It was in 2017 when an early guitar of HH I found its way into the „guitarreria“ of the grandson, HH III. Almost three decades ago, in 1989, the latter had made some careful restorations on this instrument. The guitar, constructed in 1914, turned out to be so extraordinary for these days, that it demanded a closer examination- and this led to astonishing results.
First of all, these lines’ unique, special subject should be described as follows.
1. The guitar herself has a three-piece- back, whose outer wings (and the sides) are made of Brazilian rosewood, while the middle part consists of rippled maple with a central rosewood strip, which gives the illusion of a four-piece- back. The „exotic“ rosewood- uncommon in german guitar construction these days- had been used by HH I when veneering the spruce back of the alpine folk instrument „Zither“. Veneer slices of a greater thickness so called „saw- veneer“ must have been used for the back and sides of the HH I 1914.
2. The spruce top inside already shows the „Hauser Patent“ bracing, although HH I had declared this first several years later. The „Patent“ itself was given on November 9th, 1920.
3. The Spanish bridge with its wings formed like a roof construction is- up to nowadays- unique on Hauser guitars.
4. Without any doubt, the plantilla corresponds to the Spanish form and resembles the dimensions of the upper and lower bout in total the measurements of the „Torres FE 09, 1859“ played by Miguel Llobet.
5. Also, the scale length, a little less than 65 cm, leads to that instrument.
6. The depth of the sides, and the arched back, however, come out of the traditional methods HH I had used when building his Viennese and Munich models.
7. Eye-sticking are the white rims of cellulite on the back and top, a relic from „Zither“- construction, and a rosette of several wooden rings, as it (according to HH III) had been used by Josef Hauser, the founder of the Hauser dynasty.
8. The luxury machine heads with strong black rolls and a „Quick Tuner“ on the first string are also very special, while the oval hole in the head plate comes from Hauser ́s traditional guitar types.
9. Something special also can be seen in the neck, made of mahogany and glued to the body, and with a flat back. According to the guitar maker Hans Hermann Herb this kind of neck, formerly among guitarreros had been called „Albert-Hals“, as the Munich guitar player Heinrich Albert preferred this detail.
What might have inspired HH I to construct such a guitar? A short look at historical events should be necessary to find out something.
It was November 10th, 1913, when the Spanish „virtuoso“ Miguel LLobet gave his first Munich concert. He played on a guitar by Antonio de Torres (1817- 1892), made in 1859. On this occasion
HH I gave one of his traditional maple guitars as a present to the Spaniard. After many „corrections“ and „re-buildings“, this guitar still exists. From March 1st – March 3rd, 1914, Llobet again gave concerts in Germany – in Landshut, Nürnberg, and, once more, in Munich.
And it must have been the quality of the Torres guitar that impressed the bavarian maestro so deeply!
The inside of the 1914 guitar shows on the top the inscription „10. III. 1914“. As told by HH III, the inside of the top was traditionally signed and dated shortly before closing the body. This leads to the opinion that the construction of this guitar took place between the two Munich visits of Miguel Llobet. Probably HH I could have taken the outer measurements of the Torres „plantilla“. A more intensive examination might have taken place a decade later, during the „tournee“ of Llobet and Segovia in 1924.
But why did HH I construct only one example of this type of guitar? Several different arguments seem to be possible.
First of all Brazilian rosewood was not only hard to get, as is not common in traditional german guitar making, but also a quite expensive material.
Second, HH I had to follow the wishes of his clients, who expected his traditional maple guitars from him. In turn, he had to earn money for his livelihood. And the customers would perhaps hardly be willing to pay a lot for extraordinary, somewhat experimental instruments. There were not so many Spanish guitar „aficionados“ in 1914 Germany!
And then, there was the first catastrophe of the XXth century, World War I (1914-1911118) ………
Ten years later, after the triumphant success of Llobet / Segovia, the guitaristic scene in Germany changed tremendously. HH I turned to the iberic guitar tradition of Antonio de Torres and Manuel Ramirez, which became the basis for his later worldwide reputation.
It has to be mentioned here that also the other important german guitar maker of this period, Richard Jacob „Weissgerber“ from Markneukirchen, had been deeply influenced by the concerts of Miguel Llobet. The latter had visited the Saxonian town for the first time in 1921, and this event forced „Weissgerber“ to construct a „small Spanish model“afterward. An instrument of this type from 1922 is in the collection of the renowned „Weissgerber“- expert Christof Hanusch in Berlin.
For both „guitarreros“ the Llobet concerts (Munich 1913 and Markneukirchen 1921) were the „Initial Ignition“ for the Spanish guitar before, from 1924, they totally dedicated their work to this new type of instrument.
Finally- how could one describe the part of this HH III 1914 example in classical guitar`s history?
The sound of this easy-to-play instrument is „Spanish with german elements“- or the other way round. It proves that- opposite to the general opinion- Hermann Hauser I had not started with Spanish guitar construction in 1924, but in fact, ten years earlier. The „1914“ is the link between the traditional alpine guitar style and the „guitarra espanola“, and so far, a unique „sound and time document“ in the history of international guitar construction. It also represents a milestone on the way of the benefitted,
gifted „constructor“ Hermann Hauser I, to release himself from traditions without giving them up and to set off for new horizons.
All the great guitars from the Hauser family- from Hermann Hauser I to Hermann Hauser II until Hermann Hauser III and his daughter Kathrin- are special products. They possess the powerful, rich-colored sound of the Spanish instruments plus a new element, a kind of silvery clearness, so perfectly fitting to the music of J. S. Bach. Maybe these qualities got virtuosos like Andrés Segovia and Julian Bream to play Hauser guitars. Power, warmth, and clarity create the SOUND, the instrument’s soul. And the craftsman’s artistry is responsible for the BODY qualities: an easy attack, optimal playability, and tasteful aesthetics. BODY and SOUND, together, transform the Hauser guitars into noble SOUND- BODIES. And the musician, while playing, enjoys holding such an instrument „close to the heart“.
Karlstein, July 15th, 2018
Siegfried „Hogi“ Hogenmüller
Read the original article here: https://www.siccasguitars.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2023/02/Hauser-14-Englisch-Patent58.pdf
View the 1914 Hermann Hauser I guitar here: https://www.siccasguitars.com/shop/guitar/hermann-hauser-i-1914/