Valseana – 18 Waltzes on 18 Guitars

Valseana represents an enormous labor of love on the part of David Collett, Marc Teicholz, various engineers and the entire GSI team. Four years ago we had the idea that some of the guitars that pass through Guitar Salon simply must be recorded for posterity, and that no one was in a better position to do that than we were. With this idea in mind David embarked upon a multi-year journey that involved 18 historic guitars, 18 waltzes for guitar, and one extraordinary guitarist – Marc Teicholz. Also of the utmost important was finding engineers who would bring out the true sound of each guitar and resist the temptation to find a cohesive sound for the album – after all, the idea is to really hear the differences (ands similarities) between these guitars.


Here is what David Collett had to say about the project:

“As a buyer and seller of fine guitars, I have always wanted to have faithfully record audio ‘snapshots’ of their beautiful voices. While there have been several fine books (and websites) that have displayed elegant photographs of these great instruments, capturing the sounds of these masterpieces has been an elusive and difficult task. This is what we set out to accomplish with this project.

“The instruments selected for this recording represent some of the finest examples from several of the most important luthiers of the past 150 years. It was our goal to feature the main schools of lutherie that are now regarded as historically important. Beginning at the modern guitar’s ‘source’, we feature two instruments from our ‘Stradivari’ of the guitar, Antonio de Torres. We then make our way through the twentieth century by way of Hauser I & II, Garcia, Santos, Esteso, Barbero, Hernandez y Aguado, Bouchet, Fleta, Rodriguez, Rubio and Friederich until we enter the twenty-first century by including two great contemporary makers, Edmund Blochinger and Pepe Romero Jr. The difficult task of selecting instruments for this project naturally forced us to omit many other great builders of equal importance. For example, I lament the absence of a great Romanillos, Simplicio, Manuel Ramirez or Jose Ramirez, etc… It also goes without saying that there are numerous brilliant contemporary builders who for reasons of space we were also unable to include. The list of obvious omissions is so lengthy that it would take several more recording projects like this to provide a fuller representation. We hope that the listener will forgive us these limitations and view this recording instead as a tantalizing sampler.”

And here is a little of what Marc came away with after the project was completed:

“Prior to this recording, I confess that my knowledge and even interest in the subtle differences of guitars and guitar building was minimal. I thought a guitar simply had to be ‘good enough.’ While such a principle may be practical and even true, I am now far too corrupted to hold to it. Repeated exposure to the cornucopia of delights that these treasures offer has terminally weakened my resistance. I felt like a Hollywood casting director who could choose any actor for any role. We picked guitars with big distinctive and contrasting personalities: earthy, pure, robust, tender, lyrical, punchy, bright, brooding. So many colors, so many choices-so much fun. I’ve been dissatisfied ever since!”

Check out the CD at the GSI Store, and look for upcoming interviews with David, Marc and the recording engineers who helped make this project possible.

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