NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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Telliot
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Re: Incoming NGD! Guess what it is?

Post by Telliot » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:09 am

Is it a hurdy-gurdy?? :w00t:
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Incoming NGD! Guess what it is?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:01 am

It's a Romantic guitar by the luthier Robert Barth (1864-1945). Exact year of build is not known, but features point toward roughly the turn of the 20th century (late Romantic era). Notably, it's built in the early Romantic style of several decades earlier, as used by those like Fernando Sor, and not the de Torres design that was, by that point, dominating guitar building (as it does to this day).

To quote the seller,
Robert Barth is a famous builder of instruments in the renowned Markneukirchen and Vogtland style. He was given the title of königlichen Hoflieferanten - "Royal Warrant of appointment" making him a Royal purveyer of instruments under the highest title which was bestowed upon instrument builders by the King.
I've been getting back into classical guitar lately, and very intensely desire to learn to play the baroque lute (baroque lute repertoire being my favourite, even on guitar), but those instruments are crazy expensive and tough to get a hold of. So, while I'm on that hunt, I'm focusing on my favourite repertoire of actual guitar music, which is the Romantic era. This guitar popped up on the Dartmouth "Lute For Sale" page (which also hosts ads for other period instruments), and my jaw hit the floor.

I'm so incredibly excited to play Romantic repertoire on a period instrument. I've never had an instrument with 120 years of music history in my hands before. It has a few soundboard cracks, all professionally stabilized and repaired years ago, but precious little damage otherwise. Somehow, over a century later, it still has perfect action (the seller is a professional classical guitar and historic instrument player, so I trust his word on that).

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by Telliot » Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:22 am

:-* :w00t: :-*

That’s fantastic, congratulations!!
The cool thing about fretless is you can hit a note...and then renegotiate.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by antisymmetric » Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:40 pm

Telliot wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:22 am
:-* :w00t: :-*
Exactly. Can't stop gazing at the pics. Beautiful. :-*
Watching the corners turn corners

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by wproffitt » Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:07 pm

Wow! I did not see that coming!😅

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by Maggieo » Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:01 pm

Telliot wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:22 am
:-* :w00t: :-*

That’s fantastic, congratulations!!
Holy cow! Absolutely amazing!!!
“Now I am quietly waiting for/ the catastrophe of my personality/ to seem beautiful again.”- Frank O'Hara
I am not an attorney and this post is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state for legal advice.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by mbene085 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:21 pm

Telliot wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:22 am
:-* :w00t: :-*

That’s fantastic, congratulations!!
Thanks! I'm giddy with anticipation in a way I haven't been for years.
antisymmetric wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 12:40 pm
Exactly. Can't stop gazing at the pics. Beautiful. :-*
I'm glad it's not just me. I was utterly captivated by this the moment I saw it. The contrast between the dark neck and the amber maple back has a real "lute" feel to it that you just don't see on modern guitars.

I especially like this photo because it's the closest I have to a "player's eye view":

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wproffitt wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 1:07 pm
Wow! I did not see that coming!😅
No one expects...the Spanish Romantic repertoire!

I didn't want to leave people hanging too long with the guessing game, because this was pretty much going to be an impossible one to see coming, haha.
Maggieo wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:01 pm
Holy cow! Absolutely amazing!!!
Thanks! This is a guitar deserving of a Maggieo style photo shoot once it arrives, but I'm afraid I couldn't do it justice. These photos from the seller will be better than any cell phone pics I could take.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by windmill » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:44 pm

You might have to add some cash if you want to trade it for a R9 Les Paul.

:)

Looks the goods

How loud is it ?

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by BoringPostcards » Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:57 pm

Wow, that's something I'd love to try. I've never really played a quality classical style guitar of any kind. Only the basic cheap modern ones.
I love playing on nylon strings.
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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by Maggieo » Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:32 pm

I love how much history is in that instrument. :-*
“Now I am quietly waiting for/ the catastrophe of my personality/ to seem beautiful again.”- Frank O'Hara
I am not an attorney and this post is for entertainment purposes only. Please consult a licensed attorney in your state for legal advice.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by mbene085 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 7:13 pm

windmill wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:44 pm
You might have to add some cash if you want to trade it for a R9 Les Paul.

:)

Looks the goods

How loud is it ?
Never been a Les Paul guy, wouldn't trade any of my guitars 1:1 for an R9 unless I was allowed to sell it and buy offsets instead 8)

It's making its way from Germany to Canada at the moment, so I can't yet comment on volume. I suspect it will be quieter than my modern classical guitar, with less bass and more focus on note fundamentals (basic characteristics of the era). The tone of a classical guitar is so highly dependent on technique and string composition that the same instrument in someone else's hands easily sounds vastly different in my own, but here is a video by the gentleman who sold it me, a very talented musician by the name of Polivios.
BoringPostcards wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:57 pm
Wow, that's something I'd love to try. I've never really played a quality classical style guitar of any kind. Only the basic cheap modern ones.
I love playing on nylon strings.
Classical guitars are one of those deep rabbit holes, where the sky is the limit in terms of playing experience and tone, but they get expensive fast. I remember, when I was still on my $300 La Patrie beginner guitar, my teacher let me play his guitar, which cost $5k or so in 90's bucks, and it absolutely floored me. You could hardly even call them the same instrument. I now own a "similar league" guitar, but have played modern builds pushing the envelope of design and workmanship with things like double-tops (two thin wood layers sandwiched by a graphite lattice) costing 4-5 times as much, and the sheer volume, responsiveness and magnificence of tone that leap out of those instruments is astounding. You could get lost just playing arpeggios and listening to the notes ring out.

Modern classical guitars seem to suffer the least from diminishing returns of any type of guitar...the more you're willing or able to shell out, the more you can really expect to be amazed. But this guitar kinda exists outside that paradigm; it cost a lot less than I'd expect it to, partly because the old designs and tone aesthetics are highly unfashionable in the classical guitar world right now. Few people want to hear Sor played on the type of guitar he played himself. They want to hear it on the loudest, most brilliant, most bassy, most harmonically complex instrument they can (and I get it...those guitars do sound wonderful).

It's kinda like how nobody wants to hear a P Bass run through a '59 Bassman at 200-person gig anymore, even if the band is playing stuff from '59. They want to hear it through a massive FOH system with subwoofers that can shake the floor.

But a '59 P bass still sounds pretty damn cool through a '59 Bassman, and this is a similar type of thing. Hearing the way these songs sounded at the time they were written is not something I've ever had the opportunity to do before.
Maggieo wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 5:32 pm
I love how much history is in that instrument. :-*
It literally sets my heart racing. I can't imagine the number of people who have played this before me. The music they played on it, what their lives were like. The man who built it was literally rewarded with a title - by a king - for being good at his job, in a country that hasn't even had a king for over a century. It's mind-boggling.

North Americans don't get to interact with pieces of history like that on a regular basis. It's awesome.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by Jaguar018 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:07 pm

You’re just going to play Stairway to Heaven on it aren’t you? :-/

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by mbene085 » Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:28 pm

Jaguar018 wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 9:07 pm
You’re just going to play Stairway to Heaven on it aren’t you? :-/
Image

And no. I most certainly won't be.

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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by sookwinder » Sun Aug 23, 2020 8:18 am

wow! that is nice. please tell us how it smells when you receive it. I love the smell of old instruments.
What caused me to verbalise what I was thinking as I looked at the photos was the photo of the back of the instrument. That is nice.

congrats and as they say, well played.
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Re: Incoming NGD! The guessing is done...it's a Romantic guitar by Robert Barth!

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Sun Aug 23, 2020 10:16 am

Beautiful!

I've been tempted to buy another classical guitar as a couch player, seeing as the one I used to play is at my mum's iN England.

This thing is on another level though. Exquisite!
BoringPostcards wrote:
Sat Aug 22, 2020 4:57 pm
I love playing on nylon strings.
Likewise. So much fun!
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