Legendery Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari is generally considered the most significant and greatest artisan in his field, constructing the world’s finest violins that today are sold for millions of dollars.
In his lifetime he (and the Stradivari family) produced over 1000 instruments, of which 960 were violins, however a small number of guitars were also crafted, and as of today only one remains playable.
Antonio Stradivari made the “Sabionari” guitar in 1679, however at the beginning of the nineteenth century, (like many other baroque guitars) it was augmented to follow the style of more modern instruments of that time.
Recently, Daniel Sinier and Francoise de Ridder restored it back to its original baroque configuration (documented in the fall 2014 #119 issue of American Luthier), with 4 double Catgut strings (A D G B) and a single E string. With fellow veteran luthier Lorenzo Frignani maintaining the instrument currently, keeping in a usable condition.
The “Sabionari” is owned by a private collector, and could be considered to be solely a museum piece. However in the clip below we can hear in action, as Baroque concert guitarist Rolf Lislevand performs Santiago de Murcia’s “Tarantela” using the Stradivarius guitar.
To find out more about the history of the “Sabionari” Stradivarius, visit sabionari.com