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Our friend Tomasz Fechner stopped by GSI recently to play some guitars, and we shot some great videos of him playing excerpts from the Bach Chaconne, Barrios, and the Giuliani Rossiniana No. 5 Op. 123 on some lovely new and vintage guitars. He plays the Barrios on a new Teodoro Perez ‘Maestro’ spruce and lacewood guitar, the Chaconne on guitars by Alejandro, Tobias Berg, Roberto Gomes and Manuel Velazquez, and the Rossiniana on guitars by Felipe Conde Crespo and Dominik Wurth.
Tomasz Fechner came back to GSI on what turned out to be the day he went from being a Masters student at USC to being a DMA student (he had just finished his very last requirement). He had told us he was going to play seven movements from Alexandre Tansman’s Suite in Modo Polonico and agreed to play them on seven different guitars. The movements and guitars are as follows:
Entrée – 2015 Lucas Martin
Kujawiak – 2007 Jose Marin Plazuelo
Tempo di Polonaise – 1967 Daniel Friederich
Oberek – 2007 Dominique Field
Canzonetta – 1934 Marcelo Barbero
Alla Polaca – 2012 Yuichi Imai
Berceuse D’Orient – 1997 Hermann Hauser III
We have another video of Tomasz Fechner, this time playing Isaac Albeniz’ Asturias on a Cordoba Master Series ‘Rodriguez’ cedar-top. Tomasz is at USC studying on a Fullbright and just had his scholarship renewed for at least another year, so we look forward to shooting more videos with him!
It’s been another amazing year for guitar music over here at GSI and as the year wraps up we’d like to take a moment to thank all of the amazing musicians who have lent us their time and talent to create the great videos we publish every week. We obviously couldn’t do any of it without them and we are extremely grateful for the music and for the friends we’ve made over the years in our quest to record every guitar we can get our hands on! So here, in more or less reverse order of appearance, are the artists who have shared their talent with us this year:
2016 was a pretty epic year for videos at GSI. Of course we constantly try to improve the quality of our videos, but when the Russell Cleveland collection arrived in late 2015 we knew we had to step it up and document these historic instruments before they found new owners all around the world. To that end we brought on digital media producer Tara Stewart, who was just back from a sabbatical in Spain after producing all of Fender’s videos in Los Angeles for three years before that. We upgraded our gear so that we now shoot with three Canon 5D Mark iii cameras, and Apogee Digital lent us one of their amazing Ensemble thunderbolt interfaces. With Tara on video duties I was able to spend more time on audio and hopefully improve what I already thought was pretty good audio quality. And with two of us on the team now, we were able to double our output of videos.
As another year closes on us we once again get to look back at all the great guitars that came through GSI and especially all the great people who came through to play them for us. This year ended in a such a big way – with our acquisition of the Russell Cleveland collection – that it reminded us all just how cool it is to get to steward these amazing guitars on their way from owner (or in this case collection) to owner, and also to document them for posterity.
We have photos of the next guitar on its way to us from Tobias Berg, and we just happened to post a video of Tomasz Fechner playing the Prelude from Bach’s Prelude Fugue and Allegro on a 2011 Tobias cedar-top last week. Tobias also turned us on to a guitarist called Uwe Chrisitian Dech, who has been playing a Berg guitar and working on some Ralph Towner-inspired improvisations and compositions. I’m a big fan of Towner’s playing and there’s a really interesting method that Towner wrote (you can see and download it here, and my impression is that it was meant to be free online). I’ve been using the first chapter on what he calls ‘polymetrical rhythmic groupings’ as my arpeggio warmup lately and I really like it.