Glad to be here!
My name is Martin. I live in Sweden, was born in 1958 and have been playing the guitar since I was thirteen or fourteen. At first I learnt to play chords to simple mostly folk-style tunes. Sometime in the seventies the popularity of classical guitar music was increasing, and soon I was listening to classical players like Diego Blanco, Narciso Yepes, John Williams, Julian Bream, Christoffer Parkening and - of course - Göran Söllscher.
For several years I tried to study and practice for myself, so as a classical guitarist I’m mainly self-taught, although there were later periods when I got to take private lessons. I have never become a great guitar player, but good enough that in my early twenties I made a living from giving classes to beginner guitar players.
Of course there have been periods of my life when haven’t been playing. Studies, work, children, other interests have taken over. I also played (and still play) some rock&roll. But it seems I always come back to classical…
Now, at my recent come back to the classical guitar, I focus on playing (and singing) music by the Swedish 18th century poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Michael_Bellman
. Although composing some, Bellman to a great extent used and adapted earlier music, for instance by Johan Helmich Roman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Helmich_Roman
. Original scores available in facsimile are for the piano, but there are excellent guitar transcriptions to find. (My nick of choice is the name of one of the most frequent characters in the songs and "epistles" of Bellman.)
Instruments: My first guitar was a cheap Egmond, basically a plywood box, handed down to me from my older sister. Soon I was looking for a more satisfying instrument. The most common brand in Sweden at that time was Levin, but I wanted to be different and settled for a Bjärton, the underdog competitor. (They were exported under the brand Hagström). It was a decent build with a solid spruce top, and of course much easier playing than the Egmond, but to be true the tone was quite dull (and I also remember the guitar having a strange smell).
It wasn’t long before I traded the Bjärton for a second hand Ibanez Andorra. That was my first decent classical guitar, but it wasn’t long, though before the Ibanez had to go for an Aria AC-8 that I kept for a few years before settling for another Aria guitar, a handcrafted Aria Maestro 80 with a spruce top. I bought it new in 1979, still keep it, and only death may part the two of us. It was what I could afford at that time. Maybe not a top notch guitar, but very nice playing with a well-balanced voice. I see no reason to climb the ladder any higher, and since I have had it for now almost forty years it’s become family. Although the brand Aria is well known with good reputation, I can’t find much information about this particular model and it doesn’t have a serial number to go by, so if any of you out there have information on the model I’d be grateful.
That was a little about me...