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  #1  
Old 08-09-2011, 08:46 PM
Rocky Raccoon Rocky Raccoon is offline
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Default Giannini

I recently came across a Tranquillo Giannini from 1965, which the neighbors were about to throw out.

I was wondering if anybody knows about these. I looked at several sites but couldn't find much information.

Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2011, 06:22 AM
guto guto is offline
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It is a Brazilian Made guitar, but you sure already know that . It was very popular among the "bossa-nova" players. They still make guitars today, it's one of Brazil's biggest guitar makers.

The quality depends a lot on the model, though. And the new ones aro not nearly as good as the ones from the 50's and 60'.

Is there any kind of identification on the inside of the guitar?
Also, Giannini itself might help you identify the guitar.

The english part of their website is terrible, but there is some old catalogues of instruments in portuguese.

In this page http://www.giannini.com.br/antigos.asp choose, on the second box, where its written "Época aproximada de fabricação", the option "Antes de 1960". Leave the rest as they are and click the small arrow on the right.
Then you will have the catalogues from 1950 and 1954, for all their instruments available.

The classical guitar is "Violão náilon" and the steel string guitar is "Violão Aço".

See if you might find something close to the guitar you are researching.

If you need any help, shoot me a PM.
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Old 08-12-2011, 09:57 AM
Rocky Raccoon Rocky Raccoon is offline
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Hi Guto, thank you so much for your help. I have seen many people asking about these guitars, particularly some of the vintage models.

I appreciate the links. I couldn't find the exact model but I will continue to look around. The inside say Tranquillo Giannini sa. The model is 900, and it says 12/65.

I might contact Giannini as well to find out more information. I'll keep you posted!

Thanks for your help!
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  #4  
Old 09-24-2011, 08:51 AM
Zentrails Zentrails is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Raccoon View Post
I recently came across a Tranquillo Giannini from 1965, which the neighbors were about to throw out.

I was wondering if anybody knows about these. I looked at several sites but couldn't find much information.

Thanks!
I also recently acquired a 1965 Tranquillo Giannini #900 classical guitar that I just scored from a Good Will store for $5.99.

The previous owner had sanded it down to raw wood so I can describe the wood to a certain extent - and it had rusty steel(!!) strings installed, hence the low price. It was labeled "fixer-upper."

The sound hole has a sticker in it that identifies the model (900) the serial number, (17202) and the date of manufacture, (12/65). These numbers were all added to the label by a typewriter.

If you have these numbers on your Giannini guitar label that's how you can identify it.

The front of the head stock, the fret board and the bridge are all made of what appears to be the same grade of rosewood, obviously Brazilian. The back of the headstock is a lighter color wood with a similar grain pattern as the rosewood. The rosewood part is about 1/2 inch thick so I wouldn't call it veneer, it's much too thick to call it that.

The neck (two parts, one jointed at the dove tail section), the back, sides, and front of the guitar all appear to be made of this same wood. I thought fronts were usually made of spruce, but it doesn't look like spruce to me (I'm not very good at identifying wood types) - it looks nearly the same as the body wood to my decidedly non-expert eye.

It has solid, very thick straight bracing (not X bracing) on the inside with many smaller vertical (parallel to the fret board) braces under the bridge area. No sign of plywood anywhere, but I may not know what to look for to see that.

It has what appears to be a bone nut, but the saddle is a thick piece of copper wire (most likely added later).

If you go on Giannani's website, they have catalogs and pics of classical guitars from 1960-1970, but the 900 does not appear. It does seem that higher model numbers indicate better quality product, possibly. I sent them email today asking for more info, I'll post it if I get a reply.

Mine says "made in Brazil" on it which probably means it was hand made by some pretty good craftsmen. Supposedly, Jose Feliciano used Giannani classical guitars and (caveat: one internet source) Elvis Presley purportedly had several 900's in his house for "impromptu jam sessions." Elvis did not buy cheap stuff, so if true, this guitar must have been one of the better Giannani classical guitars available at the time.

From a brochure from that time (which I stole from another post on this site ): "The finest exotic woods, Jacaranda-Brazilian rosewood, Cedro Brazilian Mahogany and imported close grained spruce are used in the superbly crafted Giannini guitars"

Despite being 46 years old, having the finish stripped off, the saddle replaced, and having steel(!!) stings installed, this thing is still in near perfect shape with a straight neck and no cracks anywhere except for one brace having what looks like a easily repairable grain defect crack.

Even the accent lines are still there around the sound hole and the binding area (or racing stripes or whatever they are called), which suggests to me that they were not just applied using a cheap decal, but were engraved fairly deep into the wood (I'm guessing with some sort of different colored stencil pen engraving tool like a tatoo artist might use). I'm obviously not an expert on how guitars are made.

There is only a slight bulge below the bridge area, despite the use of steel strings and no sign of the neck lifting, pulling free of the dove tail joint, or high action. I'm removing that bulge with weights right now and expect it to be perfectly flat when I'm finished. That's evidence of some REAL good, solid construction.

Any guesses of what kind of wood the front, sides, neck, and back are made of? I'd guess mahogany, except the color is too light, much lighter than the rosewood color. It'll be interesting to see what color I end up with after several coats of tung oil.

Meanwhile, after I'm done weighting the top straight, I'll get out the magnifying glass and scout the Internet for some good "identify the wood your guitar is made of" sites and try to identify the wood myself.

No matter what, if you can get one of these from a GW store in decent shape for $6, grab it. At the very least you can give it as a present to someone who likes to fool around with guitars.

I could tell, even with rusty steel strings installed, that it has a a real nice sound to it and it will look great with a finish. I can't wait to see what it looks and sounds like with a proper finish, proper strings, and a bone saddle.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:15 AM
Rocky Raccoon Rocky Raccoon is offline
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Hi, thanks for this informative post. I don't know much about constructing guitar either and it's been tough to find some information on these older Giannini models. I have also heard that the older models are of better quality.

Mine still had some old nylon strings on it, and even with those tunes significantly lower than standard pitch, the sound is still nice.

I guess they used rosewood, but maybe the top is spruce as it is much lighter in color.

I'd be interested to see what they say. If you get a reply from them, please keep me posted!!
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2011, 06:27 PM
Zentrails Zentrails is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocky Raccoon View Post
Hi, thanks for this informative post. I don't know much about constructing guitar either and it's been tough to find some information on these older Giannini models. I have also heard that the older models are of better quality.

Mine still had some old nylon strings on it, and even with those tunes significantly lower than standard pitch, the sound is still nice.

I guess they used rosewood, but maybe the top is spruce as it is much lighter in color.

I'd be interested to see what they say. If you get a reply from them, please keep me posted!!
No reply yet, but under better light, the top does indeed look like spruce.

According to this site:
http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?1846630-Brazilian-Rosewood-How-do-you-identify


rosewood has prominent "pores" which my guitar certainly does. It was made in 1965 so importing Brazilian rosewood the states was still legal then. Another site says that Brazilian rosewood has a "hairy" feel to it and mine has that as well.

I hope it is made of Brazilian rosewood, that would add to it's "cool" factor. Seems a lot lighter in color than the pics I've come across on the internet, but that just may be because it's sanded down to raw wood.

Here's one of Elvis' 900s:
http://www.elvis.net/guitars/giannini70.html

It says it's made of rosewood, but who knows if that is correct. It also doesn't explain how they determined the model number so it's possible they got that wrong.

It looks exactly like my guitar, though, except mine doesn't have that white line running down the back (sanded off?), the neck looks like a different color from the back and sides, and my sound hole is inscribed with inner and outer circles, with the inner going to the last fret like that guitar, but an outer one that goes to the second to last fret.

It's going to be a beaut when I'm done giving it a nice Tung oil finish.
I already know it sounds pretty darn good, but I don't have another decent classical to compare it with.
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Old 10-03-2011, 07:47 AM
Rocky Raccoon Rocky Raccoon is offline
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Thanks for the links. Looks like Elvis had a slightly more recent model but mine looks very similar to the picture. I'm sure yours too.

It definitely looks like a spruce top. I think somebody must've painted the back and sides of mine.

Definitely a cool find!

Keep me posted if they get back to you!
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