1885 Manuel de Soto y Solares


Make: Manuel Soto y Solares
Model: Flamenco Guitar
Model Year: c. 1885
Top: German Spruce
Back & Sides: Spanish Cypress
Scale: 655mm
Nut: 50mm
Finish: French polish
Tuners: Pegs
Country: Spain
Condition: Used - Excellent
Location: Tucson

MORE INFO...

1885 Manuel de Soto y Solares

1885SotoySolares-ftx.jpg
1885SotoySolares-ft.jpg
1885SotoySolares-rz.jpg
1885SotoySolares-lbl.jpg
1885SotoySolares-bkx.jpg
1885SotoySolares-hd.jpg
1885SotoySolares-ftx.jpg
1885SotoySolares-ft.jpg
1885SotoySolares-rz.jpg
1885SotoySolares-lbl.jpg
1885SotoySolares-bkx.jpg
1885SotoySolares-hd.jpg

1885 Manuel de Soto y Solares

5,500.00

Make: Manuel Soto y Solares
Model: Flamenco Guitar
Model Year: c. 1885
Top: German Spruce
Back & Sides: Spanish Cypress
Scale: 655mm
Nut: 50mm
Finish: French polish
Tuners: Pegs
Country: Spain
Condition: Used - Excellent
Location: Tucson

MORE INFO...

Add To Cart

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, and relates a rumor passed down by Jose Ramirez III that when a Torres made a guitar that didn’t meet his expectations, he sold it through Manuel's shop. While I don't doubt that Torres made guitars for Manuel de Soto y Solares, this story appears to be a romantic interpretation of common transactions between makers. 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 twenty or so guitars know of Manuel de Soto y Solares is that he was a highly skilled artisan.

Although this guitar is undated, it has a plantilla that is very similar to one used by Torres in the period 1885 to 1888, and also has first and seventh fan braces that extend through the harmonic bar, and technique that Torres is known to have used in SE70 from 1885. The restoration revealed that Manuel also used some of the same techniques of construction—the bracing is played out with pencil lines, the top is made of three pieces, and the joins are reinforced by musical parchment strips— also used to glue down the ends of fan braces.

I purchased this guitar from a professional flamenco player Jose Daniel Valenzuela Villanueva, who got it from his father four years ago. It came into his father’s hands from an very old gypsy friend of his who had no children, and asked him if he would like it. His friend had bought it in about 1950 from some a gypsy who played in the line of guitarists that accompanied dancers and singers who belonged to the family of Don Ramón Montoya. The guitar was in poor shape, having suffered some poor repairs over the years, including having varnish crudely applied over the existing finish (see photo in its case). In 2015, I had Aaron Garcia Ruiz, a luthier and musicologist in Granada undertake the restoration— which in this case required a complete disassembly and reassembly of the instrument— the result this wonderful guitar has come back to life.