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 for 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”.
This 1982 Liam Romanillos guitar was built in his father’s workshop in Semley under the guidance of the master. A lovely letter, hand-signed from Liam Romanillos, tells us about the involvement of José Luis Romanillos in this guitar. Many details show the great master’s influence, such as the well-made Robert Bouchet style rosette, the fine V-joint at the neck, a perfectly executed bracing, and many delicate marquetry elements. Built with a wonderful swiss spruce-top and fine cypress back and sides, this guitar has a deeply Spanish tone. It is in outstandingly great condition, free of cracks with its original varnish and only very few playing marks. The whole makes a very aesthetical instrument with balanced sound colors and an exquisite sound character.
A very interesting instrument, incredibly light and responsive, strikingly colorful, and impressively easy to play. The first striking features are the fantastic balance and the seemingly infinite sustain of the trebles. These are almost supernatural on such a lightly built cypress guitar. The first string is generously singing, and the overtones are rich and pure. This guitar is lively and mature, and definitely a precious Romanillos masterpiece.
|Luthier:||Liam & José Luis Romanillos|
|Body and sides:||Cypress|
|Air resonance frequency:||G|