Here’s Wes Park again, this time playing Andrew York’s Woven World from his Woven Harmony suite, on a beautiful 2016 Annette Stephany ‘Garcia’ model that is very much inspired by the 1906 Enrique Garcia guitar owned by her friend and mentor Lorenzo Frignani. You can buy the music to Woven World and a lot of Andrew York’s music here.
We have photos of the new guitar being built for us by German luthier Sebastian Stenzel. This will be a spruce-top with quilted maple back and sides and some stunning purfling, which Stenzel told us was some of the most labor intensive purfling he’s ever made. In his words, it’s “difficult, because I wanted the light parts – maple – to really shine. To achieve this, they have to be cut so that they show the radial surface of the wood. This means that I had to cut stripes of veneer of a width of e.g. 1.3 mm, but across the fiber! I wasn’t sure it would be possible at all. (The meander patterns done by Torres, for example, are easy to make in comparison, they show end grain and can be made with relatively stable stripes of veneer.) To make meander purflings for four guitars took more than two months with one or two glueing operations per day… I use it only in quilted maple or birds eye maple.”
Sebastian will update us with more photos and a shipping date as he progresses on the guitar.
Irina Kulikova was back at GSI for some more videos and left us with some beautiful performances. Here she is playing Mogiana by the great guitarist-composer Konstantin Vassiliev on a 2007 Gernot Wagner double-top that features a spruce outer soundboard and a cedar inner one, and Vals from California Suite by Joe Maria Gallardo del Rey on a stunning 1929 Hermann Hauser I.
Here’s Wesley Park back at GSI playing Bach’s Prelude from the Cello Suite #1 on a beautiful 1972 Ramirez 1a that really just exemplifies everything we love about Ramirez guitars, and the traditional Shaker hymn Simple Gifts, by John and BJ Sutherland as arranged by Ronald Ravenscroft on a great 2016 Fernando Moreno guitar that Wesley really pushes (as the piece calls for) and holds up beautifully.
Check out this beautiful film about Felipe Conde and his children, Felipe and Maria, who are the fourth generation in the Conde dynasty of luthiery. Not only is the film beautifully shot, it also features some really lovely musings about the art of guitar making, the decision to take this path in life, the relationship between builder and player, and more.
We recently acquired a singular instrument – an experimental meantone guitar made by the great French luthier Daniel Friederich in 1976. As you can see, the fretboard looks a little crazy. Fortunately, we have the world’s authority on what is commonly referred to as microtonal guitar right here in Santa Monica – John Schneider. We called John to get some information on this guitar and others like it, and discovered that he’s been working with our friend Mak Grgic on music written for, let’s say ‘differently fretted’ guitars. In fact, Mak is currently working on a CD of microtonal music (we’ll keep you posted on that).
2016 was a pretty epic year for videos at GSI. Of course we constantly try to improve the quality of our videos, but when the Russell Cleveland collection arrived in late 2015 we knew we had to step it up and document these historic instruments before they found new owners all around the world. To that end we brought on digital media producer Tara Stewart, who was just back from a sabbatical in Spain after producing all of Fender’s videos in Los Angeles for three years before that. We upgraded our gear so that we now shoot with three Canon 5D Mark iii cameras, and Apogee Digital lent us one of their amazing Ensemble thunderbolt interfaces. With Tara on video duties I was able to spend more time on audio and hopefully improve what I already thought was pretty good audio quality. And with two of us on the team now, we were able to double our output of videos.
We met Brig Urias earlier this year. He’s a student of Christopher Parkening at Pepperdine and a fantastic young player. He came in with flutist Stephanie Yoon to record Avidity, a piece by another good friend of GSI, composer/guitarist Jon Roth. Brig plays a great 2016 Vladimir Druzhinin cedar and African rosewood guitar.
If you’re interested in the score or parts for Avidity you can contact Jon directly by emailing him at email@example.com.