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2011 La Guitarra California Festival
The Forderer Collection of Rare & Historic Guitars
Jim Forderer has acquired one of the most impressive collection of rare and historic guitars in the world.  The festival is proud to provide our attendees the chance to view this unique and priceless collection.  And at our festival you can actually pick up these rare instruments and play them!
*Click on the 4 links at the end of the list of instruments to see a video journey of this amazing collection.

Here's a partial list of the instrments that will be displayed at the festival.  There may be other instruments included: 

Early Instruments:

1.   Cithara  c. 2000 Africa BC (replica)
2.   Ud   c. 1500 Egypt, (replica)
3.   Renaissance Lute 1973, David Rubio, Semly, UK
4.   Baroque Lute  1974, David Rubio, Semly, UK,
5.   English guitar 1752, John Preston, London, UK
6.   Vihuela  1967, Madrid, Spain (made for and played by Emilio Pujol)
7.   Baroque guitar 1745, Paris, France (all original including the rosette)
8.   Baroque guitar c. 1780 Troyes, France, Villaume & Giron,
(an important transitional instrument to single string instruments)

Original Instruments:
9.     1785, Giovanni Battista Fabricatore, Naples, Italy
(one of the first single 6 string guitars made)

10.  1809, Mauchant Brothers. ,
Mirecourt, France
(a very early arch-top guitar)

11.  1826, A&F Roudhloff,
London, England
(earliest X braced guitar)

12.  1822, Gaetani Guadagini,
Turin, Italy

13.  1829, Invented by Jean-Francois Solomon,
Paris, France
(played By Franado Sor)

14. c. 1830, Johann Staufer,
Vienna Austria (Legnini model)

15. c. 1830, Attributed to Beau,
Mirecourt, France
(double top, double sound hole model)

16.  1836, Rene Locote,
Paris France
(showing unique tuning gears which Locote invented)

17. c. 1840, Christian Fedrick Martin,
Nazareth, Penn.
(Martin and Coupa label, Spanish style)

18.  1843, Louis Panarmo,
London England

19. c. 1845, Shappel (importers)
made in Mirecourt, France
 (unique bridge with pin saddle and scalloped fingerboard)

20.  1846, Jaun Perfumo,
Cadiz, Spain
(same construction as 50 years earlier Spanish fan bracing)

21. 1862, Adam Sidney
(Importer) Mirecourt, France

22. 1878, Antonio Tores,
Almeria, Spain (replica)

23  1899, Enrique Garcia,
Barcelona, Spain
(Madrid type body with light construction)

24. 1904, Vincente Arias,
Madrid, Spain (V. Arias was acontemporary of
Toretres - there are approximately 26 of these instruments known to exist)

25.  1903, Manuel Ramirez,
Madrid Spain

26. 1910, Luigi Mozzani,
Cento Italy
(this is the top model of his harp guitar)

27. 1918, Jose Ramirez,
Madrid, Spain
(tablo flamenco, same style he used for 30 years)

28. 1923, Mario Maccafari,
Cento, Italy
(Maccafari’s personal instrument for tour in Europe,
this is the only 10-string guitar he ever built)

29. 1919, Domingo Esteso, Madrid Spain

(this guitar was once owned and played by Sabicas)

30. 1923, Herman Hauser I,
Munchen, Germany
(this is his Viennese Model)

31. 1928 Santos Hernandez,
Madrid, Spain
(an early example of one of the first Flamenco Negra guitars.)

32. 1928 Bambino Guitar,
(this instrument was most likely made for a noble man’s child)

33. 1927, C.F. Martin & Co. Model 00-45,
Nazareth, Penn. USA
(only 94 of this Model 00-45 were made between 1904 and 1936)

34. 1929, Francisco Simplicio,
Barcelona, Spain
 (Simplicio’s middle model, owned and recorded by Manuel Ramirez Esquela)

35. 1935, Julian Gomez Ramirez,
Paris, France
(this instrument was made for Mario Maccaferi)

36. 1951, Jose Ramirez II,
Madrid, Spain

37. 1951, Manuel Rodriquez,
Madrid, Spain

38. 1956, Ignacio Fleta,
Barcelona, Spain (this is the first Fleta that
John Williams owned and he recorded his first two albums with this instrument)

39. 1981, Jose Ramirez III,
Madrid, Spain
(Centenirio Model, top of the line Ramirez)

40. 1997, John Gilbert,
Woodside, CA, USA
(with the help of his son, Bill, this is the last guitar John Gilbert made)

*Click on the 3 links below to take a video journey of this amazing collection:

Part 3: 

Part 4:


Shortly before the 2007 Festival, Jim Forderer gave this interview to Russ De Angelo, the Festival Director:

RD:      Jim, how did your wonderful collection get its start?
JF:        This collection started in 1993 at a time when I had just turned 50 years old. I had been a horse trainer and judge for many years but during that time I adopted quite a few disabled children and I was finding that I really didn't have enough time to spend with the horses and meet the needs of my 18 children.  I needed a hobby that I could do late at night and one that I could start and stop doing at the drop of a hat.  Horses are not a good choice when most of your free time comes after midnight and where you may only want to spend 30 minutes doing at a time.  Music had always been an interest of mine and guitar playing as a hobby goes way back in my life.  I realized that guitars could be acquired at a very reasonable price compared to instruments like the violin. As I got more into the hobby I found that the guitar had a very interesting history.  Since I knew that I would never acquire the skills to be a really good player I decided to turn my attention to the history of the instrument.

RD:      What was your first "major" acquisition?
JF:        My first historical guitar was the 1919 Esteso. That got me interested in the Madrid school and its relation to the Ramirez guitars and now I was off and running.  I do not have a lot of money to spend on this hobby so I found myself doing a lot of trading around.

Over the years I have owned many interesting instruments. In fact I have owned instruments from just about all of the finer makers of the world at one time or another. Since I was buying and trading a lot of instruments my name became known to many dealers around the country and later, around the world.

Of course, there are many fine instruments out there so I decided to focus the collection on the development of the guitar from its beginning in about 1785 to the present with an emphases on pre WWII instruments.

I also collected some instruments that pre date the guitar such as lutes, vihuelas and Baroque guitars. I have a good friend in England who specializes in this sort of instrument and has been a great help in providing me access to the older instruments.  At the present time I have acquired a pretty good representation of the evolution of the guitar and am only interested in acquiring instruments that have a unique part in the development of the instrument.

RD:      What instrument would you like to add to the collection?
JF:        Unfortunately, the one guitar maker that has eluded me (or rather my pocketbook) is a Torres. I had one at one time but found out that it had been so changed by its many repairs over the years that it was no longer a true Torres.

RD:      Where has the collection been exhibited in the past and where will your collection be displayed in the future?
JF:        My collection is constantly changing and evolving.  It is never the same from one showing to the next. The best part of the collection has been displayed at your wonderful festival the past six years.  I’ve displayed the collection at last year's GAL convention in Seattle, Washington, at the Guitar festival at Fresno State College, and several times for the South Bay Guitar Society in San Jose.

Because of the logistical problems, I have not taken them to the East coast but I will probably take the Arias back to Italy later this month to be in an exhibition of that maker's work.  There are only about 24 of these guitars known to exist.  The Baroque guitars will be shown in an exhibit at CSUN in Los Angeles during the month of October.
Of course, we love the La Guitarra California Festival and I look forward to participating in this great Festival.
RD:  We are honored to be able to present your wonderful collection to our attendees.

“So here is the collection. You are welcome to look at, pick up and play the instruments as you like. I only ask that you treat them with respect and do not tap or strum the instruments with your nails as some of these instruments are extremely rare (one of a kind) and I am their current custodian and hope to preserve their beauty and condition so that future generations can enjoy them as I hope you are enjoying them now,” Jim Forderer

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