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Stories, culture, friends and community

July 17, 2019

3 Fine Vintage Guitars Played by GSI’s Andrew Lee

It’s nothing but a joy playing the classical guitars in our showroom – you know that (thank you!), and we know that. That’s why when we’re working around guitars from 9 to 5, 5 days a week, we also try to make time to play them (you know, work & play balance) even if at least for a few minutes a day!

Well, GSI’s very own Andrew Lee (you may know him for his friendly and thoughtful assistance when helping you choose the right guitar) decided to give you all a full-length performance rather than just play a few minutes in between work. Here he is playing 3 very fine vintage guitars. We rarely have this many historically significant instruments in the showroom at once, so we thought we should capture the moment. Feel free to relax and enjoy an 1864 Antonio de Torres that is impeccably well-preserved, a 1925 Santos Hernandez featuring a three-piece mahogany back and a 1926 Domingo Esteso in spruce and CSAR – all in the hands of our team member Andrew Lee as he performs “II. Tonadilla” from ‘Arroyos de la Alhambra’ by Ángel Barrios. All three guitars were recorded using Savarez “Corum/Crystal” medium tension sets (500CR).

You’ll see one continuous performance of the piece in the first video while the guitar in Andrew’s hands magically changes thanks to transitional edits. Then, below, you can watch all three performances separately.

We’re glad to be in the business of providing you all the finest classical and flamenco guitars from around the world for over 30 years, and we wouldn’t trade this privilege for anything! Our passion is finding the best guitars from the best makers all around the world, but it’s also seriously playing the guitar.

Thanks for watching and listening! Play on!

Comments (16)

They had it all, especially the Torres … apparently if you go back in time to these great makers not so much actually happened. They sounded like great guitars and a great guitar today sounds … close to that…

3 excellent guitars, hardly any difference between them. To me it proves that the guitarist is more important than the guitar.Andrew Lee could probably make a $40 Walmart guitar sound like a Ramirez.

Nice playing, but picking up on the previous comment that there’s not much difference between the guitars I wonder if this really demonstrates that there’s not much difference in the recorded sound, i.e. judging guitars from videos played on youtube is rather pointless. Also, since GSI is in the business of selling Spanish guitars, and y’all present yourselves as experts, you should take the trouble to pronounce the Spanish names properly – Tárrega has the stress on the first syllable (that’s what the accent mark is for); and it grates the ears to hear “Santos Hernandez,” for example, pronounced with a California drawl. You don’t need to roll the “rr” pretentiously and so forth, just say “a” like “ahh” a little bit – show some respect for the guitar makers you’re making money on.


It’s hard to believe these guitars have come from trees of yesteryear and now into the hands of Andrew. ( looks like they were fun to play Andrew!) I loved hearing you play Andrew. You make it look easy.
My take is that you found the Hernandez the easiest to play? Sometimes, I think a guitar just fits your hands better. The action feels easy going and the notes come easy.

All three have different tone. Maybe the Torres the most “ full” . But, I think the Hernandez was more at one with you? It would be interesting to hear your take on these Andrew.

Hey Tim, I thought the Hernandez immediately”jumped off the screen” as the best of the three. As I was pondering why, read your comment and thought, that was perceptive. An exercise like this would be best served by GSI remarking on the the facts of the recording, such as the same mic use on all three or etc, etc. Assuming same recording set up on all three, the Hernandez just strikes me as being the most useful across the full range of each guitar.

It’s a real pleasure to view you playing these fabulous instruments. And my compliments on your choice of music. Great job Andrew!

Hello To you all,

As I’m quite interested in how the great guitars sound I’ve kent on investigating
and trying out every special guitar I can get my hands on, also at auctions. I can tell you
that even instruments from the well known luthiers can be disappointing. Sometimes due
To bad restauration work or a poor set-up. Moreover, a guitar might sound great while
playing, the audience might conclude differently and a recording result can be another
surprise: All different areas! The same thing counts for the pieces played.
Some guitars sound very nice played with Spanish repertoire and mediocre once played
with Classical period music. But all in all we at least have a clue about what to expect!
Thanks for that.

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