José Luis Romanillos Vega was born in Madrid in 1932, where he started his cabinet-making apprenticeship at the age of thirteen. In 1956, he moved to England to work in a hospital in Epsom and a few months later in a hospital in London. Five years later, José Luis Romanillos, made his first Spanish guitar in London.
Encouraged by the English guitarist Julian Bream in 1970, J. L. Romanillos set up a guitar-making workshop in the village of Semley, Wiltshire. Romanillos’ guitars have received recognition for their sound quality as well as for their aesthetical appearance from guitarists worldwide. Pure sound and harmonic balance of the strings are what Romanillos looked for and achieved in his quest of the subtle “Spanish sound”. The Daily Mail has called him “the Stradivari of the guitar” and the Italian magazine Sei Corde “the most important living stringed instrument maker”.
J. L. Romanillos has given courses on Spanish guitar making in numerous countries as well as lectures and seminars about the organology of the instrument. He has also given lectures on the history and development of the vihuela de mano and the Spanish guitar. In addition, he was a member of the Crafts Council of Great Britain for ten years. He is living in Guijosa, a rural district annexed to Sigüenza in the northern part of the province of Guadalajara in Spain, since 1995. In collaboration with his wife Marian, he published a dictionary of stringed-instrument makers and guitar-makers of Spain titled “The Vihuela de Mano and the Spanish Guitar” in 2002.
This José Luis Romanillos, built in 1981, is an absolute rarity. The 1980s are considered Romanillos’ golden age, and this particular guitar is the only one to our knowledge to feature an inlaid bridge in the style of Antonio de Torres. Moreover, it is interesting to note that it is only two numbers away from Julian Bream’s famous 1981 #592 “La Lechuza”. Its name, “La Veintidos”, means the “twentysecond”. Romanillos built this unique guitar to celebrate his twenty-second wedding anniversary with Marian, a one-of-a-kind back story that explains this gem’s exceptional woods and marquetry.
|Luthier:||José Luis Romanillos|
|Body and sides:||Maple|
|Air resonance frequency:||F#|