Antonio Demas Montsalves (Sevilla, active c. 1905-1943)

Antonio Demas Montsalves was a guitar maker in Sevilla in the first half of the 20th century. He was apparently trained by Enrique Bergali Alonso who had his workshop at Calle Sierpes, 65 in Sevilla, and died about 1905, and Antonio inherited his workshop and continued in business there until his death around 1943. The shop was then taken over by Francisco Mellado Demans. Over the years the Casa Demas evolved into a music store dealing in classical and flamenco guitars and other instruments. In 1998, the Casa Damas S.L. was at Calle Sierpes 61.

Ramon Delclos(Sevilla, active 1914-?).

Ramon Delclos established his workshop in 1914, and made flamenco and classical guitars, bandurrias, and laudes. He had his workshop at Mendez Nuñez, no. 19 in Sevilla. After his death, his widow continued selling guitars with the label Vda de Ramon Delclos at this address.

Joseph de Frías (Sevilla, active c. 1775-1800)

Joseph de Frías was active in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. He seems to have lived in Sevilla, and probably late in his career in Cádiz. He was among the first makers to use fan bracing.

Ignacio de los Santos (Sevilla, active c. 1790s)

Ignacio de los Santos, a luthier from Sevilla he was active at the end of the eighteenth century. Unlike the instruments made in Cádiz, his instruments did not use fan bracing. His shop was at Calle Carpintería, 26, Sevilla.

Manuel Gutiérrez Martínez (Sevilla, b.1773-d.1857)

Manuel Gutiérrez Martínez was born in Sevilla in 1773. As his father was a silversmith, it is uncertain where Manuel learned his trade. Over the course of his long carrier in Sevilla Manuel had a number of workshops. In 1836 he had a workshop at Calle Cerrageria 46. In 1844, his workshop was at Calle Cerrageria 44. In 1845-46, it was at Calle Cerrageria 35. In 1847-48, he was at Ballestilla 10. In 1849, he moved to Cerrageria 36, a few doors away from no. 32,  where Antonio de Torres worked from 1856-1868. Manuel shared this shop with María Dolores Gómez Sánchez (b. 1805-d.1867), his apprentice and disciple who had joined his shop in the 1840s. Manuel never married, so when he died of asthma on the 25th of May, 1857, Maria Gomez, inherited this shop from her master, and continued to list Manuel's name in the trade guides until she retired in 1868, and sold the shop to Manuel Soto y Solares (b1839-d.1906).

Manuel Gutierrez chief claim to fame is that he was a close friend of Antonio Torres (b. 1817- d. 1892). According to Prat (1934:374) for a time when Torres was first becoming established in Sevilla, Gutierrez shared his workshop at calle Cerrageria 36 with him. Torres arrived in Sevilla in 1845. During this period, Torres was not a full time builder, but was being encouraged by Julian Arcas, a Spanish guitarist and virtuoso.  (Romanillos and Winspear 2001:176).  Torres probably shared Manuel's workshop sometime between 1849 and 1854, when Torres opened his own workshop at Ballestilia 11, moving then to Cerrageria 32.  

Although Jose Pernas (b.c. 1802 - d after 1866) is credited by some by some as Torres teacher, Romanillos believes it is doubtful that this Granada maker was his teacher. Romanillos notes that Torres guitars have much more affinity with guitars made in Cadiz and Sevilla than with those of Pernas. Romanillos, suggests that (FE 2) shows that Torres was still learning his art in 1854. An interesting question is whether Gutierrez may have taught Torres something of the luthier's art.  It is hard to assess just how much Torres learned from contact with other makers in Sevilla, "in particular with Manuel Gutierrez, it is probable that he was able to learn certain techniques to help him in his career" (Ramanillos 1995:20-21). 

Frank Wallace, a concert guitarist who has record with a 1854 Gutiérrez (Gyremusic CD), and has had a chance to compare it with the 1857 Torres (FE 07) in the Yale University Musical Instruments Collection, believes the elderly Gutiérrez must have shared his knowledge with Torres. Romanillos makes an interesting observation on the 1857 Torres (FE 07) in the Yale collection. He notes that Torres seems to have used an old neck that was originally made for a double course guitar, given that this guitar has a bull's horn headstock like Gutierrez used, it is possible that he got this neck from him. There are other indisputable similarities between these instruments. They are alike in size, shape and lightness of construction," with the exception that Gutiérrez' has a deeper body (over 100 mm!). "Both instruments have three-piece backs, five radial struts, a v-shaped shaft splice, and an almost identical headstock, in a shape reminiscent of bull's horns." Wallace also observes, "similar techniques were clearly used by Gutiérrez to refine the top of our guitar, whose thickness varies widely from 1.4-2.2 mm. Their sound is remarkably similar, in spite of the different woods for the back and sides (Gutiérrez, Brazilian rosewood; Torres, cypress). Both are rich, dark, full and complex in sound."

Alonso Merino (Sevilla, active c. 1900)

Alonso Merino was a maker in Sevilla at the beginning of the twentieth century. He had his shop at Calle O'Donnel 17, Sevilla from 1895-1896, then moved in 1897 to O'Donnel 13, and relocated in No. 18, on the same street in 1898 where he continued until at least 1903.  In addition to guitarras, his labels advertise that he made Bandurrias. One of this guitars built in 1900 is listed in the collection of Felix Manzanero. (Photo Courtesy of Felix Manzanero).

Diego Salazar y Soto (Sevilla, active c. 1830s-1860s)

Diego Salazar was born in 1807. He was trained by his father, Manuel Salazar, a guitar maker active in Sevilla around first quarter of the nineteenth century. Like many makers in Sevilla of the period, in the 1840s Diego seems to have had a shop on the Calle Carpintería at no. 47. In the 1860s, he seems to have moved to Calle Cuna 30, and was working with his son, Rafael Salazar Grajales until at least 1868.

Francisco Sanguino (Sevilla, active c. 1750s-1780s)

Although little is know about this maker, he seems to have been a famous maker in his own time, and his guitars are earliest known to use fan bracing. Five of his guitars are know to have survived, as well as two cellos. His work was important to the evolution of the modern guitar. It is probable that he trained the Pagés.

José Serrano (Sevilla, active c. 1840s-1850s)

José Serrano, a guitar maker from Sevilla was active in the mid-nineteenth century.  His guitars used a very simple system of fan bracing. His label gives his address as Calle Carpintería, no. 26, Sevilla.

Cristóbal Soto Sánchez (Sevilla, b. c. 1869, active 1890-1900)

Cristóbal Soto Sánchez was the son of Manuel Soto y Solares and was born in Sevilla around 1869. He seems to have been active as a guitar maker in the 1890s and worked with his father at Calle Cerrajeria No. 7. That he was not his father's successor suggests that he may have died before his father.

Joaquín Soto y Solares (Sevilla, b. 1843, active 1860s).

Joaquín Soto y Solares was born in 1843 and was the second son of Manuel María de Soto Castanón, and worked with his father at Calle Cuna 19.

Manuel María de Soto Castañón (Sevilla, b. circa 1800 -d. 1878)

Born around the beginning of the century, the son of Manuel María de Soto, a guitar maker also in Sevilla. He probably was trained by his father. Several address are associate with him in the 1830s, he seems to have been at Calle Carpintería No. 19. In the 1860s, he apparently was at Calle Cuna 19, but at his death he was at No. 41 on the same street. He had at least two sons who followed him as guitar makers: Manuel Soto y Solares and Joaquin Soto y Solares.

Manuel Soto y Solares (Sevilla, b. 1839- d.1906)

Manuel Soto y Solares was a luthier active in Sevilla during the second half of the nineteenth century. The Soto and Solares families seem to have been among the dominant families of guitar makers in the 19th century. Manuel's father, Manuel de Soto Castanón, was a guitarmaker, as was his father, Manuel de Soto. His maternal-grandfather, Manuel Solares Sánchez (b.1773 -d. before 1837) had been a guitarmaker. Manuel was trained by his father, as was his brother, Joaquin. He had his workshop on the Calle Cerrageria,  the same street whereAntonio de Torres also had his shop, being first at No. 36, which he took over when Maria Gomez, who had inherited this shop from Manuel Gutierrez, retired around 1868. When the street was renumbered in 1869, the address changed to No. 4. He was at Cerrageria No. 4 until at least 1875. When he next reappears in the historical record in 1890, he was at Cerrageria No 7.  Although Manuel's son, Cristóbal Soto Sánchez, followed in his footsteps as a luthier, it was his daughters, Francisca and Rosa de Soto who took over the business upon his death, the shop passed then to Manuel's grandson, José Tejada y Soto, who continued to advertise that he was the successor of Manuel de Soto y Solares until at least 1933.

According to some sources, (WIKI among them) Don Antonio Torres shared a shop with Manuel Soto y Solares at Cerragería 7 when he first arrived in Sevilla around 1854. This is obviously wrong as the shop was still occupied by Manuel Gutierrez and Maria Gomez. There was a period in the late 1860s when Torres was without a workshop of his own, and could have shared workspace with Manuel de Soto y Solares. Regardless of whether or not they shared a workshop, Manuel's guitars were heavily influenced by Antonio de Torres. 

In his book on Torres, Romanillos states that Torres and Manuel did some business together, and relates a rumor that when a guitar Torres made didn’t meet his level of expectations, he had Manuel sell it through his shop, either as an unlabeled guitar or under Manuel’s label. Doubtlessly, when Torres closed his shop and moved to Almería and opened china China in 1870, the continuing demand for Torres style guitars open the door Manuel Soto y Solares.

When Torres went into "retirement" between 1870 and 1883, the flamenco guitar as we know it was just beginning to emerge. What flamenco players wanted was the so-called “tablao” guitar, with a “domed” top and back. These were very domed (arched) instruments that originally evolved in Sevilla with Manuel de Soto y Solares, and migrated north to Madrid with flamenco players. Manuel made this style of guitar as so 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 fifteen or so guitars know of Manuel de Soto y Solares is that he was a highly skilled artisan, familiar with Torres design and general construction methods. Perhaps this is why his guitars have survived and remain prized, where those of many of his contemporaries in Sevilla seem to have perished. (Photograph courtesy of Richard Bruné).

José Tejada y Soto. (b.c. 1890 active c. 1910-1930s)

José Tejada Soto, the son of Francisca de Soto y Sánchez, and grandson of Manuel Soto y Solares was born around 1890, and grew up in the shop at Cerrageria No 7. About 1911, the shop moved to the Calle Federico de Castro, No 59; and he worked there with his mother until he took over in 1917. He advertised he was the successor of Manuel Soto y Solares, and continued in business until at least 1933.