Antonio Torres Jurado

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Prelude by Tarrega played on 1854 Torres Guitar by Brian Whitehouse:

Antonio Torres Jurado (13 June 1817-19 November 1892) was a famous Spanish luthier and guitarist who is remembered as one of the most important guitar makers in the history, and has had a profound influence on succeeding generations of luthiers. He skill was taking the traditional European forms of guitars that were popular at that time and making them superior in every aspect.

Antonio was born in La Canada de San Urbano, Almeria in summer of 1817 as the son of tax collector Juan Torres and his wife Maria Jurado. He spent his youth as carpenter apprentice, and was briefly drafted into army at the age of 16 before his father managed to relieve him from service under the fasle pretext of him being medically unfit. Young Antonio was immediately pushed into marriage with 3 year younger Juana Maria Lopez, who gave him 3 children. Of those three children, two youngest died, including Juana who died later at the age of 25 from tuberculosis.

It is proable that in 1842 Antonio Torres Jurado started learning the craft of guitar making from Jose Pernas in Granada. He returned in Seville and opened shop where he created his own guitars. It was there that he came into contact with many musicians and composers, who encouraged him to innovate and create new guitars that they could use for their performances. Famously, Antonio took advice from renowned guitarist and composer Julian Arcas and started his early work on what would become the modern classical guitar.

He remarried in 1868 and continued working in Sevile all up to 1870, at which point he and his wife moved to Almeria where they opened china and crystal shop. There he started part time work of building guitars, which he continued building full time. After death of his wide in 1883 he continued to build around 12 guitars per year, until his death in 1892.

Torres guitars were regarded as vastly superior to any other guitars that were made in Spain and Europe at that time. His design became a blueprint for nearly all modern acoustic guitars, and have been imitated and copied across the world until this day.