The Altamira Brand
Solid top guitars, hand crafted using traditional construction methods to produce instruments of the highest quality
Altamira Guitars are named after the Cave of Altamira in Spain, famous for its upper paleolithic cave paintings featuring drawings and polychrome rock paintings of human hands and wild mammals (the inspiration for the Altamira logo). It was the first cave in which prehistoric cave paintings were discovered and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. With its name based on a traditional Spanish landmark, and with the classical guitars' deep Spanish roots, Altamira guitar luthiers strive to follow in the footsteps of the great Spanish luthiers, obeying traditional Spanish construction methods to produce consistently high quality instruments at great value.
Observe the high level of craftsmanship and finesse involved in the making of an Altamira guitar. All instruments are hand crafted based on traditional Spanish construction methods from premium rosewood, spruce and cedar woods, and are all solid top guitars. Solid top guitars use one solid piece of wood for the top (soundboard) of the guitar. Laminate top guitars (which are significantly cheaper) use a mixture of woods combined as a mesh. The top of the guitar is the vital component for generating sound, vibrating as a string is plucked. With solid top guitars, the more this soundboard vibrates, the more this single piece of wood adapts and 'opens up' which improves the quality of sound as the guitar ages over time. This is not the case for laminate guitars which have more rigid tops and thus do not experience this improvement in sound quality. All Altamira guitars (ranging from the entry level 'Basico' up to the professional series concert guitars) are solid top guitars.
Traditional Design - inspired by the great Antonio de Torres
Altamira guitar luthiers strive to follow in the footsteps of the great Spanish luthiers. Antonio de Torres Jurado (13 June 1817 in Almería, Andalucía – 19 November 1892) was a Spanish luthier, and the most important guitar maker in the history of guitar design. Torres was responsible for creating the guitar in the size we know of today. It is with his designs that the first recognisably modern classical guitars are to be seen. All acoustic guitars in use today are derivatives of his designs.
Torres guitars are divided into two periods. The first, belonging to Sevilla from 1852–1870; the second being the years 1871-1893 in Almería. The guitars Torres made were so superior to those of his contemporaries that their example changed the way guitars were built, first in Spain, and then in the rest of the world. Although they are not particularly loud by modern standards, they have a clear, balanced, firm and rounded tone that projects very well. His guitars were widely imitated and copied.
While the overall pattern of the modern classical guitar derives from Torres, there are some difference between Torres' classical guitars and the modern instrument. Torres' guitars all had soundboards of European spruce whereas nowadays Cedar is commonly used for classical guitars. Luthiers have continued to develop the bracing of the soundboard, but most still use some version of the fan-bracing that Torres' pioneered. Altamira pays homage to Torres' original fan bracing method in all Altamira guitars, but also features some modern developments on some models including Hauser editions and Bouchet bars.