English Guittar (Preston English Guitar) 18th century England--Not For Sale. This instrument is over 200 years old.

This is a 6-course 10-string English Guitar (English Guitar) made in London by Preston. This name appears on the back of the head. According Pedro Caldeira Cabral's book, A Guitarra Portuguesa, there was a John N. Preston who was an active maker from 1734 to 1770. He was one of the good makers of his time.

This type of guittar (spelled with 2 "t"s) was popular during the American Colonial period. It was often found in taverns, bordellos and barbershops at the time of George Washington, Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. It was widely played in Britain during the 18th century. It is rare to find an instrument of this age with what appears to be the original varnish. It needs some special repair work (shown below--back separation, small face fissures, frets, and replacement of lost inlays) but enough of it is original and in good shape so that it can be restored to very good playing condition.

Behind the head you can see the stamp "Preston Maker" and below that "London". Above the words is the stamp of His Majesty George the Third.

This instrument has the watch-key tuner supposedly invented by Preston. The typical tuning for the English Guittar (CEG ceg) is engraved in the head

The finish of this guittar appears to be original. The back plates are separated by a 2mm gap and the back braces are presently not glued to the back. The face has 3 thin cracks--once the back is removed it will be easy to repair these cracks.

The back and sides appear to be flamed maple and the face, a close grain softwood (pine, spruce?). The varnish is in very good condition.

The back plates and sides have no cracks.

There are some small ornamental pieces of shell and 2 small strips of shell missing in the head.

There is an ornamental stone or shell missing at the bottom and top of the fingerboard.

Here is a nice inlay in the fingerboard.

The ebony fingerboard on the side at the 8th fret is missing (1/8" x 1/8" x 1/2").

There is a small crack in the head which had been glued together but is visible.

The back left panel is unglued which should aid in the removal of the back.

2 of the 10 end pins which hold the strings are missing.

The brass rose is in wonderful shape.


At one point in time the back plates had separated because of low humidity and were 3mm apart. At 40 to 50% humidity the gap has shrunk to 2mm.

At some point this instrument will be restored and should make a good playable instrument.

You can see the restoration by Art Robb of another Preston English Guitar at: http://www.art-robb.co.uk/EG.html


To contact me about this instrument by e-mail, click on my address: ron@fernandezmusic.com

Or you can call me (Ron Fernandez) at 949-856-1537

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