Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Guitarist's Nightmare #6

Performers live in a high-stress environment where you are only as good as your last concert. That being the case, there are a lot of things that give us nightmares! In fact, I used to have a recurring nightmare where I had been hired to play one of the Rodrigo guitar concertos with an orchestra and arrived at the first rehearsal (the day before the concert) only to discover that the rental company had sent the parts to the wrong concerto!!

Here are some other nightmares that sometimes come to pass:
  • You arrive at the hall with your guitar and as you are opening the stage door, it sticks and you break off your thumbnail! (Solution: always carry with you a ping pong ball, Swiss army knife, Krazy Glue and sandpaper for polishing. You just cut a half-moon slice out of the ping pong ball and glue it on top of your regular nail. Sand and polish, voila!)
  • You open your case and discover that your 4th string has broken at the bridge. (Yes, this happens. Solution: have spare strings!)
  • You are running up the stairs to backstage, trip and stumble into the bannister, breaking the neck of your guitar. (Solution: there is no solution. Don't run with scissors or guitars!)
  • You are playing in the pit for an opera and for some reason the oboe gives an A to tune to that is way above A 440. You are not used to making big tuning changes when forty other people are tuning. (Solution: put your ear right up against the body of the guitar and do your best.)
  • You open the case of your guitar and discover that the bridge has popped off:

Yep, sadly that happened to me Sunday morning. I just took her to my guitar builder/repair guy and he said she should be good as new in a couple of weeks. The glue just gave way, but there was no real damage.

Let me put up a piece I recorded on this guitar a number of years ago. Asturias (Leyenda) by Isaac Albéniz:

video

3 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I just want to say, what a well-done performance of Asturias. The different "voices" are well-balanced, and it has a nice, steady tempo where you can hear everything clearly.

Bryan Townsend said...

Thanks so much! This was one of the pieces that made me want to be a classical guitarist. It was quite a few years before I could approach the piece technically.