1970s Carlo Robelli SA-500 Classical Guitar




I'm pretty sure that this Carlo Robelli-branded guitar was made by Giannini in Brazil. It's very much like their other student models right down to the knotty-pine(?) ply for the top, lack of binding, and curious short scale. While its body dimensions are mostly the same as a 00-size/classical body, its depth is a little thinner, too. I suppose that makes this more of a "folk guitar" rather than a true classical. It's voiced that way and something about these specs make the guitar more inviting and friendly. You want to pick it up.

I bought this at a local flea market (I said, "there's a Giannini!" from halfway across the field) and it was in pretty good shape -- nicks and scratches and scuffs notwithstanding -- and only needed a fret level/dress, cleaning, and some setup work. The neck is straight, it plays with 3/32" overall action at the 12th fret, and the nut width and neck depth are a little easier on the hands than a lot of nylon-strung guitars.

The current set of strings on it are a bit old and a little too light in gauge to really hear what this can do -- I kept bending the G-string out of tune because of that -- and I'll be putting a new set on as soon as my resupply comes in the mail. It'd been a while since I bought it so I was getting impatient to hear what this new toy would sound like done-up.

Specs are: 23 7/8" scale, 1 7/8" nut width, 1 9/16" string spacing at the nut, 2 5/16" spacing at the bridge, 14 1/8" lower bout, 10 7/8" upper bout, and 3 3/4" side depth. The neck has a flat fretboard and medium, C-shaped rear profile.

Woods are: ply pine(?) top, ply "something hardwood" back and sides, mahogany neck, and Brazilian rosewood fretboard and bridge (at least to my eyes). The nut and saddle are plastic and the instrument is entirely original except for a strap button I added at the heel (since it already had one at the endblock).





The purfling and rosette are inlaid.










Comments

Phillips said…
DEFINITELY a giannini looks like Brazilian lam...
Unknown said…
monticellodave@yahoo.com I have exactly the same model, picked it up for little of nothing, shipping was 5X more than I paid for the guitar, I love it. I don't mind keeping it out for easy access and don't mind if the grand kids play with it. I like the idea of having one at the house they can play with, possibly to promote interest. It has a nice look about it and it seems to be a solid build. I carry an Alverez Yairi camping but this makes a great extra if someone else wants to jamb. I've grown to like it more and will be devoting a little more time dressing her up, i.e. strings, frets and saddle adjustments. It's also a great guitar to practice these operations on before attempting on a more expensive guitar. All-n-all it's worth it, even if you just hang it on the wall for art.