Three 19th century guitars - the models and the luthiers

Our concert features 19th century guitars. Two were built by noted Rochester luthier, Bernie Lehmann: a copy of a Louis Panormo guitar and a copy of a Renault & Chatelain model. There will also be an original James Ashborn model. Bernie will be on hand to talk about the guitars of this period and his interest in reproducing them.

Bernie Lehmann, Luthier

Bernie Lehmann has been building guitars since he graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Experimental Design in 1971. He worked for several years with master luthier, Owen Shaw, in Boston before establishing his own shop in Rochester, NY in 1977. Bernie likes making one of a kind instruments and has made nearly 500 unique, stringed instruments including lutes, vihuelas, mandolins, rebecs and vielles. He is currently building several models of classical, early reproduction guitars, steel string, arch top, and gypsy style guitars.

Panormo Model

This is a copy of a Louis Panormo, the premier builder of guitars “in the Spanish style” in London around 1830. His guitars featured “fan bracing” on the soundboard like Spanish builders were using which developed sweeter overtone than French models with simple transverse bracing. This instrument was built by Bernie Lehmann and Jeff Cole.

Renault & Chatelain Model

The original of this model is in the Musée de la Musique in Paris. It is a fine example of transitional models from the 5-course Baroque guitar to the six, single-string modern guitar. It features an elongated body and a fingerboard that is flush with the top like earlier guitars, and metal frets, figure 8 peghead, and open sound hole like later guitars.

James Ashborn Model

James Ashborn was one of the first builders of guitars and banjos in America who had a production factory. His high quality instruments followed the Spanish fan bracing style while using a distinctly American profile. His factory in Connecticut produced instruments from 1850 until the Civil War.

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