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Here’s our friend guitarist Florian Blöchinger playing Francisco Tarrega’s Gran Jota on a 2017 Florian Blöchinger – a beautiful spruce and CSA rosewood guitar that he made earlier this year. Florian’s career has been taking off both as a performer and a luthier, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch this young luthier/guitarist make a name for himself.

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Here’s Duo Pacifica – JohnPaul Trotter and Renee Henn – playing Laurindo Almeida’s arrangement of A Casinha Pequenina, with JohnPaul playing a beautiful 2017 Florian Blochinger cedar-top classical.

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Luthier and guitarist Florian Blochinger was back at GSI delivering some stunning instruments and playing them for us, too. Here he is playing Tarrega’s Adelita and Tarrega’s arrangement of Sebastián Yradier’s La Paloma on a 2016 Florian Blochinger and a 2017 Florian Blochinger, respectively, and then Florian and JohnPaul Trotter play Pepe Romero’s arrangement of Albeniz’ Granada on both guitars.

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We’ve just received our first guitar from German luthier Florian Blochinger, who happens to be the son of the great luthier Edmund Blochinger. Florian not only brought us one of the best guitars we’ve ever seen by such a young luthier, he played the guitar beautifully, too. This comes as less of a surprise when you learn that in addition to his regular lessons Florian has been having regular master classes with family friend Pepe Romero since he began playing. In any case, this is an impressive debut and GSI is very happy to now represent both Blochingers in the US.

Here he is playing Tarrega’s Lagrima and Torroba’s Romance de Los Pinos on his new guitar.

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Here’s Florian Blochinger, son of luthier Edmund Blochinger, playing Capricho Arabe on a 1992 Ober/Blochinger – a guitar made by his father in the year he was born! Florian is currently studying luthiery, but has been playing the guitar all his life, and has had guidance from family friend Pepe Romero from the very beginning, in addition to his regular studies with Klaus Duschl. Most luthiers play very little if at all, so it will be very interesting to watch Florian develop as a luthier who really understands the needs of the player.

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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:

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This is the second of two instruments that Edmund Blöchinger built nearly side-by-side, using a flitch set of CSA for the back and sides, but using two different (and equally ancient) tops for each one. A couple of weeks before this instrument arrived, we had received the first of these, his “Dome” guitar with the sister set of back and sides to this pine, which itself has its own incredible back-story that you can read here. But let us turn to this pine-topped instrument, which is an entirely different marvel unto itself also with its own compelling background.

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The CSU Summer Arts program in Granada, Spain, is in full swing and culminates with a final student concert next week. In the meantime we’ve all been having a great time enjoying this amazing city. As the program coincided with the first annual Granada Guitar Festival, organized by our good friend Vicente Coves, it’s been an amazing experience all around and the mayor of Granada met with us to discuss doing it again as soon as possible. In the photo above from left to right are: Vicente Coves, Scott Morris, who organized the program, Joanne Sharp, the mayor, me, and the culture minister of the city.

The rest of the photos feature a lot of tapas and shots of Granada, along with Vicente and Scott, Florian Blochinger, who played a concert on the opening night of the festival, my friend Stephen Hill reunited with the guitar he made for me in 1989 (his 8th guitar ever), and luthier Jose Vigil. We’ll have lots more photos and a full report on the festival very soon.

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We are very excited to announce the First Annual Granada Guitar Festival, being organized by our good friend (and great guitarist) Vicente Coves. The festival kicks off with a concert series entitled “The Spanish Guitar”, which will feature concerts by Rafael Habicuela, Florian Blochinger, Rafael Aguirre, Pepe Romero, Margarita Escarpa and more. The second stage of the festival is a series entitled “Legends of Music in Film”, featuring a concert by Pepe Romero conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos and concerts in homage to Segovia and the great flamenco singer Enrique Morente. And the final stage of the festival is a luthiery competition in which GSI president David Collett will be judging. Check out the European Guitar Foundation for details and plan your trip to Granada now!

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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.

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