Posts from ‘Feature Articles’
Orfeo Magazine’s 10th release is particularly special to us – it showcases builders from our side of the world as the writers and photographers document their trip up and down the West Coast. It’s great to see so many of our friends in this issue! Pepe Romero Jr., down in San Diego, talks about his family legacy, how he makes guitars and shows us his personal collection. We’re excited to see Richard Reynoso here representing Los Angeles as he lets us into his inspiration for making such tasteful instruments. Then, we head to NorCal in Berkeley where we get a nice look into the Harris Guitar Foundation collection of instruments, which are available to the students at SFCM. Gregory Byers, in Willits, CA, is next and gives us a look at his extensive and unique research into guitar-making. Orfeo then visits Portland Oregon’s Jeffrey Elliott to learn about his history as a luthier, his building process and the kind of sound he looks for. Their last stop is in Spokane, WA for none other than Eric Sahlin. Eric talks about being self-taught, his wood preferences and his innovative “twisted” fingerboards.
Orfeo No. 10 is almost like going on an actual road trip along the West Coast, and it is nicely guided by quotes by Jack Kerouac. Read the full Orfeo Magazine No. 10 in English here.
Edmund Blöchinger’s “Dome” guitar has a very intriguing back story, so we thought it would be a great piece of information to share with everyone. Among the fascinating details about this instrument, it is notably interesting that the soundboard comes from the spruce beams that resided for over 450 years in the roof of the Frauenkirche in Munich, Germany – probably the most iconic structure in that city that tourists today flock to with their selfie sticks and zoom lens cameras. From these antique spruce beams is where the story of this guitar begins…
When I heard we were doing staff picks, I thought: Which videos come to mind right away, without any second guesses? Which ones have recently caught my attention the most? It was tough narrowing it down to five videos, but then again my picks change every few months, so these are just the five I can loop on YouTube for days (as of now). This is also a great way to introduce friends to these videos as a sampling of the classical guitar, so enjoy:
We thought it might be fun to poll everyone at GSI about some of their favorite videos, and we started at the top with GSI president David Collett. So, with the caveat that we all agreed that our ‘favorites’ change on a weekly basis, here are the five videos that came to David’s mind when we asked:
Check out this lovely piece on NPR about Leo Brouwer’s legacy, which includes some very interesting details about his life and how that influenced his musical upbringing. Here’s a great quote that I think we all responded to:
“To be useful is something incredible, because you’re at the service of the world,” Brouwer says in Spanish. “Humans, when they communicate, when they teach, when they show, when they give … they’re doing one of the most beautiful things in life … Perhaps my roots in solitude, of being an orphan — it forces me to these reflections.”
Here’s a great and very in-depth interview with Amalia Ramirez from Roseta Magazine, the magazine of the Spanish Guitar Society. Javier Suárez-Pajares discusses the history of Ramirez, Amalia’s personal involvement in some rough transitions during the 1980’s, and her vision for the future of the Ramirez brand. You can click here to read the article in Spanish, or continue to read the full article in translation below.
Check out this great article in Classical Guitar magazine about Scott Tennant‘s Segovia sessions – the CD he’s recording of Segovia’s compositions recorded on Segovia’s 1969 Jose Ramirez. The article tells the whole story of how the CD came to be recorded and features some beautiful photography by GSI’s Felix Salazar and a great description of the guitar itself by GSI president David Collett.
Only the most rare and highly-reputed guitars from across eras of the past receive great attention to the extent that players, recording artists and collectors share a common language in expressing just how valuable a guitar is – not in a monetary sense, but in the way that particular guitar’s presence fills the room, in the way its presence inspires a player and in the way the character of the guitar is simply like none other encountered before. Such guitars that come to mind are very special in our books, for example: the famous Antonio de Torres “La leona” (see Fritz Ober’s replica), the 1927 Francisco Simplicio SP/CSAR and the 1957 Hermann Hauser II (ex. Julian Bream) to name very few. However, one very special guitar made an appearance in our showroom recently amongst a legendary, rare and astonishing collection, and it has received attention in ways we could not have imagined.
We currently have two guitars from the Manuel Contreras shop that happen to span 48 years of Contreras guitar making – a perfect 1968 Manuel Contreras peghead flamenco blanca and a brand-new 2016 Manuel Contreras II “10th Anniversary Premium Series” – and this got us thinking that one of the constants in the Contreras shop for over 25 years now has been Victoria Velasco. If you visited the Contreras shop in Madrid while Manuel Sr. or Pablo Contreras were alive chances are you’ve met Victoria.
Written by: Finn Wandahl | Photos by: Kenneth Brögger
The Danish luthier Kenneth Brögger was the fortunate owner of an original Antonio de Torres guitar from 1890, number SE 144, for five years – the exact one that GSI had in their showroom. This provided him the opportunity to study and examine this magnificient instrument in every possible detail, and in the process Kenneth learned a great deal about Torres and his work. Actually, Brögger has studied and copied a number of other Torres guitars, but this particular model interested me because of its simple, elegant style and outstanding sound. I therefore ordered one of Kenneth’s replicas of this lovely instrument. It is a little bit smaller than a modern guitar, but it is really no problem once you are playing. This Torres (and Kenneth’s copy) actually feels very nice and easy to play. GSI has seen many of Brögger’s Torres replicas pass through their showroom – check them out. This particular guitar is yet another special addition to Brögger’s masterful legacy.