-- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   England had no strong guitar tradition until the early nineteenth century, and what little demand that existed for guitars was readily supplied by imports. All that gradually changed after the 1789 arrival of the Panormo family, instrument makers with roots in Sicily. Vincenzo Panormo, the family patriarch, made mostly violins, but his three sons became famous for their prolific output of guitars, the quality of which was unsurpassed by any other English maker of the nineteenth century. About 1819 they came into contact with the internationally famous concert guitarist Fernando Sor (1778-1839), who provided insightful advice as well as an opportunity to study examples of fine Spanish guitars. The Panormos readily adopted a Spanish body shape and system of fan bracing for their guitar tops, and the eldest brother, Louis, advertised on his labels that he was "the only maker of guitars in the Spanish style" (the only maker outside of Spain, anyway). This early instrument exhibits a distinctive headstock design often used by the Panormos (and copied by others), with a concave upper edge.

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