1829 Gennaro Fabricatore II

Naples, Italy 

Gennaro Fabricatore II (1800–1853) was the son of the violin and guitar maker Gennaro Fabricatore I, and the grandnephew of the pioneering luthier Giovanni Battista Fabricatore, credited with crafting the first six single-string guitars in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Gennaro II made violins and cellos but like most members of the Fabricatore family, he is best remembered for his guitars.

Date 1829
Location Naples, Italy
Length of Guitar 933mm
String Length 646mm
Upper Bout Width 238mm
Waist Width 170mm
Lower Bout Width 305mm
Side Depth at Waist 85mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Curly Maple | Sides: Curly Maple | Details: Ornate, hand-cut ebony appliqué applied to the soundboard adorned with mother of pearl inlay.

Maker Biography

Performance Video

The Fabricatores were based in Naples and ran ateliers producing guitars under the name Gennaro Fabricatore without crediting either Gennaro I or Gennaro II as the maker on their labels. “Gennaro Fabricatore” was marketed as a brand just as “Martin” is a brand used today by C. F. Martin & Co., who sells guitars without identifying the actual builder(s) on their interior stamps.

Based on the date and address of the 1829 Fabricatore in the Austin-Marie Collection, it is likely this guitar was made in the shop of Gennaro II. It is a premium model adorned with mother of pearl inlay bordering the entire spruce soundboard. The inlay motif continues up both sides of the neck before cresting at the top of the peg headstock. The ebony bridge mustache appliqué is quite ornate, typical of many of Fabricatore’s guitars. The sides and one-piece back are made of curly maple.

Mauro Giuliani played a Fabricatore guitar, and it is well documented that the violin virtuoso Niccolò Paganini owned (and signed) a Gennaro Fabricatore guitar from 1826.

The earlier contributions by Fabricatore family members to the evolution of guitar design are unparalleled, but their later instruments were somewhat outdated by comparison. Elaborate inlays with bridge mustachios, embedded necks that met the body before the octave (or 12th fret), friction pegs, one-piece backs, etc. were all design elements that became increasingly outdated during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Nevertheless, we know that the Fabricatores continued manufacturing quality instruments up until 1854, when we find the last surviving guitar bearing their label.