The guitars of the Fabricatore family represent a style of construction and appearance that is distinct; different in construction and appearance from those made in France, Spain or Austria in the period 1800 - 1840. I always seem to cross paths with one of them whenever I have a museum appointment and I've collected plans from private owners and museums but I had never examined one in detail. The Edinburgh University Collection of Historical Musical Instruments has two Fabricatore guitars; Giovanni ( built 1805, No.290) and Gennaro (1822, No. 770). I was intrigued by the early build date of Giovanni's guitar so I chose to pair it with Johann Staufer's No. 3838 (see my post from Oct. 5) for my September visit to the museum.
It continues along the edges of the fingerboard and...
wraps around the peghead. Very stylish!
The fingerboard has a radius that is made visible in the photo by the curvature of the nut and first fret. I think this is unusual because I can not recall another Fabricatore that does, nor could I find another while doing background research for this post. Giovanni adds a nice touch by continuing the curvature on to the peg head. The same effect is produced from the twelfth fret to the sound hole where the fingerboard has nearly flattened out (previous photos).
The peghead is veneered front and back with ebony. Ivory lines fan out across the its surface which is a nice touch. The peg head is attached to the neck with a short but full width V-joint that appears asymmetrical. It has been poorly repaired at some earlier date. The ivory lines multiply on the neck and continue onto the heel.
From this perspective it is possible to appreciate the full effect of Giovanni's treatment of the edge banding, neck veneer and curly maple. The side ribs are curly maple with a worn reddish patina. The wide edge banding, seen at the bottom in this photo totals nearly 9mm. Although it is barely visible in this view the top most single band is ivory. It continues on to the edge of the fingerboard. The 'barber pole' banding around the back is particularly striking. There are nearly 400 individual pieces of black material (?) and ivory set diagonally.
The back is a single piece of maple with a pronounced curl. The back is arched side to side by 4mm across the upper and lower bouts and by 2mm across the waist. The side ribs are tapered so that the depth of the guitar body at the tail is 84mm, at the waist 70mm and 67mm at the neck joint. The finish also appears more homogenous.
String Length: 627mm
Nut - 12th Fret: 312mm
Body Length: 455mm
Upper Bout: 212mm
Lower Bout: 273mm
At Neck Joint: 67mm
Open Sound Hole
Peghead Angle: 20 degrees
All photographs by the author.