Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

ToniLeo
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Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by ToniLeo » Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:54 pm

Hi everybody,

This is my introductory post. I'm glad to join this wonderful community. :D

I am 65 years old and play classical guitar since 46 years. At age 10 I started to learn flute at school. My first guitar (a bad one) I got at the age of 17, and a decent guitar combined with (kind of) professional teaching at the age of 19. About 4 years later, already equipped with a "Hense" guitar, I applied to study music at Musikhochschule Hamburg. There was an entrance examination, and I made it. But since I had only 4 years of regular training, my technical skills at that time were not excellent. So I was put on a wait. I took private lessons with my favorite professor from Musikhochschule for a couple of years, but I got no permission to study officially at Musikhochschule. So I finally gave up and studied something else, German literature, which I finished as a Master of Art degree.

From age 24 to 30 I worked as a guitar teacher, first at a private school (teaching beginners) and later at "Hamburger Jugendmusikschule". From age 26 to 30 I also played electric guitar in rock and rythm&blues bands, and sang Bob Dylan and Donavan songs as a street performer. At age 30 I returned to play classical guitar. My favorite epoches are Baroque, Renaissance, and Modern (20th century).

Since age 30 till retirement (right now) I worked as journalist writing about science and technology. I continued to play classical guitar, but not always with daily exercises. There were periods when I practiced a lot (many hours a day), and others when I played only once per week. My playing level stayed elevated, one could say semi-professional. About five years ago I started to practice every day again, playing between one and three hours daily. I managed to play fluently and with adequate techniques difficult pieces like "Chaconne d-minor" (Bach) and "La Catedral" (Barrios). I currently work on many different pieces, mainly Bach (Lute suites, fugue in a-minor BWV 1000, fugue for violin BWV 1003), Leopold S. Weiss (Fantasie d-minor) Villa-Lobos (Chorus No. 1), Barrios, Leo Brouwer, A. Lauro (Valses), Mudarra (Fantasia X) etc. I currently have a repertoire of about 20 pieces that I can play fluently by heart. I also play some Bossa Nova (Baden Powell style). My plan is to play classical guitar as a street performer in Hamburg, starting in summer 2018. My mothertongue is German, but I am also fluent in English and Spanish. I lived in the U.S. for 1.5 years and more than three years in Mexico.
Last edited by ToniLeo on Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Erik Zurcher
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Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by Erik Zurcher » Mon Feb 05, 2018 8:33 pm

Hello ToniLeo 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".

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fretter
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Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by fretter » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:13 am

Hello, ToniLeo! It's wonderful to meet to many classical guitar lovers, as well as mature players. My mother was German, and I love Germany, but I speak only English. If you do street performances in summer, please post videos online and share links here? -- I'm new here, too, but welcome to the forum.

John Jay
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Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:05 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO, USA

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by John Jay » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:01 am

Hi ToniLeo, thanks for sharing your interesting background! I admire that, after retirement, you are planning to go back to street performing. I wish you the best of luck, and I hope that this forum is useful for you. Also, I really wish I could speak three languages!

Jack Douglas
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Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:37 am
Location: Ashland, Va

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by Jack Douglas » Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:38 pm

Hi Tonileo,
Thank you for your fascinating introduction and story of your affection for the classical guitar. Welcome to Delcamp.
I look forward to your participation and continuing posting.
I’m curious about one ‘how to’ street playing question. Will you amplify your guitar? If so, how and with what?
Thanks again for your introduction.
Cheers,
Jack
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

ToniLeo
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by ToniLeo » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:02 pm

Thank all of you for that very warm welcome. When I'll start to street perform, I'll provide you with videos.

PLFinoti
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Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:23 pm

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by PLFinoti » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:04 pm

Hello Tonileo ! that's a great story of love for the instrument throughout time ! I'm from Brazil though having Italian and Austrian ascendancy, and I find your interest in Brazilian music quite interesting, besides Villa-Lobos and Powell are you into any other composer ?

ToniLeo
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by ToniLeo » Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:39 am

Jack Douglas wrote:
Thu Feb 08, 2018 12:38 pm
Hi Tonileo, ... I’m curious about one ‘how to’ street playing question. Will you amplify your guitar? If so, how and with what?
Thanks again for your introduction.
Cheers,
Jack

Hi Jack,

I bought a "Mouse" amplifier in the 1990s in Boston.

Here a photo of a very used one (not mine which is in much better shape):
http://content.propertyroom.com/listing ... 708922.jpg

The Mouse amp was commonly used by U.S. street performers at that time, it is great for acoustic instruments. The amp still works, but I needed to change the exhausted rechargeable batteries. Unfortunately the batteries are (long lasting) lead type like in a car, which makes the amp quite heavy. I think about exchanging them with modern batteries like those power packs to recharge smartphones.

On the guitar side I use a special microphone called Chroma-Cord Rumba K. Std. (German)

http://cromacord.net/amp/ger/CROMAcord- ... a-Mikrofon

This microphone is placed directly in the scarf hole and secured by elastic belts. It has a built-in preamp (needs 9 V battery) and is connected to the Mouse amp with a standard cable like those electric guitar players use. Because of the fixing mechanism the microphone always stays in ideal position in the center of the scarf hole even when the guitar is moved. I bought the microphone used about 20 years ago from a professional jazz guitarist (he used a classical guitar for his performances). It also has the advantage of little acoustic feedback, but I don't play very loud anyway. The amp only has the job to let the guitar sound as loud as it would in a living room - despite the traffic noise. Without an amp, you would be lost as a classical guitar street performer.

The guitar I use for street performances is a very shabby and old "Aria Flamenco" guitar that I received in the 1970s (partly damaged) as a gift from a friend with (later severe) mental disorders who intentionally damaged it on a rant. I fixed the guitar and even painted the body (but not the top) in wine red. Still, this is one of my favorite guitars, and I even took it to India and Mexico. This guitar has a perfect straight neck (very easy to play) and a decent sound. On street performances you can never be sure that someone who doesn't like classical guitar (a punker, skinhead or whoever) or who thinks you a "snobbish" gives you a kick into your instrument. So this is not the place to show up with your Ramirez ;-)

This equipment altogether doesn't sound really sophisticated, but IMHO good enough. I also like the understatement of that old shabby guitar in combination with advanced and sophisticated playing techniques. 50 years of partly very intense active practice is something the average street guitarist can't show off with ;-). So the "value" comes (hopefully) from the music and the interpretation, not from a fine instrument or advanced appearance.

Cheers, Claus (Toni and Leo are the names of my sons).
Last edited by ToniLeo on Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:47 am, edited 3 times in total.

ToniLeo
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:49 pm
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by ToniLeo » Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:31 am

PLFinoti wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:04 pm
Hello Tonileo ! ... I find your interest in Brazilian music quite interesting, besides Villa-Lobos and Powell are you into any other composer ?
Hi PL,

actually, one of my favorite classical guitar performers is Edson Lopes from São Paulo: He is one of the few players who really enchant me because of his profound musicality, his depth and virtuosity as well as his inarrogant demeanor.

Lopes also offers tons of free scores on his home page and in a Google cloud. I love (and play) his interpretation of the brasilian classic "Tic-tico, no Fuba". He also offers my favorite "Se ela perguntar" from Dilermando Reis.

His fingering often is easy to play - f. e. his wonderful version of the Allegro from the Bach Suite in E-flat-Major (BWV 998) and of Tarregas "Capricho Árabe".

My musical "socialisation" started with Blues (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee) that I heard in a Hamburg pub a age 16. Rock bands like Jethro Tull (Bourree) brought me to J. S. Bach, who now definitely is my favorite composer. So I started to play the Bourree from the first Lute Suite at age 20. But "black music" (including latin music) continued to fascinate me (also "wild stuff" like Youssou N'Dour from Senegal). At age 20 I also "fell in love" with Bossa Nova and learned to play a couple of pieces with help of an at that time famous Hamburg stage performer called "Memo" from El Salvador who gave me some private lessons. I recently contacted him, he is now about 80 years old, lives in Berlin and still performes very well (f. e. Mazurka Apasionata by Augustin Barrios). Barrios is Nr. 2 of my favorite composers, followed by Leo Brouwer and Antonio Lauro.

Cheers, Claus (ToniLeo)

Jack Douglas
Posts: 1354
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:37 am
Location: Ashland, Va

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by Jack Douglas » Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:30 pm

Hi Tonileo,
Thanks for the detailed ‘amp’ and guitar information. Sounds like you have a fun performance life.
Jack
Richard Brune 'Artist' Cedar/Brazilian 1996

PLFinoti
Posts: 6
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:23 pm

Re: Hi from Hamburg - Playing Guitar Since Almost 50 Years

Post by PLFinoti » Thu Mar 15, 2018 9:05 pm

''actually, one of my favorite classical guitar performers is Edson Lopes from São Paulo: He is one of the few players who really enchant me because of his profound musicality, his depth and virtuosity as well as his inarrogant demeanor.

Lopes also offers tons of free scores on his home page and in a Google cloud. I love (and play) his interpretation of the brasilian classic "Tic-tico, no Fuba". He also offers my favorite "Se ela perguntar" from Dilermando Reis.

His fingering often is easy to play - f. e. his wonderful version of the Allegro from the Bach Suite in E-flat-Major (BWV 998) and of Tarregas "Capricho Árabe".''

What a great surprise to have Edson mentioned here ! I actually study/and started a duo at the classical guitar university with one of his female students, we are always talking about him and his perfomances and/or using some of his transcriptions ! great person

Thanks a lot for your story !

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