Antonio Torres Jurado (13 June 1817 – 19 November 1892) was a famous Spanish luthier and guitarist that remains remembered as one of the most important guitar maker in the history of the world, and man who impacted entire history of modern music history. As luthier (guitar maker who is well versed in creation of all stringed instruments, including violins for example) he managed to take the traditional European forms of guitars that were popular in that time and create look of the modern classical guitar. All modern acoustic guitars that were created in 20th and 21st century were derivatives of his designs.
Antonio was born in La Cañada de San Urbano, Almería in summer of 1817 as the son of tax collector Juan Torres and his wife Maria Jurado. He spent his youth as carpenter apprentice, and was briefly drafted into army at the age of 16 before his father managed to relieve him from service under the fasle pretext of him being medically unfit. Young Antonio was immediately pushed into marriage with 3 year younger Juana María López, who gave him 3 children. Of those three children, two youngest died, including Juana who died later at the age of 25 from tuberculosis.
It was believed (but is not verified) that in 1842 Antonio Torres Jurado started learning the craft of guitar making from José Pernas in Granada. He returned in Seville and opened shop where he created his own guitars. It was there that he came in contacts with many musicians and composes, who pushed him to innovate and create new guitars that they could use in their performances. Famously, Antonio took advice from renowned guitarist and composer Julián Arcas and started his early work on modern classical guitar. He remarried in 1868, and continued working in Sevile all up to 1870 when he and his wife moved to Almería where they opened china and crystal shop. There he started part time work of building guitars, which he continued building full time after death of his wide in 1883. For the next 9 years he created around 12 guitars per year, until he died in 1892.
Guitars made in his final years were regarded as incredibly superior to any other guitar that was made in Spain and entire Europe during that time. Soon after, his model of guitar became a blueprint for all modern acoustic guitars, which were imitated and copied all across the world.
Today’s guitars are still following designs set by Antonio Torres Jurado, with only difference being different building materials.