Earlier in the year, I imported four fine classical guitars from Aiersi Guitars in China, hoping to set up a small speciality online retail outlet in South Africa. Unfortunately, CITES has now severely restricted the import of all Rosewood products and so I have had to abandon the resale venture.
I am now making the four guitars available at cost, which provides a great value opportunity for any musician or investor. Just click on www.guitarsa.co.za/guitars for full details, pictures and Rand values.
The guitar featured in this performance was made by Greek luthier Yorgos Kertsopoulos. He describes the instrument as “designed and constructed by me in 1996 and it is a multi-timbre rectangular guitar with movable back pedal. As the guitarist plays, by pressing slightly the guitar’s back to her/his chest, pedal effects on the sound are produced”
I have taken this video from my favourite classical guitar teaching site, Bradford Werner’s Thisisclassicalguitar.
This what Bradford writes concerning this performance:
Lorenzo Bernardi Plays Confesiòn by Paraguayan guitarist and composer, Agustín Barrios Mangoré (1885–1944). This comes via Bernardi’s Youtube Channel. Guitar made by Philip Woodfield. Some nice musical playing by this young Italian guitarist. “Also known as Confesión de Amor (Confession of Love), Confesión is an example of the genre known as romanza, a slow, melodic piece in duple metre expressive of romantic feeling. Barrios wrote this work in 1923 and recorded it on 21st June, 1928. Here he places the melody in the bass register with the harmonic accompaniment in the upper voices. A profound knowledge of the instrument is necessary to achieve this type of textural writing, and Confesión, together with his Romanza en Imitación al Violoncello, is a masterful display of virtuosity and skill.
I have posted Barrios’ Confesion before but I particularly like this interpretation.
Matthew McAllister plays with his usual competence and style – you can view his website HERE. The piece, Bardenklänge, Op. 13, No. 1, is by J.K.Mertz, a 19th century virtuoso and composer. He was married to a concert pianist and his compositions reflect her influence on his music.
Joaquin Rodrigo was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and lost his sight at the age of three. Despite this, he began to study piano and violin at the age of eight. Many credit him with raising the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and he is best known for his guitar music. However, he never mastered the instrument himself.
Drew Henderson is a virtuoso classical guitarist often cited as one Canada’s best young classical guitarists. Here he plays the final movement of Tres Piezas Españolas by Joaquin Rodrigo (1901-1999)
Augustine Barrios composed many wonderfully lyrical pieces for the classical guitar. I have already featured La Catedral and Alms for the love of God, and here now is his Confession played by Tariq Harb. Tariq was the winner of both the First Prize and the Audience Choice Award in the Barrios WorldWideWeb Competition, so he is a good choice of performer.
Here South Korean brother and sister (Soojin and Seongjun Lee) play Asturias (Leyenda) Op. 47 by Isaac Albéniz (1860-1909). This well-known classical guitar piece, although usually played as a solo performance, was originally written for piano, so a duo arrangement probably comes closer to the composer’s original intent.
Matteo Carcassi (1792 – 1853) was a guitar virtuoso and composer who lived most of his adult life in Paris. His most famous works are collected in his 25 Etudes op.60 where he blended technical skills with good ‘romantic’ music.
Too little moisture in the air for too long and your guitar could crack; too much moisture and it can swell and become hard to play. The measure of the moisture in the air relative to temperature is called Relative Humidity (RH) and this is expressed as a percentage of the airs ability to hold water.
The best way to control your guitars environment is to purchase a hygrometer that has an external gauge and display plus a wireless secondary instrument that you can insert into your guitar case. I have been using one by Acurite for over a year now and I have found it reliable enough for the purpose provided you calibrate it and make the adjustments accordingly. There are few places in South Africa where the RH is extremely low or excessively high for long periods of time but anything above 70% or below 30% for more than a few days is problematic. However, if the change is slow then the guitar would probably handle these extremes reasonably well.
The simplest and cheapest way of controlling the RH is to keep your guitar in its case whenever you are not actually playing it. In addition to this, make a simply humidifier and place it in the guitar case just under the headstock right up against the small accessories compartment. Here is how you make the humidifier:
Take an empty plastic butter/Buttro container about 150mm x 100 x 50 and drill or cut a number of holes in its lid.
Cut a piece of sponge to size (the type you use for washing your car is ideal) and place it inside the container, ensuring that there is a gap of about 10mm between the sponge and the lid.
Dampen the sponge well but not excessively with one part water and four parts propylene glycol. However, when you top up you usually need to only add water as the propylene glycol will remain in the sponge for quite some time. I have found that in typical South African conditions 80/20 propylene glycol to water works fine and keeps the RH at about 50%.
As the RH drops, the sponge will release moisture into the air within the guitar case. However, what is not often mentioned, is that it will also remove excess moisture when the RH is high. By mixing propylene glycol to the water you can control the maximum amount of moisture the humidifier will release. You will have to experiment a little with just how much propylene glycol to use to get the stability point in your particular environment at around 45% to 50 % RH. If you live in South Africa you can order the propylene glycol from http://e-liquid-concentrates.co.za/ Propylene glycol is both an antibacterial and antifungal agent preventing mould from growing in the container.
With this simple humidifier, you should be able to keep your guitar all year round at a moderate RH level and avoid any of the nasty problems that could otherwise occur.