Arthur Robb
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Restorations of Guitars by Louis Panormo

Twenty-one Louis Panormo guitars have been restored in my workshop. A twenty-second, made in 1849, is underway and photos are below.

Louis Panormo, 1784-1862, had a workshop in Bloomsbury, London. Many guitars were made, it may even have been a small factory. Today, his guitars are much sought after and often restored with the intention being used. They have a wonderful tone and can be a delight to play.

Some earlier Panormos have a small label which reads "Panormo Fecit". They have cross bracing under the soundboard and are smaller than later examples. Two guitars I have restored are of this type, an 1827 and an 1831. Later guitars have a larger label which reads "Louis Panormo, The only maker of Guitars in the Spanish Style". These guitars are larger and have some type of fan bracing.

The address is variously given as 40 or 46 High Street, Bloomsbury. This street is, I believe, now known as St. Giles High Street, and the address is very near to Centerpoint. The 1849 guitars have the labels altered by hand to read 31 High Street Bloomsbury.

James Westbrook, of the Brighton based Guitar Museum, has done a PhD on the Panormo guitar. The November 2013 issue of Early Music has an article by James about this work. His thesis is also being published as a book.




A Panormo that has been in the family for many years and is to be fully restored.

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The guitar as it arrived. The major problem appears to be the extraordinary number of splits in the sides.

1849d Panormo

The first job is to remove, clean and lubricate the machine heads. These Baker machines polished up well.

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In order to repair the ribs, I needed to remove the back. Always a troublesome job, the back is eventually tidied and my own label added where it can be read through the sound hole. This is a good time to photograph Mr. Panormo's label.

1849d Panormo

Once the back is finished, I will begin work on the sides. Here is a photo of part of the inside of a rib showing the cracks in the wood, other damage and previous failed repairs. I'll do one small area at a time.

Panormo Links

Giulio Tampalini plays Fernando Sor on an 1849 Panormo (not 1860 as stated in the video),
which is the first 1849 restoration linked above.
Two Guitarists playing 19th century music on Panormos.
Technical drawing of an c. 1845 Panormo in the Edinburgh University Collection of Historical Musical Instruments. The plan number is 2014. The website is never easy to use and a phone call may be necessary.
How Martin Guitars of the 19th century were influenced by the guitars of Louis Panormo.