Samuel Guetta meeting...

THE GUITAR SALON.

Before running this year’s training course in Normandy, I travelled to the U.S. and visited the wonderful City of New York ! I had decided not to take a guitar with me but once there thought it would be good to visit some guitar stores and maybe pick up a study guitar to keep me company during my stay. I checked out sellers on the Internet but was surprised how difficult it was to find a good classical guitar store or even to meet other classical guitarists. I eventually found just 2 or 3 references that I found interesting and thought it would be easy to pick up an American study guitar. However, I was to be disappointed as they nearly all came from Europe and their provenance was reflected in their prices. So no reasonable, inexpensive guitar to accompany me on my “Big Apple” vacation. Towards the end of my stay I visited two places: “The Guitar Salon” and the “Luthier Music Corporation”. For “The Guitar Salon” visits were by appointment only and one Wednesday morning I arrived (two hours late) at Miss Beverly Maher’s, Rue Grove in Greenwich Village. On being welcomed into a beautiful apartment by Miss Maher and her dog, I wondered whether I had knocked on the right door as I could only see very old guitars that looked as if they were no longer playable. Miss Maher explained that she had given up on me and was not longer expecting me to turn up ! However, since I had finally arrived, I was welcome to look around and try out the famous concert guitars she had mentioned during our telephone conversation. Although the instruments I tried were beautiful and of high quality, I didn’t come across one that “turned me on”…. Sensing my lack of enthusiasm, she showed me her last guitar. It was a high quality instrument with a superb sound – a Friederich 1971 – price $50000. Beautiful colours of sound that I feel no longer exist with carbon guitars. Regrettably, I did not buy it ! Before parting company, she offered me her company T-shirt. I was surprised to learn that she knew Isabelle Gomez – it’s indeed a small world ! On her living-room wall, a copy of the Bach Chaconne arr signed by André Segovia himself…… Her entire life is devoted to her passion. She was very moved to hear her guitars played – a very touching lady. That afternoon I visited the Luthier Music Corporation. A very unusual entrance – lift to the 4th floor opening directly onto the store and workshop. A very pleasant reception and I asked if I could try some concert guitars. As is often the case, they proposed expensive instruments but which didn’t have the level of sonority I expected…. After a while, I was directed towards guitars that really interested me – a Manuel Adalid, “La Catedral”, John Price and one that I really adored, a Hopf at $16000. As I was leaving the next day, I gave up the idea of getting a study guitar and I certainly missed many places of interest but there was no time. New-York is New-York!!! Next time...

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