Zachary checks into a classical guitar from across the Atlantic.
Dear Trash or Treasure,
I am the owner of a Telesforo Julve guitar that I purchased about 25 years ago; I would love to know more about the builder, year, and current market value. Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Jon Griffin, Portugal
I’m glad to hear that PG is reaching audiences nearly halfway around the world! Although our Blue Books are very comprehensive, there are several manufacturers or brands, especially outside of the U.S., that we know nothing about. Telesforo Julve is a great example of one of these unknown manufacturers. Your letter not only gives me the opportunity to answer your request, but also to provide some facts for myself and for many American readers.
Telesforo Julve was a classical and flamenco guitar builder that built guitars in Valencia, Spain starting around 1890 and running through the 1930s. Julve reportedly built many guitars with a tornavoz – a tube that sat inside of the soundhole and extended to the back of the guitar. At the time, this tube was supposed to greatly enhance the sound of the guitar and blend the bass and treble notes better. It seemed like a good idea, but by WWII, most builders had stopped using the tornavoz. The label Julve used inside his guitar seems to be fairly common as I’ve seen a few guitars with the same label.
I can’t seem to find any information about a U.S. distributor, and it is possible that these guitars were never imported to America. However, I’ve found several examples that people have picked up at guitar shows and garage sales that lead me to think someone had to be bringing them here. Many of the reviews that I’ve read about these guitars indicate that the guitars are very well-built and have a nice warm sound.
Your model has a nylon string setup with a larger, almost grand concertstyle body. The cutaway is very unusual, as it is unlike any traditional cutaway used on a classical guitar. It also has very ornate inlays around the top and the soundhole that may be a pearl or ivory material. Based on the obscurity of the builder, the high-quality of the guitar, and the overall good condition, I would value this instrument between $500 and $700. This is a large range because there are not a lot of these that come up for sale. Most examples that I referenced were sold for a negotiated price since nobody knew what they were worth! From the reviews I have seen, these guitars play well and are relatively inexpensive, and for this, I would definitely consider this guitar a treasure!
Zachary R. Fjestad
Zachary R. Fjestad is the author of the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars, Blue Book of Electric Guitars, and the Blue Book of Guitar Amplifiers.
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