverse bar just below the soundhole.


A little bit clumsy glued,  the label just came loose
but that was the opportunity to have it properly photo-
graphed. Bofill & Roig were only exporters. Of course
we are curious in how this guitar behaves alongside
the walnut example here above.


And the somewhat more elaborated rosette. After a set up
with new strings this example from Hijos de Vicente Tatay
prooved to be sounding way better than the one here
above. That one has been sold recently: You simply
can't keep every guitar you're laying your hands on!

Want to know more around this brand and in general
about the Valencia made guitars, just check this site:
www.guitarrasvalencia.wordpress.com





High End "Vicente Tatay Tomas"






This company churned out tons of student ment guitars
from about 1958 onwards. A more precise dating can be
done by observing the label. It will be explained.


Most student guitars from the first Era were supplied with a 
sort of "Torres"  headstock but simplified and less graceful.
This headform can be found on the intermediate instruments.



Fretwork never seemed to be the first option for Valencian
companies in making a finely playable guitar. Often the 
copper frets were there. It was not on this one but after
placing the frets, flattening out then was their last move, 
so no crowning as that was too time consuming.
A rather small scale! 640 mm.


Surprisingly was that this example was equipped with a 
narrow grained quality top that even could have been used on
a fine concert instrument. The rosette also was a step above the
quite common concentric circles. A bit damaged but stable.


A closer look will learn that the colours of the rosette nicely 
match the darker colour of the soundboard that is solid as
one might expect from a decent Spanish guitar.


The transvere bars were interesting in a way that I've only came across 
this modelled bars in a high end Francisco Esteve / Manuel Adalid
guitar. To my opinion not a coincidence, as the knobs on the tuners
also do resemble the Esteve / Adalid guitar in this Blog.


Difficult to investigate on this picture but I think the bridge
to be made out of Brasilian rosewood as could be the finger-
board and headplate. The covering of the string tieblock is
a later addition.


This guitar already has a whole life behind itself as some
crudely made restaurations attest. I always try my best
but on the other hand things that happen during a guitars
lifetime might be showed as well. I made an insert
in the outer heel of this guitar as it probably got damaged
by falling behind on its' back.
 

Also the centre inlay in the back is a sign of a 
higher end guitar. I was very curious to learn how it 
would sound and that was no disappointment!


In order to clear things up a bit I kind of :"shaded"  the heel 
with a waterbased stain. After that the varnish comes of course.
Inlayed on the sides as well and lined with a rosewood strip.


When the guitar's neck on the label is pointing to the
right the guitars are from before 1973. After that the
head is pointing to the left. 

Want to know more around this brand and in general
about the Valencia made guitars, just check this site:
www.guitarrasvalencia.wordpress.com



Vicente Tatay Tomas (Around 1960)





Presented here is the fully restored Vicente Tatay Tomas.
Regarding sound I figured it would be worth all the trouble.
You are able to enlarge this picture by clicking on it.






The "Vicente Tatay Tomas" label with the addition "Vitato".
The picture here above is all about the different labels used
and the period of time when they were sticked into the guitars.




When refinishing these guitars it gives you the 
possibility to make the guitar free from scratches
especially the head as people tend to place their
instruments against a rather rough wall.


Is this walnut or mahogany? Difficult
to determine for these guitars as walnut
has a very different appearance.


The extra nineteenth fret has been added for
the "demanding pieces". I've modelled the bridge 
as well. Checking the surface on which the bridgebone 
is mounted is a must. After that process the bridge can 
be lacquered again. Bridgebone as well as topnut are 
made out of antique ivory.



A good angle over the bridgebone to assure
enough downwards pressure. The fingerboard has
been shaved a bit towards the head so playing comfort
together with the new frets is better than it ever was.
On this picture the narrow grained soundboard can
be admired. It even has that much wanted "silky pattern
in fact not common on these kind of lower end guitars.
But as we know the student Jose Ramirez were built
in the same factory simply for the sound it provides.


Fretwork is where these companies did a mediocre
job. Copper fretwire and after flattening them they
never were rounded again in those days. That is in
fact a must to obtain maximum playability. These
new nickel / silver frets are more substatial and thus
enhance the tone of a guitar. Also because of the fact
they are glued with a two component glue.



The back of the head that is like new again.


Same thing counts for the front. The metal rollers
can be studied here which places this guitar around 1960.
Sound is typical for the Valencian School. Firm basses, 
warm and full of character but now with a much better 
playability.


The typical use of a lighter piece of wood for the heel can be 
studied here. As this softer wood was easier to work on it 
was the way to speed up production processes.



This was the guitar when it came to me in its'
unrestored condition. Neglected but with no
structural damage. But seeing the fingerboard
with its' traces of fingernails something had
to be done.


The guitar with all the lacquer removed. Mind you,
this must not be done with sanding paper as that
makes the components thinner which is not the way to go.
Simply paint remover. And after the old frets removal
a correction has been made to make the right angle:
neck / body which ensures a better string action.



As the soundboard is a soft wood scratches will
happen of course during a lifetime but when not
too deep removal is easy. The bridge had traces of
sanding and filing. It has been removed as a lot
of bridges tend to be pulled up often because
players had putted a set of steel strings on it.
That is a "no go" area!


As there was a limited amount of time the factories sometimes
stained the bridge shortly before glued on the guitar. That causes
traces of stain on the wood of the soundboard as woodglue 
contains water.


The old situation again. And it is understandable that 
the tuners had to be cleaned. Width topnut: 50 mm. 
Scale: 645 mm.


Here the sleeves for the rollers were uneven in length
but that can be cured of course before the lacquering.


The word "VITATO"  exists out of Vi(cente) Ta(tay)
To(mas) but why they've added that?? Probably because
his brothers had labels with the same name,


And the label. A lot of Valencian labels can be found
on my friends site: Simply search for "Telesforo Julve"
or his site can be found nowadays under: 
www.guitarrasvalencia.wordpress.com



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