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Our good friend Yury Nugmanov was here all week shooting a documentary about the guitar for Russian TV. The two main things they had to shoot for the film were his visit with Pepe Romero down in San Diego, and his visit to GSI, where he got his beloved Miguel Rodriguez a few years back.
Probably the reason Yury is so good is that he literally can’t put down the guitar. More than pretty much any guitarist I know, he just never stops playing, so we knew he’d be good for some videos as he played a bunch of our guitars. There are more to come, but here are the first three:
So David Collett and I went on this crazy trip to Moscow where we hung out with some great guitarists, guitar makers, collectors and other assorted characters. I lived in Moscow for a few years in the mid-nineties (long story, which I’ll explain, but no, I’m not Russian in any way), so a lot of these guys were people I hadn’t seen in over 15 years. One guy I hadn’t known was classical guitarist Yuri Nugmanov – we hung out for a bit and then he played an impromptu concert for us and I was just blown away by his playing. I’ll post more about the trip throughout the week, but in the meantime here’s a video of Yuri playing some Mozart. Given the backdrop I imagine it was some sort of Christmas concert.
I finally bought an iPhone. I’d been on the fence for a while, and in the end it was not so much the iPhone itself that convinced me (I really like my Android, which has a few features the iPhone would do well to copy) as it was the fact that I needed one in order to use Apogee’s new ‘Mic’.
Click on the image to read my review and hear the Mic.
Looking back at all of the videos we shot in 2011 it’s impossible not to feel thankful for all the great guitarists, most of whom have become friends (if they weren’t already), who came through GSI this year and lent us their talent to help show off and archive some of the countless amazing guitars that come through the shop. They all have hectic schedules and tons to do, so I want to thank everyone for making the time. I like to think that everyone had a good time playing some new and interesting guitars, but it’s also important to remember that they all put themselves out there playing guitars they weren’t used to, and many of them were extremely accommodating of my schedule, for which I owe them a personal thank-you.
A lot of the players surprised me with music I hadn’t heard before or just particularly beautiful performances, and some of them just plain lived up to my already-high expectations of them.
In no particular order, here are the players who made this blog a really great place to hear guitar music this year and without whom many of us might never have heard some of these guitars (names will link to videos or articles about them on the blog):
Duo Solaris (Scott Wolf and Connie Sheu)
Alma Nova (Almer Imamovic and Jessica Pierce)
Line Forms Hear (Scott Morris, Steve Thachuk and Julian Coryell)
When I started doing these videos almost a year and a half ago I didn’t know nearly as much about classical guitars and makers as I did about flamencos, but after hearing hundreds of guitars played by amazing players I feel like I have a pretty good grasp now of what to look for in a classical guitar, too. One of the things I’ve noticed is that I consistently like the Teodoro Perez guitars. Even when comparing them to some of the most expensive and famous guitars around, they always hold their own, and often they’re the players’ top choice.
So, just for fun, I thought I’d do a compilation post of some of the great recordings we’ve done withPerez guitars in the last year or so, and include a little interview with Perez I did at his shop in Madrid.
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 very cool and singular guitar – a Hermann Hauser III guitar from 1990 that he made for Celedonio Romero using a top that was put together by his grandfather, Hermann Hauser I, in 1946. Since Hauser I would have used only aged wood for his tops, it stands to reason that the spruce top is around 100 years old, even though the guitar is only 21 years old. David Collett, who probably knows Hauser guitars better than just about anyone alive, thinks it sound pretty much exactly like a Hauser I. Listen to guitarist Yury Nugmanov playing it: