Here’s Chris Garwood showing off a brand new guitar from French luthier Jean-Noel Rohe. Rohe is seen by both Daniel Friederich and Dominique Field as the leader of the current generation of young French luthiers, and to date they would seem to be right. Rohe’s work is balanced and elegant in every respect, as you’ll hear from Chris’ demonstration.
We’ve just had word of the passing of the great Spanish luthier Marcelino Lopez Nieto. Lopez Nieto got his start as a luthier like so many mid-century Spanish luthiers – as a cabinet maker. But he was also a serious guitar player – a student of Daniel Fortea no less – and became something of a renaissance man, continuing his guitar studies into advanced age and also becoming a painter and opera singer. He even delved into history, finding evidence that the guitar may have had its roots in 2nd Century Rome. And in addition to making fantastic classical and flamenco guitars Lopez Nieto was a collector with a very impressive collection, and he did quite a bit of restoration work as well. In all, his was a life in every way dedicated to the guitar and the arts, and his contribution to the history of the Spanish guitar was considerable.
Cuban-born guitarist Iliana was playing in Los Angeles and was kind enough to stop by and record some videos for us. Here she is playing her transcription of Elegía a Benny Moré on a beautiful 2014 Sebastian Stenzel in spruce and maple (as far as we know this is the first video of this piece), Leo Brouwer’s An Idea (Passacaglia a Eli Kassner) on a stunning 1992 Ignacio Fleta, and Mirándote by Eduardo Martín on a Cordoba C12 in spruce and Indian rosweood.
We’ve got photos of a guitar coming to us any day now from luthier Stephen Hill, who though English has been building in La Herradura, just outside of Granada, Spain, since 2004. The guitar is his Concert model in cedar and some stunning ziricote back and sides. This is his Granada style guitar, built in the traditional manner. On a related note, Sergio Valverde Castillo, who just won the first annual Antonio Marin Montero guitar making competition in Granada last Summer, was a student of Stephen’s at the European Institute of Guitar Making, and we’ll have one of his guitars coming soon as well. The Hill guitar is ready to ship to us and should arrive very soon!
We have photos of the next guitar on its way to us from german luthier Tobias Berg – a classical with some very interesting woods. The guitar has a spruce top and the back and sides are walnut with boxwood binding. The bridge is pau ferro and has a bit of yellow sapwood, as does the walnut back. And the neck has a lovely flame to it, (which Tobias laments isn’t captured very well in the photo). The guitar should be shipping to us very soon! We should note that photos of the cedar top are obviously of another guitar, but one that Tobias was making at the same time and that has the same bracing as the spruce guitar coming to us.
As we await our first guitar from Sergio Valverde Castillo, winner of the the first Antonio Marin Montero Guitar Making Competition, we are very pleased to announce the 2nd annual competition, which will take place in Granada, Spain, from August 8 to August 10, 2018. In addition to the prizes, which include the winners having thier guitars sold by GSI, the competition is a fantastic opportunity to have your instrument evaluated by some of the top professionals in the field of luthiery as well as players and GSI president David Collett. You can get all of the details and registration info here.
Here’s guitarist Daniel Marx playing four movements from Giovanni Zamboni’s Sonata IX on four different guitars: the Preludio on a 2018 Vladimir Druzhinin in cedar and African rosewood; the Giga on a Kenneth Brogger ‘1890 Torres’; the Sarabanda on a 2014 Sebastian Stenzel in spruce and maple; and the Gavotta on a 2018 Ethan Deutsch in spruce and ziricote.
We have photos of the first guitar being built for GSI by Sergio Valverde Castillo, winner of the first Antonio Marin Montero Guitar Making Competition held in Granada last Summer. Sergio tells us that a turning point in his career was his time at the European Institute of Guitar Making – a month-long course taught by luthier Stephen Hill in La Herradura, Spain (outside of Granada), in which Pablo Requena was also teaching. He builds a traditional 7 fan brace guitar in the traditional Spanish style and says his main goals are perfect balance and symmetry in both sound and aesthetics. As GSI president David Collett was one of the competition judges we are very confident that this will be an exceptional guitar and are very happy to be representing Valverde Castillo in the US.
Guitarist Fred Lawton was in town for a few concerts and stopped by the showroom to record some guitars for us. He played David Kellner’s Phantasia in D on a beautiful Teodoro Perez ‘1884 Torres – La Emperatriz’ in spruce and maple, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s Capricho #12 on a new Sakurai-Kohno Pro-J in spruce and CSA rosewood, and Federico Mompou’s Cancion y Danza on an outstanding 1928 Francisco Simplicio in spruce and CSA rosewood.