Richard Jacob Weissgerber 1937 masterbuilt classical guitar – a fine Torres style guitar – lightweight with an enormously powerful sound!
Richard Jacob Weissgerber was born in Markneukirchen, Germany in 1877 into a guitar-making family and spent his childhood years surrounded by his father’s richly decorated instruments and also under the supervision of the master violin maker Christian Wilhelm Seidel. In his teenage years, he trained and apprenticed as a zither maker then assisted with guitar maker Wilhelm Voigt for six years. With this deep background, in 1905 Richard Jacob set up his own independent guitar workshop.
Early in his career, Richard Jacob had “Weissgerber” patented as a trade name, which allowed him to freely innovate and create new designs into his guitar making. It seems at the outset, he built largely in the popular Viennese style but eventually began to design and develop new models with unusual forms and decorations that were always exquisitely finished – this gave his instruments a competitive edge which made them standouts in the busy guitar-making city of Markneukirchen. He traveled extensively through Germany and Austria to accumulate knowledge of all the various guitar making styles that were being used and became actively involved with the “Guitar Movement” (“Gitarristische Bewegung”) in Germany, maintained intensive contact with the International Guitar Association (Internationaler Guitarrenverband) and to many important guitarists. In 1921, he was visited by Miguel Llobet, and in 1924 Llobet returned again with Andres Segovia and he was able to see their instruments – Torres and Manuel Ramirez, which greatly influenced his work. Many other players including Emilio Pujol and Luise Walker also came to Markneukirchen with their instruments which would steer Richard Jacob’s building approaches more and more in the direction of the Spanish guitars – gaining stylistic insights from Torres to Simplicio. Although he absorbed and assimilated these Spanish traditions, he never abandoned his experimental approach and always sought to integrate these elements into his unique construction methods to create truly unique instruments spread over a wide variety of models. Richard Jacob remained dedicated to the building of guitars to the very end of his life, even completing three instruments in his last year, at the age of 83. He died in 1960, leaving his eldest son Martin (1911-1991) to run the “Weissgerber Guitar Workshop” until its closing in 1990.
From the outset of Richard Jacob’s career, Weissgerber guitars quickly gained a strong following among professionals. Many of the most respected guitarists of that time played Weissgerber instruments. This included Heinz Teuchert (founder of the Frankfurt school of guitar and lute playing), Karl Scheit and Siegfried Behrend to name but a few.
This particular instrument is a Torres model from 1937. It is a beautifully built guitar with light fan braces. The scale length is 624 mm and the nut width 48 mm. The top is made of fine spruce and the back and sides of lovely maple.
The sound is bold, loud and the guitar reacts very nicely to the touch of the player. It has a very vintage, almost “antique” style of sound making it a perfect instrument for the player seeking an authentic 19th/20th century “performance practice” sound which beautifully suits the music of Llobet, Sor, Giuliani, Coste, Mertz, etc.
The guitar has a great richness and harmonious quality. The notes blend together beautifully and yet maintain their clarity and separation. The sensation of playing the guitar is as it vibrates against the players body in a very deep way.
It has such an incredibly powerful sound and can be very loud – very surprising. This guitar is among the best of what we have seen so far from Weissgerber.
It is in excellent condition and perfect working for its age. The guitar is ready for the recording studio or concert stage.
It comes with a newer suitable guitar case.