One of the perks of my job is that people bring in unusual and interesting instruments to work on. Some of them are so interesting that I document them to share with others in the form of building plans.
A while ago this very beautiful guitar was brought to the shop. Lovers of 19thcentury guitars will immediately recognize the shape as a Viennese “Legnani”-model. The Italian guitar virtuoso and composer Luigi Legnani (1890-1877) collaborated with guitar makers to develop his own guitar model. The most famous examples were made by Johann Georg and Anton Stauffer. But also other makers like Scherzer, Ries and even Christian Friederich Martin would start to make this model.
Before moving to America Martin worked as a foreman in the Stauffer workshop. His first guitars also show a strong connection to his Austrian roots.
The guitar on my workbench was made by another Viennese maker, named Nikolaus Georg Ries. His style and workmanship are strongly related to that of Stauffer. The label is even similar to that found in some Stauffer guitars.
We don’t know very much about Ries life, but it is thought he started around 1820 and left the guitar making stage in 1843.
The back of the guitar is a large single piece of highly figured maple, of a quality that is nearly impossible to find these days, Along with the flamed sides they form a stunning couple.
One of the characteristic features of the Legnani model guitar is the adjustable neck joint. The neck hinges on a brass plate in the upper block. A square clock-screw goes through the heel into a brass nut in the upper block of the body. This can be used to adjust the playing action of the guitar.
I have made a complete set of plans for this guitar. It contains full size drawings of the instrument and the neck adjustment system. Besides that there is also a document with detailed photos included. Everything you need to make a faithfull copy.
The set of plans for this guitar can be purchased through my plan site: www.luthierplans.com
Click here to go to the Ries guitar plans.
Also have a look at my other plans, for example the
Stradivari, Voboam and Panormo guitars, lutes after Frei and Gerle, Cytharas, or the Trossingen and Sutton Hoo lyres and many more!