Books about the Classical Guitar's History: An Annotated Bibliography

A Collection of Fine Spanish Guitars from Torres to the Present, 2nd edition by Sheldon Urlik     (Purchase Here)

New 2nd Edition Features:        

• Three beautifully recorded audio CDs for listening to the collection.
• All new highest quality digital photography and color accuracy.
• Over 224 pages, 50 more pages than the 1st edition.
• Soundboard thicknesses data tables.
• Bridge dimensions tables.
• Woods and materials data tables.

This magnificent hard cover book is a comparative study of 80-plus Classical and Flamenco guitars in, likely, the finest collection of Spanish guitars existent. A fine collection should include world-class examples and, fittingly, The Collection’s crown jewel, among others, is the 1888 Torres guitar once owned, composed on and played by Francisco Tárrega, probably the most collectible of all guitars.

The Collection spans from the mid-nineteenth century, when the seminal guitar maker Antonio de Torres began the modern era of Spanish guitar making, to the present. All of the great masters are represented in this wonderful book: Antonio Torres, Francisco Gonzalez, Vicente Arias, the Ramirez family, Santos Hernandez, Domingo Esteso, Antonio Viudes, Modesto Borreguero, The Hauser Family, Enrique Garcia, Francisco Simplicio, Ignacio Fleta, the Miguel Rodriguez family, Marcelo Barbero, Robert Bouchet, Marcelino Lopez, Hernandez & Aguado, Arcangel Fernandez, Daniel Friederich, Jose Romanillos, Paulino Bernabe, Manuel Reyes, David Rubio, Jeffrey R. Elliott, and many more.

Each guitar has a chapter containing a detailed physical description, comments, insights, anecdotes, notes on its maker and an array of photographs. For the first time readers will be able to enjoy, compare, and critically listen to the collection’s guitars, individually, on three accurately produced audio CDs recorded by virtuoso guitarists Kenton Youngstrom and Richard Bruné.

The Collection was assembled over 25-plus years as the author studied the classical guitar and grew ever more interested in the instruments themselves and their builders’ place in the evolution of guitar making. Together these splendid guitars magnify the importance of the work that created them, and reveal the differences in woods, shapes, sizes, embellishments, finishes, and construction methods that make each instrument distinctive.

Important New Acquisitions Included in the 2nd Edition:

1. The incomparable 1888 Antonio de Torres rosewood Ex Tárrega.
2. 1880 Soto y Solares. He was a major influence on the young Torres.
3. 1893 Hijos Francisco González. The 2nd generation of the important Francisco González workshop.
4. 1910 Torres fake of the highest quality, attributed to Manuel Ramírez.
5. 1926 José Ramírez II flamenco.
6. 1931 Luis Carzoglio. An extremely decorated guitar with over 70,000 decorative pieces.
7. 1953 Robert Bouchet which shows his early internal soundboard bracing.
8. 1963 Ignacio Fleta Sr. flamenco guitar; one of only four ever made.
9. 1967 Marcelo Barbero Jr. A rare classical guitar from this famed maker of flamencos.
10. 1969 David Rubio.
11. 1969 Vincente Camacho.
12. 1972 Jesús Belezar. The less famous son-in-law of Manuel Hernández of Hernández y Aguado.
13. 1991 Hauser III.
14. 2001 Dominique Field. He continues the Julian Ramírez - Bouchet – Friederich line of French luthiers.
15. 2001 Jeffrey Elliott. A highly regarded contemporary American luthier.
16. 2009 Federico Sheppard. A recreation of Agustin Barrios’ stunning 1930 Sanfeliu guitar.

La Chitarra di Liuteria, Masterpieces of Guitar Making by Stefano Grondona and Luca Waldner

Classical guitarist Stefano Grondona and master luthier Luca Waldner have brought together here a magnificent photographic retrospective and textual analysis of the history of the classical guitar from the late eighteenth to the mid twentieth century. This book covers more than fifty of the most representative instruments by the greatest makers of this period (from Antonio de Torres to David Rubio). Many of these guitars belonged to the most important virtuosi of the time (from Tarrega and Llobet to Segovia). In many cases Grondona and Waldner include biographical information and photos of these performers. The accompanying CD of twenty-eight tracks by maestro Grondona features guitars by Torres (FE 08 built in 1858 which won the 1858 Seville exposition, 1859 ex collection Miguel Llobet, 1862 back & sides of paper mache, 1885, 1887), as well as guitars by Garcia (1906), Simplicio (1929), Santos Hernandez (1918), Domingo Esteso (1926), Hermann Hauser I (1947), and Robert Bouchet (1969). The book itself includes many more guitars than are featured on this beautifully recorded single CD.

La Chitarra, Quattro secoli di Capolavori (The Guitar: Four centuries of Masterpieces) by Giovanni Accornero, Ivan Epicoco and Eraldo Guerci

This exhibition catalogue presents an extraordinary collection of guitars with which to analyse the transformations of an instrument that, through four centuries, has evolved considerably, adapting to the needs and changes occurring in classical music. With the contribution of prestigious international museums and enthusiastic private collectors, the rarest and most valuable guitars surviving today have been brought together to illustrate this process.

A significant number of guitars were needed to illustrate such a long time-span from the 1600s to the mid-1900s. They take us from Baroque guitars, magnificently decorated and inlaid with rich and sought-after materials, among which the vary rare instrument by the great violin maker Antonio Stradivari must be mentioned, to classical guitars, which emancipated the six strings from the role of simple folk instrument.

This catalogue contains color pictures of refined instruments, unique for the quality of their construction, as well as guitars that once belonged to famous people: from musicians, Niccolò Paganini first and foremost, but also virtuoso guitarist par excellence Mauro Giuliani, to royalty, in the person of Queen Margaret of Savoy. The catalogue is subdivided into two sections: the first, the text, discusses the history of the guitar chronologically. Detailed descriptions of each instrument provide the opportunity for a complete technical analysis, with all the necessary historical references for a complete and historically-rigorous analysis. The second part, the color illustrations, contains images of the instruments and detailed views of significant parts. The work concludes with comparative tables of the measurements of all the instruments which appeared in this exhibit. Text is In English and Italian.

Rosa sonora - Esposizione di chitarre XVII - XX secolo by Giovanni Accornero

An antique musical instrument is not simply a precious testimony of a noble artisan of the past. It is also a very useful object for investigations that can help us to understand the true nature of the music that was played on it and by means of it.

Rosa sonora contains a range of instruments that illustrate as widely as possible the different currents of guitar making, with historical and biographical details relating to the main traditions and the most representative maestros.

The starting point is Turin, where one of the main schools of guitar making was active, made famous chiefly by the Guadagnini family together with Godone and Torchio. A second section is reserved to artisans originating from the French town of Mirecourt who were working in Turin: Pillement, Denis, Noiriel-Lacaille, Calot. The centuries-long tradition of cultural exchanges between Piedmont and France justifies, or better requires, an over-view of the best instruments of French make. Among those selected, the superb instrument by Alexander Voboam (the oldest guitar known by this maker, shown in public for the first time), and that by Lacôte. Francesco Corbetta, the most famous guitarist of the seventeenth century, and Fernando Sor, top guitarist and composer of the nineteenth century, played on these instruments or other similar ones made by the same makers. A most particular guitar, again by a French maker, is that designed by the Piedmontese guitarist Francesco Molino, taking as his inspiration the features of the violin. This is a very rare guitar that Giovanni Accornero has restored to its antique splendour so cleverly that it could recently be used to record Molino's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra. We reach the Neapolitan school and the dynasties of Filano, Vinaccia and Fabricatore through the mandolin and guitar that Pasquale Vinaccia made for Queen Margaret of Savoy. Text is in Italian.

La Guitarra Espanola (The Spanish Guitar)
by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This beautiful catalogue was printed for the exhibition 'The Spanish Guitar,' held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York from October 1, 1991 to January 5, 1992, and then at the Museo Municipal in Madrid from February 20 to April 12, 1992 as part of the Quincentenniel of Discovery of America. It contains valuable information and hundreds of beautiful photographs and illustrations, the majority of which are in color, pertaining to guitars from the 16th century to the 1940s. It also includes a table of the instruments' dimensions and simple schematic diagrams of the their bracing patterns. The text is in English and Spanish.

Antonio de Torres Guitar Maker: His Life & Work by Jose Romanillos

This comprehensive work on the great 19th century master luthier Antonio de Torres, father of the modern classical guitar, was lovingly researched over many years by one of the twentieth century's greatest classical guitar makers, Jose Romanillos. It contains over 300 photographs as well as scale drawings for the construction of Torres style guitars. Jose Romanillos traveled worldwide searching out Torres' guitars and has cataloged eight-five instruments, listing their dimensions and their owners. The great English classical guitarist Julian Bream writes in his forward to this book, "The fastidious research, disciplined scholarship as well as the intuitive speculation of Jose Romanillos will stimulate both players and luthiers into a deep understanding of the instrument as well as invoke a timely reevaluation of a remarkable man."

Vihuela de Mano and The Spanish Guitar by Jose Romanillos and Marian Winspear

This first Dictionary about Spanish guitar makers includes more than fifteen hundred entries and covers over five centuries of Spanish musical instrument making. It is a rich resource covering among other things: several dynasties of instrument makers, the places and streets where they lived and worked and the social conditions of the times. The twenty-eight appendices (the original version in Spanish is also included), contain information about the Ordinances of the Guilds of instrument makers; details about the construction of vihuelas de mano and guitars; names of the masters and apprentices and their personal appearance; working conditions; indentures and certificates of examination; inventories of workshops, lists of the tools and implements of their craft, woods and prices of materials and instruments. This work also contains an extensive bibliography and documented references for readers interested in further research. In the Prologue to his book, master classical guitar maker, Jose Romanillos, shares his insight into the development of the vihuela de mano and the Spanish guitar. This is an indispensable reference book for instrument makers, historians, musicologists, museums, musical instrument collectors, auction houses, dealers and guitar enthusiasts. 585 pages. More than 1500 entries.

Francisco Simplicio: Luthier by Diego Milanese and Umberto Piazza

The Classical Guitar by John Morrish

This new, updated paperback edition follows the success of the first edition. It contains essays by some of the world's foremost experts and highlights significant classical guitars from the finest European, American and Japanese makers.The Classical Guitar is based on Russell Cleveland's extensive collection of classical guitars which includes instruments by many of the world's most famous makers. It features color photos of classical guitars by Torres, Ramirez, Arias, Esteso, Hauser, Bouchet, Rubio, Pena Fernandez, Kohno, Fleta, Rodriguez, Ruck, Friederich, Contreras, Smallman, Humphrey, Gilbert and Romanillos and many others. It also includes essays on the classical guitar in pop music, different playing and teaching techniques, the collectors' market and the science of the guitar. As with Sheldon Urlik's book discussed above, this coffee table size book offers the reader both a valuable pictorial overview and comparative study of fine classical and flamenco guitars.

The Classical Guitar Collection 2008 published by Gendai Guitar

The Classical Guitar Collection 2008 features a beautiful photo collection of 128 fine guitars from around the world. The text is in both English and Japanese. This is an updated edition based on The Classical Guitar Collection 2004. This latest edition features 51 new instruments and includes photos, descriptions and measurements of instruments by Bernabe, Ruck, Dammann, Smallman, Hauser, and many more! 288 pages.

The Century that Shaped the Guitar by James Westbrook

From the birth of the six-string guitar to the death of Tarrega, this book explores the history of the 19th century guitar through nine special instruments from the author's collection. This beautifully produced and illustrated book also contains a section on dendrochronology - a process by which the woods used for guitar soundboards can be approximately dated and analyzed. Contains 180 pages, photos of guitars from the 19th century, information about the construction and history of guitars from this era, and a CD of the same title as this book featuring performances by: Ulrich Wedemeier, Taro Takeuchi and Paul Gregory.

A Concise History of the Classic Guitar by Graham Wade

This valuable resource, 223 pages overall, is both a biography of the great Barcelona guitar maker Francisco Simplicio (1874-1932) and an in depth study of his classical guitars. The authors have included many photographs (both black and white and color), including workshop photos and detail photos of Simplicio's instruments. They have also included tables of many of his guitars' dimensions and lists of the materials he used in various instruments. In addition to Francisco Simplicio the authors discuss the classical guitars of Enrique Garcia and Francisco Simplicio's son, Miguel Simplicio. Text is in Italian.

Guitarreros de Andalucía by Luis Leal Pinar

This Indispensable reference lists entries for hundreds of past and present well known and lesser Andalusian guitar makers. Color Photographs. Text is in Spanish.

A Concise History of the Classic Guitar by Graham Wade explores the history of the instrument from the 16th century to the present day. This compact assessment of five centuries of fretted instruments covers the vihuela in Spain, the history of four-course and five-course guitars, the evolution of tablature, and developments in the six-string guitar in the 19th century. The work also charts the contribution of leading composers, performers and luthiers of the 20th century, and evaluates the influence of Segovia, Llobet, Pujol, Presti, Bream, Williams, etc. This book, intended for the general public and guitar students of all ages.

The Development of the Modern Guitar by John Huber

This book presents information about the great schools of guitar design together with discussions of the problems of practicing and making a career as a classical guitarist. The author presents information on the design and construction of many fine guitars as well as useful thumbnail over views of great luthiers and marketing trends of the last 150 years. This is not a scholarly work per se, but a well-informed discussion by a leading contemporary guitar connoisseur on his experiences with the instrument and its recent history.

Guitars From the Renaissance to Rock
by Tom and Mary Anne Evans

This valuable reference work discusses classical, flamenco, steel-string acoustic and electric guitars from their earliest ancestors to the most sophisticated instruments of the late 1970s. Of particular interest to those interested in classical guitar making, this work features a twenty-five page chapter on classical guitar construction (much of which focuses on the then young Jose Romanillos' building methods). Beautifully illustrated with over 600 black and white photographs.

Luthiers & Guitares d'en France
published by Editions Chandelle

This beautiful coffee-table book features some of the preeminent guitar makers of France. The photos are magnificent. The text is in French, This work Includes acoustic, electric, classical, hollow-body, semi-hollow body, and bass guitars, as well as unique creations such as a reversible guitar, an electric resonator with sympathetic strings. Many close-up photos show details including headstocks and rosettes. There are special sections on Mario Maccaferri and Robert Bouchet. Other makers included in this book are: Gerard Audirac, Victor Bedikian, Gerad Beuzon, Patrice Blanc, Marc Boluda, Simon Bour, Roger Buro, Richard Caro, Jacques, Castelluccia, Franck Cheval, DNG, Dominique Delarue, Bruno Doussaint, Philippe Dubreuille, Maurice Dupont, Olivier Fanton d'Andon, Jean-Pierre Favino, Dominique Field, Fine Resophonic, Jean-Marie Fouilleul, Claude Fouquet, Daniel Friederich, Francois Guidon, La famille Jacobacci, Jean-Luc Joie, Kopo, LAG, Joel Laplane, Christophe Leduc, Xavier Lefol, Daniel Lesueur, Christian Magdeleine, Martine Montassier, Thierry Monteil, Christian Noguera, Antoine Pappalardo, Bruno Perrin, Renaud Personnier, Alain Queguiner, Pascal Quinson, Alain Raifort, Michel Scamps, Christopher Schuetz, James Trussart, Patrice Vigier, and Michel Benedetti.

La Guitare: Book I, Paris 1650-1950 by Daniel Sinier and Françoise de Ridder

This lovely volume focuses on the Parisian luthiers from 1650 to 1950, from Voboam to Bouchet by way of 19th century masters Pons, Lacôte and Laprévotte. In all about fifty magnificent instruments are discussed and pictured; this is the first time nearly all these specific guitars have been documented. The authors examine these masters' innovations, transformations, and acoustic theories as they contributed to the evolution of the guitar, the pupils and followers of these masters, and their influence on other schools of guitar making. The authors share thirty-five years of experience in observing and restoring fine guitars. French, English and Italian texts, more than four hundred photos and drawings.

La Guitare: Book II, Mirecourt, les provinces françaises by Daniel Sinier and Françoise de Ridder

After the success of the first volume in this collection, the authors have devoted their second volume to "Mirecourt, the French provinces." This beautiful book presents and analyzes instruments made by the master guitar makers in Mirecourt who, with their instruments, have contributed to the international fame of this town and its territory. The authors discuss workshops small and large and the commercial practices of this region's luthiers. They provide a detailed description of a professional sector dedicated entirely to the construction and commerce of musical instruments of the highest quality. In doing so the authors provide a panoramic view of the work of musical instrument makers in the French regional capitals: Lyon, Bordeaux, Lille, cities that, even though distant from Paris, have produced craftsmanship of excellence. Included in this volume are works by: Altimira, Aubry Jacques, Aubry-Maire, Beau Simon, Bonnel Joseph, Breton François, Brugère François, Cabasse-Visnaire, Calot Joseph, Charpentier Auguste, Coffe-Goguette, Collin Hyppolite, Deleplanque Gérard, Denis Nicolas, Derazey Honoré, Didier Nicolas, Grobert Nicolas, Lajoue, Lambert, Leblanc Claude, Marcard Pierre, Mast Jean Laurent, Mauchant frères, Mauchant-Rouvier, Nicolas Didier l'Aîné, Otte Charles, Petitjean, Pons César, Roudhloff fils, Roudhloff François, Salomon Jean François, Thibouville-Lamy Jérome, Thouvenel, Tranchet, and Vissenaire Nicolas.

This volume illustrates more than 40 unpublished guitars accompanied by a text rich in color photographs which show internal details of the instruments, their specific characteristics and various information gathered during the authors. 40 years of activity.

This is an exhaustive and highly valuable publication of unquestionable interest to professionals, collectors and instrument lovers. Three-language edition: French, English and Italian.

The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution, Players and Personalities Since 1800 by Maurice J. Summerfield

This work presents the reader with an overview of the classical guitar's development over the last two hundred years. It Includes: hundreds of photos; sections on composers, scholars, flamenco guitarists, and guitar makers; an extensive listing of important classical guitar recordings; and an informational directory. Guitar makers represented here include: Staufer, Lacote, Panormo, Torres, Hernandez, Hauser, Miguel Rodriguez, Ramirez, Esteso Conde, Fleta, Bouchet, Kohno, Rubio, Bernabe, Contreras, Bolin, Friederich, Manuel Rodriguez, Romanillos, Hopf, Gilbert, Fischer, Richard Schneider, Sakurai, Smallman, Ruck, Humphrey, Fanton d'Andon, Dammann, Southwell, and Irving Sloane.

The Guitar of Andrés Segovia - Hermann Hauser 1937: Its History, Sound and Photographs by Richard E. Bruné

This is an homage not only to the artistry of Segovia but also to that of Hermann Hauser I, the violin maker who, in 1937, built this extraordinary instrument. The high resolution photos are courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Texts and technical drawings are by Richard E. Bruné. The guitar of Andrés Segovia is now property of the Metropolitan Museum of New York, which has collaborated with DYNAMIC to make this tribute to the art of the great Spanish guitarist who died in 1987. The box contains: 1 CD with Segovia playing Bach, Handel, Gluck, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, De Falla, Moreno Torroba; a color book; a full-size color poster of the guitar; a full-size poster of the front's technical drawings; a full-size poster of the back;s technical drawings; a full-size poster of the details' technical drawings.

With Strings Attached: The Art and Beauty of Vintage Guitars by Jonathan Kellerman. introduction by Andy Summers

In this volume New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman shares photos and stories of his world-renowned collection of rare guitars. Bringing to bear the same sure storytelling instincts and keen attention to detail that characterize his bestselling fiction, he writes of household names like Fender, Gibson, Martin and more, as well as other marques revered by aficionados - D'Angelico, Hauser, Stromberg, Torres - making each entry a sparkling mini-essay. Complete sections cover the author.s mini-collections of guitars by D'Angelico, D'Aquisto, Fender, Gibson, Knutsen, C.F. Martin, National, Rickenbacker, Selmer/Maccaferri, Stromberg, Weissenborn, plus guitars by Asher, Barbero/Fernandez, Bouchet, Garrett Brink, John Deichman, Dobro, Dyer/Larson, Epiphone, Gennaro, Fleta, Friederich, Greenfield, Hauser, Hilo, Jonathan, Kamaka, Faye Kellerman/L.R. Baggs, Lyric, Monteleone, Oahu, Ramirez, Rodriquez, Romanillos, Simplicio, Torres, Wilkanowski and a mandolin by Vinaccia. Photos by Jonathan Exley. hardcover. 368 pp.

Musical Instruments of the Western World by Emanuel Winternitz, photographs by Lilly Stunzi

This beautiful coffee table size book documents in a series of superb color photographs more than one hundred musical instruments of all types created by the very best artist-craftsmen over the centuries: The earliest instrument dates from the sixth century B.C. and the latest from the mid-nineteenth century. Along with splendidly simple instruments made from the usual sorts of wood and metal whose shapes correspond closely to their musical functions, there are some instruments with fanciful or grotesque shapes unrelated to any musical function, built to cater to the imaginative whims of ambitious builders, noble patrons, or fastidious performers.