Here’s a truly historic and stunning instrument – an 1868 Antonio de Torres in spruce and CSA rosewood. This particular Torres is from the end of his ‘First Eopch’ and features a tornavoz. You can hear for yourselves how the tornavoz affects the sound in the videos below. It’s a mystery how Torres was able to create a guitar with such tremendous bass response that somehow doesn’t drown out the trebles, but rather seems to complement them. This 150-year-old guitar single-handedly makes a strong argument for a re-examination of the tornavoz in the modern guitar!
In addition to Chris Garwood taking a first look and playing excerpts from Bach, Barrios, Brouwer and Tarrega to show off this guitar we were lucky enough to have Evan Hirschelman in the showroom to remind us (as Andrew York has in the past) that these are not just historic instruments fit for ‘old’ music, and that there’s a reason that Torres guitars still inspire luthiers around the world.
We have photos of the new guitar on its way to us from Spanish luthier Fernando Moreno. Moreno lives and works in Alcala de Guadaira, just outside of Sevilla, but learned his trade in Granada. This next guitar from him is a spruce and maple classical built in the traditional style, as you can see from the photos below. Fernando is finishing up the guitar now and it should be on its ay to us very soon.
We are thrilled to announce that we will be representing Gerundino Fernandez (hijo) in the US! Son of the legendary builder from Almeria of the same name, Gerundino has been following in his father’s footsteps and building some fantastic instruments in the traditional style he learned in his father’s workshop. Gerundino uses the tools and plantillas he inherited from his father, along with the design and even much of the wood his father left him.
The first guitars on the way to us – and which you can see being built in the photos below – are a spruce negra and a cedar blanca with pegs. I met Gerundino in Granada last Summer and had the chance to play one of his brand new guitars (see the other photos below of me with the finished guitar) and it was a fantastic instrument that was just really fun to play. We look forward to working with Gerundino and expect to see many great guitars from him!
Greek guitarist Eleftheria Kotzia stopped by the shop for the first time recently and was kind enough to play some pieces for us on some fantastic guiatrs. She played Sousta (Greek Dance #1) as arranged by Dimitri Fampas on a new 2018 Dominik Wurth in cedar and Indian rosewood and Karaguna (Greek Dance #3), also arranged by Fampas, on a beautiful 1968 Daniel Friederich in spruce and Indian rosewood>
We have photos of the next guitar on its way to us from Zoran Kuvac – a beautiful cedar and CSA rosewood classical that is in the final stages of construction. Though the one Kuvac is currently building is cedar, you can get an idea of Kuvac’s sound by checking out the video of Max Brenner playing the spruce classical that just came through GSI (and went very quickly!).
Our friend Jaxon Williams was back for more videos. Jaxon jut finished the second year of his DMA studies at USC and is currently performing a program of music by American composers in the US and in Europe, so he recorded six of Bryan Johanson’s Preludes on six different guitars, including a 2018 Jean-Noel Rohe, 2001 John Weissenrieder ‘Garcia’ model, a 2015 Hermann Hauser III, a 2018 Annette Stephany, a 2018 Francois Leonard and a 2013 Paolo Coriani ‘Manuel Ramirez’ model. Jaxon will be off to Spain this Summer to work on his flamenco chops and then he’s back to the US to finish his DMA and continue performing, so we hope to see more of him soon.
Check out GSI president David Collett on Zagreb television. David was attending the Zagreb Guitar Festival and discussing historic guitars. David reports that “I was invited to give a joint talk with Hrvoje Grgic, a local guitar aficionado and collector. He brought in about 25-30 guitars from his collection, including Torres, Santos, Simplicio, Garcia, etc. as well as several pre-Torres guitars like Panormo, Lacote, Stauffer, Pages, etc. They discussed the guitars with the audience – the background, history, etc. and had some players (including our friend Mak Grgic) demonstate the guitars. There were even some curious volunteers from the audience who demo’d some of the guitars including Carlotta Dalia from Italy and a local professional, Sasha Dejanovic . One of the players who did demos was Hrvoje’s son, Zlatko. Zlatko is becoming a bit of a local celebrity in Croatia, he plays concerts, enters competitions and lately has done a few TV features. His style is very interesting – he plays without nails, and plays on gut strings. His style is also very personal – very subtle, sensitive and unique in terms of phrasing, color shifts, exploration of sound, etc. Very interesting young man!”
We have photos of the first guitar being built for us by Julia Wenzel, who won the silver medal in last year’s Antonio Marin Montero Guitar Making Competition. The guitar she is building for GSI, like the guitar that won the competition (the finished guitar in the photos below), is a cedar and cypress classical built completely in the traditional Spanish style. Julia has been working with Florian Blochinger and considers Edmund Blochinger to be one of her mentors. She tells us that while making a canoe she realized her passion for woodworking, and went on to study at the ‘Instrumentenbauschule Mittenwald’ for three years and graduated top of her class. Six years later she completed her Master of Crafts Examination in Munich, Bavaria. Then last year she entered the Antonio Marin competition and won Silver. We are very excited to be representing Julia Wenzel in the US and look forward to receiving our first guitar from her.
After poring over all of the submissions from talented young guitarists from all over the world we are extremely pleased to announce that the winner of the GSI Summer Arts Scholarship is USC student and Summer Arts alum David Steinhardt. In addition to being an outstanding young guitarist David gives back to the guitar community by hosting a podcast called Classical Guitar and Beyond and he will be coordinating the youth program at this year’s Guitar Hamilton festival.
You can watch the video that David submitted below – a performance of Bach’s Chaconne recorded in 2016 – and check out his bio as well: