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. Since 1995 he was living in Guijosa, a rural district annexed to Sigüenza in the northern part of the province of Guadalajara in Spain. 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.
Unveiling the unparalleled 2005 José L. Romanillos & Son “La Esquina” No. 819, a striking example of master luthiery and an absolute treasure for serious collectors. This exquisite instrument bears the distinguished mark of the late Peter Strömgren, a pivotal figure in the classical guitar realm renowned for establishing prestigious Danish guitar festivals such as the Copenhagen Guitar Festival and International Guitar Festival Aarhus.
Crafted with precision, this unique guitar is a tangible tribute to Peter’s incredible legacy. Accompanied by the preserved correspondences between Peter and Liam Romanillos, it offers an intriguing narrative into creation process.
Expertly hand-built in Gillingham, Dorset, this José L. Romanillos & Son masterpiece features a vibrant European spruce soundboard harmoniously paired with four elegantly positioned pieces of Indian rosewood for its back and sides. The instrument’s four-piece back boasts a stunning purfling and a central strip, with its original condition demonstrating meticulous maintenance over the years.
Despite a professionally repaired separation on the middle purfling, the guitar maintains impeccable structural integrity, especially in relation to its soundboard. The instrument delivers an unmatched blend of mellow yet brilliant treble tones and resonant basses, yielding an extraordinary balance throughout its voice. The distinct clarity of sound that this Romanillos & Son “La Esquina” produces sets it a notch above, making it a coveted artifact for classical guitar enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.
Watch the presentation video of this particular guitar below, where you will find a lot of additional information about its playability and sound.
|Luthier:||José Luis Romanillos & Son|
|Back and sides:||Indian rosewood|
|Air body frequency:||F#/G|
|Strings:||Knobloch EDC 34.0|
|Case:||Hiscox Pro II|