Very rare and collectable guitar of Manuel de Soto y Solares from Sevilla built around 1870.
This guitar is a close as you can get to a guitar to Antonio de Torres. It looks like the famous “La Leona”!
Manuel de Soto y Solares (1839-1906) was born in Sevilla, son of a guitar maker, Manuel de Soto Castañón (b.c. 1818-1878), his grandfathers were also guitar makers. Manuel seems to have started building guitars around 1860, and his shop was on Cerragería near that of Antonio de Torres. In his book, Romanillos on Torres states that Soto y Solares and Torres did some business together.
Makers are constantly buying or trading with one another–woods, parts, etc. and it is also common for established shops to subcontract or buy guitars from other makers, and sell them under their own label. Between 1865 and 1870, Torres was having a hard time making a living at building high-end guitars, and so like nearly every other maker in the 19th century, he had to make cheap “bread and butter” guitars to survive. The intriguing possibility is that there maybe a good number of Antonio de Torres built during his years in Sevilla that may bear a Manuel de Soto y Solares’ label.
What is certain is that Manuel de Soto y Solares enthusiastically adopted Torres style of construction. When Torres went into a temporary retirement and moved to Almeria in 1870, guitarists wanting a Torres style guitar turned to Manuel de Soto y Solares, and he drew important clients such as Juan Breva (1844-1918) who is known to have used a Manuel de Soto y Solares guitar made between 1870 and 1890. What is evident in the guitars know of Manuel de Soto y Solares is that he was a highly skilled artisan.
This nice guitar has a spruce top and mahogany sides. The back is made of maple with a mahogany stripe in the middle. It has a nut width of 50 mm and a scale length of 636 mm.
Although this guitar is undated, it most probably was made during 1865 – 1880. It has been perfectly restored by Domenico Pizzonia.
Sound and projection are exceptional on this guitar. It has well-defined notes throughout and a surprisingly big volume. The old woods give this guitar an extra portion of vintage warmth and dynamic and let the timbres shine.
We especially like the maple/spruce combination on this guitar, because it adds this mystical touch to the sound and you immediately feel like you have been transported to another time.
Truly a fantastic instrument to revive the music of the great old composers authentically.