Arthur Robb
Luthier
art@art-robb.co.uk
0044 (0)1666-822945
07984-892570

1834 LOUIS PANORMO

NUMBER 2218

The guitar as it arrived, with friction pegs.

The owner is from Cornwall, England. The guitar has been in the family for many years and has been played and appreciated as a wonderful guitar. It has deteriorated and came to me for restoration. The intention here is to make the guitar stable and playable, without doing any irreversible repairs. The owner does not wish to sell, but wants nothing done to reduce the potential value. He intends to play the guitar himself, as he has done before. There is no necessity in this case to prepare the guitar for sale. The friction tuning pegs will be kept.

The owner wrote: "I showed my father the pictures [of other Panormos I had restored] and he was delighted and very interested to see the other guitars. We chatted about how he came by ours. You may be amused to learn as an eleven year old (just after the war) he bought it from my great Uncle George for the princely sum of £2.00 and learned a few tunes so that he could accompany George on his Balalaika. The Balalaika still hangs on my sisters wall, a beastly thing with an action one could loose an arm in. Played it once and still have the scars."

The back was easily removed, revealing many previous repairs, including a mahogany plate glued beneath the bridge. As the guitar uses bridge pins, the wood below the bridge deteriorates and many Panormos have such a plate, often inserted through the sound hole. The smear of glue as the plate was slid back is obvious proof of this.

First the plate was carefully removed. Then using cotton wool and water to soften the old hide glue, the joint between the back and body was made as new. At the lower end of the guitar, quite a few simultaneous repairs were needed; clamps, a large elastic band and string held the pieces together as the new hide glue set.

This is very close to the original state of the inside of the guitar before Mr. Panormo glued on the back in 1834. The main difference is that the holes for the bridge pins have become damaged.

To reinforce the holes for the bridge pins, a thin plate of maple is glued over the holes. These will be drilled when the new bridge pins are fitted. Both soundboard bars had become loose in places and the photo on the right shows one location being clamped while gluing.

When removing the back, both bars on become completely detached. Replacing them gave me the opportunity to clean up excessive glue from previous repairs. There were several major cracks in the back, mostly from distortion of the rosewood. The cracks were closed, the rosewood flattened and reinforcement dots placed over the cracks. Later these were dyed dark brown to be less obvious from the sound hole.

The label on this guitar was never easy to read.

The guitar as finished in October 2010. The friction pegs work remarkably well. I strung it with Savarez White Card - light tension strings and tuned it to concert pitch. The guitar has a wonderful tone.

Dimensions:
String length: 630mm
Overall Length: 935mm
Width of upper bout: 227mm
Width at waist: 175mm
Width at lower bout: 285mm
Height at upper bout: 92mm
Height at lower bout: 99mm
Nut width: 46.5mm

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