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SOLD 1830 Gennaro Fabricatore Romantic Era Guitar

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1830 Gennaro Fabricatore Romantic Era Guitar

There seems little doubt that the first modern 6 string guitars had their genesis in Naples in the 1790s, in the workshops of Giovanni Battista Fabricatore.

Clearly Gennaro Fabricatore I and II were influenced by Giovanni. Innovations were a common occurrence in the Neapolitan hotbed of guitar and mandolin builders and Gennaro Fabricatore soon gave their guitars a unique appearance and gained respect throughout Europe. Evidence suggests that the Gennaro family, father, son and possibly brothers built guitars, mandolins and violins at various workshops in Naples from 1773 until the 1840s.

Italian and French guitar makers were known for their elaborate decorations; a special feature common to most Gennaro Fabricator guitars. A veneer of Ebony appliqué was cut and fitted to the spruce sound board. Cut freehand out of only one piece for each side of the top, this intricate pattern would be glued to the top in one application.

Italian makers excelled at complex veneer work: the entire neck is veneered in rosewood; fretboard, peghead, back of headstock, round carve of the back of the neck and the heel; we can get a peak at the Spanish Cedar core of the neck where a small piece of veneer is missing at the end of the headstock.

This lovely instrument is entirely playable and has a full and balanced tone. Most Gennaro F. guitars that I have seen were fitted with Ebony violin-style tuners; this example has has 1920s era metal friction tuners which work well Converting back to the traditional tuners would be a simple operation.

The label reads: Gennaro Fabricatore / Anno 1830 / Strad Toledo No. 297 / Napoli

Though this guitar has been well used over the past 175 years, it has clearly been well cared for and is remarkably intact. Top and neck are certainly original finish and free of any significant damage or repairs.
Typical of heavily figured curly maple, the back and sides show several shrinkage cracks that have been repaired and patched over the last century. The finish shows evidence of several added brushed or padded spirit varnish touch ups.


The construction is as follows:

  • The top is European Spruce with Ebony veneer appliqué . Rosette and binding is done in 9 layers of alternating ebony and maple purflings. Rosewood bridge, replaced in modern era.
  • Back and sides of highly figured solid Curly Maple. The back is one-piece.
  • The finely shaped interior braces and struts are spruce.
  • The top linings are Spruce, the back linings parchment soaked in glue. This was a common building method used earlier in lute construction. I suspect this may be a repair done perhaps a century ago. Two of the back crack interior patches are nicely mitred into the sides and the back braces reglued with hide glue in a fashion that suggest that the back was removed in order to effect repairs. Logically, the parchment would have been used as part of the back reglue procedure.
  • The flush-type fretboard is fretted with brass “bar frets” which appear original and barely worn. The neck is Spanish Cedar entirely overlaid on all surfaces with rosewood veneer.

Playability: The neck is dead straight and action very low: 5/64 treble to 6/64 bass. Normally, I would automatically raise the action. There is plenty of room to do so at the saddle but this guitar plays beautifully and responds remarkably well to a gentle attack; lovely balance.

Frankly I think it sounds like it was intended to when played with a light to medium attack so action can stay where it is depending on the player’s needs.

The intonation is as good or better than many new classicals! And it plays comfortably and in tune right up to the 12th fret.

Incredible indeed when you consider the age of this antique historical guitar!!

A Modern era over-size hardshell case is included.


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  • Year: 1830 | Approximate year
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Vintage
  • Condition: Good

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

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