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Belchior Dias

















Copy of a fluted-vaulted baroque guitar by Belchior Dias, Lisbon 1581, now at the Royal College of Music, London. The oldest surviving 5-course guitar, or a late vihuela, according to a long debate.  The original is an exquisite instrument, with rosewood ribs bent in both ways, using a complicated technique that has been lost. It may have been made with steam bending, as has this version. The egg-shelled back supports itself remarkably well, and does not need bars, making this a very light and resonant instrument,  with rosewood and ebony back, sides, and veneered neck. Tuned in g, with ten frets. The original rose and soundboard did not survive a repair made around the 18thC. , so this version borrows a graceful rose from the collection of the Royal College of Music.