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Alonso C. Merino


610 MM Scale, 50 mm Nut. Spruce soundboard and Rosewood back and sides. French polish. Separate kerfing pieces attaching the sides to the top and back. Original Gears. Rosewood Fretboard. No cracks on the back and sides, all cracks on the soundboard have been cleated. Original Bone Nut and Bone Saddle.

This is the oldest known Rosewood back and sides instrument by this maker. Three other guitars of his are known to have survived: (one is Sycamore back and sides) one in the collection of Felix Manzanero (Cypress back and sides) and the other in the collection of Lorenzo Sancho (unknown woods for the back and sides and fabricated in 1897), the last 2 are in Spain. According to Romanillos and Winspear (2002: page 248), he first appears in the trade guides of Sevilla in 1895 at calle O'Donnell, 17. This is about two blocks from the calle Cerrageria where Torres and Gutierrez had had their shops earlier. The full label reads: [No 418 handwritten] Fabrica de Guitarras, Bandurias y Laudes, Alonso C. Merino, Cuerdas Romanas y de la Vda. de Granada, O'Donnell 17 y Trajano 19, Sevilla.

While this maker may have been a contemporary of Torres, the guitar is not fan braced in the Spanish style at all (The cut kerfing pieces are high grade like one sees in Spanish Masterpieces.), but ladder braced, very common in British, French and German construction, as well as some makers in Barcelona in the early 19th century- due to hiring luthiers from Mirecourt to teach them advanced lutherie skills, ex.: workshop of Agustin Altimira (Etienne Maire Breton) and workshop of Francisco EspaƱa (French luthier: Therese). These two French luthiers probably had lunch together as the shops that employed them were 4 blocks apart in Barcelona - the bosses spoke Catalan and some of the workers spoke French. As John Gilbert said: "This is the stuff I think about."

In the photo of the 1900 Alonso Merino guitar from the Felix Manzanero collection, we see it was left unplayable, for whatever reason.

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