Original 19th Century Early Romantic guitar – Francois Roudhloff

July 9, 2023

For Sale

A superlative class instrument of the highest order!

With a heavy heart I am selling this outstanding guitar. When it comes to the world of the Romantic Guitar, luthier Francois Roudhloff (1781-1849) needs no introduction. He is considered one of the finest guitar builders this world has ever seen, listed along such names as Lacote, Stauffer and Panormo, but for many he is considered the superior builder. The unique projection, and rich velvety timbre of his guitars combined with impeccably precise craftsmanship make them some of the most sought after by professional guitarists and collectors alike. The pinnacle of the early 19th century guitar.

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This guitar is in absolutely remarkable condition with no cracks to the soundboard and sides, which is somewhat of a miracle. Constructed with the highest quality woods and materials available. Spruce top, gorgeous brasilian rosewood sides and back, ebony fingerboard, and yes, that is whalebone purfling! – Truly a wonder to behold, that defies the sense of many a modern luthier. The headstock has been fitted with stunning original Demet tuners that work incredibly smoothly. The beautiful bridge with single piece ebony is original. The inner work is precise in every detail. The varnish is original. A most characteristic innovation is the fingerboard of ebony, embedded half-thickness into the soundboard. This is a construction technique copied from guitars by the Neapolitan Gennaro Frabricatore, whose instruments at that time were played by great virtuosos such as Mauro Giuliani and Niccolò Paganini. This particular way of fitting the fingerboard enables the guitarist to achieve a different acoustic response.

The sound of a Roudhloff is a unique experience – with a powerful volume and rich sound, full of colour but wrapped in a characteristically warm velvety timbre. Perfectly balanced throughout all registers, with resonant full basses and a projecting sing top, and a well poised middle register. The intonation is impeccable, one of the best I have played – from historical master guitars to modern instruments. The inner legato and singing vocal quality of overtones is magical. A guitar with a voice that speaks.

The guitar is branded F. Roudhloff Mauchand, as was the manner at the time. F. Roudhloff is considered one of the greatest guitar builders in history, and his building traversed many styles, but this particular model is his finest, as his final signature model and the summation of all technique. The aesthetic is stunning, and for me one of the best of all early romantic guitars. It was exceedingly unique and modern at the time due its refined sleek minimalism, in that he sought to strip away all of the gaudy inlays and excessive  decoration, (he also built many in that style too), I think he was entirely successful in producing a new and beautiful aesthetic for the guitar. These instruments have now become exceedingly scarce, and come around very rarely, perhapa once in a lifetime… With grief am I parting with this guitar – but I do have another F. Roudhloff I am keeping! It was a tough decision, but one Roudhloff in the collection should be enough.

An ideal guitar for professional use in the field of historically informed performance practice technique, as well as for the collector. Obviously such an instrument is a wise investment as they will never depreciate, and in fact are currently rapidly rising in value.

This particular guitar is a true “holy grail” of guitars, given its condition – particularly with no cracks to the soundboard. Whether the Demet tuning machines were fitted later or not, I cannot discern with absolute conviction, but from a performers perspective this increases the value immensely, as they are much more practical and precise than pegs. It also makes the guitar entirely unique, I have never seen another F. Roudhloff with them.

Original Coffin case included.

String length 62.5
Width at nut: 4.7

Do not hesitate to make contact regarding further questions or concerns.

The world renowned guitar expert and scholar/luthier, Bernd Kresse has said of F. Roudhloff – regarding a similar guitar:
“….Francois Roudhloff from around 1830. The stamp signature F. Roudhloff-Mauchant points to the time of his Paris workshop with the violin/guitar maker Nicolas Mauchant. Both were related by marriage. Marriage between members of individual instrument makers and families resulting double names were quite common in the 18th and 19th century Lorraine region. Stylistically the most Roudhloff guitars differ greatly from the elegant ivory and mother of pearl decorated instruments of his Paris colleagues. The inserts and double soundhole rings are of simple elegance and understated aesthetics. Sonically Roudhloffs instruments impress by a velvety dark but very strong tone of unusual substance…. think the luthier François Roudhloff deserves to be mentioned in addition to his famous colleagues like Stauffer, Panormo, and Lacôte.”

I might add that the sons of Francois Roudhloff continued the traditionn under the label, D. A. Roudhloff, but their guitars are not to be confused with the work of their father. Unfortunately they never achieved the same quality of craftsmanship and are far less valuable.

CONTACT poliviosart@gmail.com