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.
In addition to the amazing fun of hearing these historic guitars played by some truly amazing players, we felt a responsibility to literally record these guitars for posterity, and we are truly grateful to the players who recorded with us. For one of the more important guitars, the folks at Apogee Digital lent us their space, some great mics, and their new Symphony Mark ii interface to record Andrew York’s new suite Equations of Beauty on Julian Bream’s 1957 Hauser II. We were honored that Andy chose to premiere his Equations of Beauty suite for us, and the result is pretty stunning.
And of course we had no shortage of players wanting to experience Segovia’s 1969 Ramirez, which he owned and played for ten years. In the end we recorded Scott Tennant, George Sakellariou, Peter Flecther, Tavi Jinariu, Celil Refik Kaya, and Sedona Farber playing the guitar. Scott Tennant so fell in love with the guitar that he is currently recording a CD of Segovia’s compositions on the guitar for the Guitar Co-Op label, and I have the good fortune of being the recording engineer on that CD (we finished tracking on Dec. 30).
On a geeky note, the Apogee Ensemble interface allowed me to play with more mics, so that rather than just the spaced pair of Neumann km84 mics I used to use I now add a center mic, and I’ve had fun trying different mics in that position, from an amazing (but sadly borrowed) AEA 44ce ribbon mic to many of the mics in my own locker. At the moment I use a Neumann TLM170R for most classical recordings and the AKG 451 with the CK28 capsules for flamenco recordings or for a bit of isolation (the extension tubes let the mics get pretty close in a more unobtrusive way to get better separation for duos, chamber music, etc…).
The stars of the videos, of course, are the players who come in from all over the world to share their artistry with us. We are so lucky to have established relationships with some fantastic players who have been coming in regularly over the years, and we also meet new players all the time who pass through town on tour or come in to check out guitars. They bring the guitars to life, share new music with us and basically remind us why we love the guitar. It goes without saying that we couldn’t do any of this without them, and we like to thank them all at the end of every year as we look back at all the great music we’ve shared.
So here, in more or less the order they appeared at GSI this year, is the list of those we’ve recorded in 2016 – we couldn’t have done any of it without them:
Celil Refik Kaya
Sheu Pettit Duo
Tara Rose Davison
Duo Deloro – Mak Grgic and Adam del Monte
Alex and Wesley Park
Meyer Thachuk Duo
La Duo – Bryan Fasola and Donovan Butez
Kang Min Ji
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