Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

Ok, I just posted a last set of photos of my latest Stauffer/Viennese style 8 string replica before putting it in it's case, into the shipping crate and off to shipping company for it's long journey to a new home on the other side of the world, Edinburgh, Scotland. This design is one of my favorites to build and play...another is already making it's presence felt on my work bench.

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I wonder who the lucky recipient is? Oh wait - it's me!

This instrument is going to be "dans de bonnes mains" as we say in french. Congratulation.

"dans de bonnes mains! 

Looks fabulous! A very serious and professional looking instrument. I am very interested to hear what Rob is going to play on it :-)

Smoke On The Water, of course! :-)

It's designed to self distruct at the first strains of "Smoke on the Water" or "Stairway to Heaven"...a new feature I've incorporated into all my guitars. Got the idea from watching old reruns of the "Mission Impossible" television show...so if you see smoke it ain't on the water and you'd better run like...er, Heaven for the stairs!

OK. How about The Mission Impossible theme tune?

Now, that would be cool!

Well, the guitar arrived from Scot on Friday, and on Saturday I played it in a Diabelli trio, with voice and voice flute. That was a last-minute thing, and a bit frantic getting it together, but it was well received. Today, however, I've managed to spend a few hours with instrument, getting to know what it does naturally. I have to say, the more I play it the more I'm learning from it.

I've never really appreciated before how different the Spanish aesthetic is from the Viennese aesthetic. It's not until you spend some time with a Viennese guitar do you notice it's piano-like quality. This is all fascinating to me. I played through the first ten studies of Giuliani's Opus 48. I'd ignored these studies before, preferring Sor's harmonic and melodic mastery. Giuliani's studies by comparison seemed just a bunch of scales and arpeggios. But, playing them on a Viennese guitar, they really come to life. This is fun!

The neck just invites running around on, split-parallel octaves, thirds, sixths, etc - all just good clean fun! The sound is full and even, and at times I think I'm playing a fortepiano. I know I'm going to enjoy this music more, now I have an appropriate guitar to play it on. I just drop a low D or C here or there on the floating basses. I'm sure Giuliani is not losing sleep over it.

So, go get yourself a new Stauffer or similar! And don't think I've suddenly become a speed freak virtuoso - I'll never be that - but I'm enjoying a little extra sparkle. Hopefully it won't be long before I upload something.



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