Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

andyk
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Post by andyk » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:40 pm

My name is Andrzej. I am 68 and, prompted by my youngest daughter, started weekly classical guitar lessons just over a year ago. I try not to notice that many accomplished guitarists started when they were about 4 years old, or in the womb in the case of some Chinese and Japanese proteges! So, why have i waited so long?

I was given a 3/4 steel string guitar when i was 14. I struggled to teach myself, despite many 'Teach Yoursel' books. Also, i had few friends with guitars to learn from. So i just posed in the mirror and managed to shape the main chords, but rarely put them together into songs. No staying power + chicken wire strings = frustration & sorw fingers! I did tease out a mean 'House of the Rising Sun' though. I got my first adult guitar aged 34 at the same time as i bought my wife a fine Raimundo. Mine was a Kimbara 175N, which i still have. The problem now was that, despite evening classes in two different Towns (we moved a few months after the guitar purchases and again a year later; nothing to do with a love of Django Reinhardt or the Gypsy life!) The classes didn't last too long, but i found the strings hard to press down, so played it only very occasionally. It was only when the plastic saddle cracked, and i took the guitar in for a new saddle, did i find that the action was too high! Had i read 'How to play guitar' by Frederick Noad more carefully, i would have known that this might be a problem. With a new saddle things were much better By then i was already bitten by the playing bug.

Two months before being 're-saddled' i encountered a gorgeous sounding spruce top Valencia semi acoustic guitar and bought it an impulse. A bargain at £95. So now i was a two guitar man. As the Kimbara sounded dull, i hankered for a decent cedar top, so sought out a superb Raimundo. Result.Since then i have added three more guitars, as i wanted a range of instruments with individual characteristics. So, this year, i have bought two Salvador Cortez guitars (one solid spruce, one solid cedar), which are wonderful, and a basic looking but sparky Valencia laminated spruce guitar. There is ni truth in the suspicion that i am to lazy to change strings or want a guitar for each day of the week! In fact i have experimented with different brands and tensions of strings and have found the best fit for each of my girls.They seem happy with my choice 😊

As to lessons, it is something i look forward to wach Friday morning, and i practise for an hour a day. I have made good progress over the year and am currently tackling my 9th and 10th pieces. The 9th happens to be a Grade 3 piece, altho i am not studying for grades/exams. The 10th (Lágrima) is one i wanted to try. To my teacher's chagrin, i downloaded the music and learned the noted from the TAB line! Heresy, i hear you cry! I know, but i was impatient to have a go asap. I may face guitar excomunication 😣 Anyway, life still goes on. I deel more enthusiastic about learnibg and pkayibg that at any other time of my life and embrace it as a passion. I pray now that i live long enough to achieve a good standard, even if i never have an audience. They say it's never too late I hope they are right 😁

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Post by Erik Zurcher » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:50 pm

Hello Andrzej and welcome to Delcamp forum! Enjoy yourself and see you around!

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Reedition Domingo Esteso by Conde Hermanos 2004; Kenny Hill, model Barcelona 2001
"While you try to master classical guitar, prepare for a slave's life: the guitar will forever be your master and you its slave".

andyk
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Re: Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Post by andyk » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:05 pm

Thanks. I hope someone finds what i have posted interesting. It's surprising how long it takes to record what you want to say! I hope it was not overlong. I still plan to broach the subjects of different types and brands of strings (does anyone actually find Daddario strings any good?), is there too much snobbery about Luthier guitars and cut down socks as arm sleeves? I hope to learn good habits and exchanging other ideas. The journey starts here

andyk
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Re: Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Post by andyk » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:08 am

Just read the 'Frequently Asked Questions' section. Really interesting and useful. I aee that, in a recent Poll, 49% of respondents liked D'Addario strings and 18% liked Savarez strings. I have recently been won round to Savarez strings, having had good results with Savarez Crystal, Corum Alliance and Red Label. With D'Addario strings (EJ46) however, i have found the results disappointing. The trebles sounded dull on each of my cedar guitars (Kimbara N175 and Raimundo 123). The only positive was when i used the basses with Savarez trebles on the Kimbara for a while. I think there may be a problem with the resonance of the Kimbara, though.

I bought the Kimbara in 1983 for £60 i think. I have used mainly Augustine Blue Hard Tension strings, although have also used the Red (Medium) and Black (Low) as well as other HT makes (Darco, La Bella and Aquila). Recently, i relaced the plastic saddle with GTech Tusq man made ivory saddle. I have noticed a little more brightness in the strings, but not a lot of increased volume (especially in the trebles). I will try Savarez and Galli Crystal strings today, but don't hold out much hope of a vast improvement. The guitar never was that vibrant, so perhaps i have to resign myself to it's characteristics and concentrate on my five other guitars. I suppose, altho it was a 'budget' guitar in its time (and now perhaps a vintage model - Kimbara stopped making guitars in Japan in 1989 in favour of Indonesia and China) it is a rarity. I even tried a set of Aquila Ambra 800 HT strings out; these are nylgut trebles and wound silk basses, intended for older instruments, intended to evoke the sound of the 19th century. The result was only average. However, on my Valencia semi-acoustic guitar (bought in July last year, so hardly 'vintage') the result is extremely impressive. Whilst not exactly taking me back 150 years or so, the tone and colour is outstanding (even my teacher was impressed). The Valencia is a spruce laminate top instrument and worked a dream with Augustine Black (LT) and Savarez Crystal strings, so is more versatile than the solid cedar top Kimbara. The experimentation continues.

Views, comments and advice welcome from all!

andyk
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:09 pm

Re: Hail from Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

Post by andyk » Sun Oct 22, 2017 9:13 pm

Good news, kindred pluckers. If you have read my earlier message today, you will know that i planned to try different strings than previously used, to try and liven up my 1983 Kimbara. I am elighted to announced that, having fitted a used (3 months old) set of Galli Titanio strings, the result is very good. Therw is now a new vibrancy and sparkle to the old girl! I feel like the biblical shepherd who found (and rescucitated) his sheep (guitar). Credit also to the GTech Tusq saddle, which added to the vibrancy. 'Kim' can now hold herself up proudly with my 5 other 'girls'. 3 super cedar and 3 super spruce instruments in my musical collection. Also, i can claim to have surpassed Segovia in guitar longevity ownership. He had his Ramirez from 1912 to 1936, when he changed to the Herman Hauser (until 1963). My Kimbara has been with me now for 34 years! Ok. Segovia undoubtedly played his two guitars more (and better!) in one good week than i played mine in 34 years. Just saying 😊

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