So for over a year now we’ve been doing videos of great players who come in on a regular basis – seems like the perfect way to archive a lot of the cool guitars that come in and also showcase the talent of our friends. But occasionally we get requests for just sound samples. I’ve come to believe that no one wants to hear samples anymore – that if there’s nothing to look at people online just move along to the next thing. But maybe I’m wrong.

Since those of you who read this blog represent some of the most avid consumers of online classical guitar content, maybe you can tell me if I’m wrong to assume that you want videos over audio. What if the audio samples were better quality than the audio on the videos – would that make a difference?

I’ve found that most players are not as comfortable in front of a camera as they are in front of a microphone – and I totally understand that – so maybe we’d even have some better performances without the video?

Let me know.

Here’s a video of Yury Nugmanov playing a great Blochinger ‘Llobet’ model.

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16 Responses to “Videos vs. Sound Samples”

  1. Jerry says:

    As a student studying flamenco, I’m biased.. I personally prefer to see a video – hands down. However, the sound archive was also very helpful when I was looking at the two flamenco’s prior to my purchase (setting aside Kai’s amazing technique!). For students learning flamenco, like myself, once they are able to “hear” how a certain technique sounds through repeated listening sessions, it’s beneficial for them to actually “see” how that technique is applied to the guitar. Flamenco has always been an oral tradition, and videos are welcomed to showcase not only the sound of the insturment, but to assist in becoming a necessary learning aid.

  2. Bryn says:

    What is the piece Yuri played here? It’s beautiful…..

  3. John Lancaster says:

    As a beginner, I love watching your videos to see “how it should be done” Sound clips are fine, but to see your superb instruments played by great artists is truly inspiring. Kepp your cameras rolling!

  4. Tom says:

    As long as the sound quality of the videos is as good as a recording, I prefer video. But that is not the case, in spite of the fact that some people have commented confidently about the different qualities of individual guitars. I listen with with professional headphones and, in some videos, the guitars all sound like tin cans. I don’t know whether an external microphone is being used in the recordings but it doesn’t sound like it. It is useful to know whether a guitar can record well even though the recording does not tell the whole truth. But, as long as the recordings are consistent, it’s possible to gain some idea just by comparison.

  5. Jim says:

    If I’m evaluating a performance, I’d prefer audio. But if I’m evaluating a guitar, video seems to convey more about the instrument as a whole. If the sound is good enough to tell me when I need to jump on a plane to Santa Monica to hear it in person, it’s good enough.

  6. Jim says:

    And what WAS that piece that Yury played? It’s a real showstopper.

  7. Tom says:

    ‘If the sound is good enough to tell me when I need to jump on a plane to Santa Monica to hear it in person, it’s good enough.’

    There is no way that a blind test listening to recent videos could persuade me to jump on a plane but each to his own.

  8. Casimiro says:

    Watching the video is better way than listening a sound sample. Because the hands of the guitarist make and define the sound, not only the guitar herself. So understanding the playing-style of one visually, I’ll imagine what this guitar can do. Please keep posting these fantastic videos. Cheers, from Tokyo

  9. Tom says:

    Casimiro, how can you tell which sound is coming from the guitarist’s hands and which sound is coming from the recording? Bad recording can make any guitarist sound bad.

  10. Casimiro says:

    Hi Tom, you are right_Bad recording can make any guitarist sound bad. I think the sound quality of this web site is quite enough, a great guitar can beat us.
    For example, this Mr. Nugmanov seems to be a very big guy and he has big hands, I can know it thanks to this video and also I can know that these guitars would sound totally different when I play or played by smaller people.
    I wish they keep posting these videos made by many talented guitarists, not only by big hands but by smaller hands, too.

  11. Tom says:

    Hello Casimiro. My question to you was ‘how can you tell which sound is coming from the guitarist’s hands and which sound is coming from the recording?’ You didn’t answer it! In my opinion, the best way is a good quality recording that is always made in the same manner. In this way, we can hear whether a guitar records well and make a reasonable guess as to its qualities. I refer you to http://www.kentguitarclassics.com which shows how it should be done, although, in this case, the player is usually the same person and a good player. Guitar Salon needs to make up its mind about whether it is selling the guitar, the player or both. At the moment, it is neither.

  12. Casimiro says:

    Hi Tom,
    I’m not native english speaker and sorry for my less comprehension. I know the Kent Guitar makes good sound sample as you said. I think I enjoy the music on their WebSite but I can’t judge which is the guitar of my life listening these samples.
    Near from here we have a wonderful guitar shop and I can try many great guitars from a real Torres to Smallman like GSI. I think a sound sample without video can’t express the feeling of each instrument. For example, a spanish friend of mine liked very much an Aguado, but for me it was hard to play. One can enjoy as one can.

    The guitarist’s hands do matter, when Mr. Nugmanov plays these instruments the guitars sound like played with a heavy and hard plectrum for my taste. But one can enjoy as one can. I don’t it care so much if the music is well played.

    And I think the microphones can’t capture well the sound of a guitar with good projection but one with big volume.

  13. Doug Lance says:

    I certainly enjoy the videos they demonstrate the talent of the individuals. But when it comes to evaluation of the sound of the instrument, there is nothing better then hearing and/or playing it live. I have found that even on the best recordsings I have heard the guitar doesn’t record as well as one would wish. But this is true of many string instruments, And a great deal depends on the venu. So video or audio only is fine I’ll watch and listen what ever you supply. Just keep them coming…Thanks

  14. Adrian Lopez says:

    I prefer videos with high-quality audio over audio alone, but I also prefer high-quality audio over videos with poor audio quality. I’d be surprised if this weren’t the case for most other people as well.

    Video or no video, I would like to suggest one thing: Right now when you look at a guitar’s information page, audio files show up on the left below the guitar’s picture while videos show up on the right below the guitar’s description. This prevented me from noticing that several of the guitars I was considering did in fact include audio samples, for I was expecting any samples to appear below the text rather than below the pictures.

    • Tom says:

      I agree with you completely, Adrian, and was rather surprised by some of the other comments and, indeed, assumptions.

  15. Darrell Styner says:

    I agree with Tom. YouTube is full of videos where I can watch great players in action. I come to this site hoping to get a feel for the tonal differences between great guitars that I might actually want to buy. Priority should always be given to audio quality. If you can match that with a nice video, great. If not, I’d much prefer good audio with no video to good video with poor audio that doesn’t allow me to discern the differences between guitars. You guys are (or should be) selling guitars, not artists.


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