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Review: The Guitar of Andres Segovia Hermann Hauser 1937

Review: The Guitar of Andres Segovia Hermann Hauser 1937

Reviewed by Tom Harper

Originally published in American Lutherie #83, 2005 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Seven, 2015



The Guitar of Andrés Segovia Hermann Hauser 1937
Liner notes by Richard Bruné and Don Pilarz
Produced by Dynamic S.r.l., Genova, Italy
Dynamic catalog number CDS 433

Wouldn’t it be great to have in one source working drawings, textual explanations, photographs, and recordings of one of the most important instruments ever built? Dynamic’s offering does exactly this. Richard Bruné, Don Pilarz, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art collaborated to create a definitive description of Andrés Segovia’s famous 1937 Hauser guitar. The result is a boxed set containing a multilingual pamphlet (Italian, English, German, and French), three sheets of full-scale working drawings, a full-length audio CD of Segovia playing the instrument, and a poster. All this fits into a box that is about 6"×9"×3/4".

The pamphlet describes Segovia’s challenges to establish the guitar as a serious classical instrument, the requirements for the instrument, technical details about it, and its physical state. One also gets a sense of Hermann Hauser as a builder. It is clear that he did not create great instruments by accident or luck. There are also almost thirty color photographs that display important details of the outside and inside of the instrument that are very useful to a builder wanting to create a Hauser-style instrument. The writing is clear and concise and provides construction details that I have not seen elsewhere.

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Review: French Polishing for Guitarmakers 2.0 by Dr. Ronald Louis Fernández

Review: French Polishing for Guitarmakers 2.0 by Dr. Ronald Louis Fernández

Reviewed by Tom Harper

Originally published in American Lutherie #97, 2009



French Polishing for Guitarmakers 2.0
Dr. Ronald Louis Fernández
DVD 2005 53 minutes NTSC $49.95

Ron Fernández is a smart guy with an interesting set of life experiences, a number of which provide ample background to present the material found in this tutorial. His academic studies have provided significant experiences with research, teaching, and contact with Spanish and Portuguese cultures. The thesis for his doctorate in cultural anthropology examined the interaction of Spanish and Portuguese immigrants living in the Quebec area of Canada. While doing his research, he was also a sought-out guitar player for various events within these communities.

Contact with the guitar world began earlier than his doctoral research, however. His father, who was Spanish, had an import/export business that sold goods in Spain. One of the tricks for this business was getting money made in Spain out of it. The Franco regime allowed foreigners to spend money but not take Spanish money out. Fernández senior solved this by buying Spanish goods with the profits and importing them into the United States. These goods included guitars which gave Ron, who traveled with his father, direct contact with some great builders such as Manuel Rodríguez and the builders at the José Ramírez firm. His father’s business was even supplying western red cedar to Ramírez for a period of time. Several of these business relationships turned into friendships, which allowed Ron to see firsthand the building and finishing of fine instruments. The techniques he demonstrates on the DVD are a record of Ron’s observations and discussions with the builders he has visited in addition to his personal experiences with French polishing.

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Review: La Chitarra di Liuteria — Masterpieces of Guitar Making by Stefano Grondona and Luca Waldner

Review: La Chitarra di Liuteria — Masterpieces of Guitar Making by Stefano Grondona and Luca Waldner

Reviewed by Tom Harper

Previously published in American Lutherie #93, 2008



La Chitarra di Liuteria — Masterpieces of Guitar Making
Stefano Grondona and Luca Waldner
ISBN 8886949189
l’officina del libro, 2001
Hardback, 213 pages plus audio CD
Italian text with English translation

Stefano Grondona, world class performer and teacher at the Conservatory of Vicenza, and Luca Waldner, an Italian performer turned luthier, have created a beautiful text chronicling the significant achievements of guitar building from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century. The text was inspired by a well-received series of exhibitions at the Conservatory of Vicenza displaying the instruments found in the text. Rather than attempt another survey of guitar history, the authors state in the preface that they wanted to start with the intrinsic value of each instrument and “convey first and foremost what might be described as an emotional understanding of them, historical points of reference being of only secondary importance.”

Their approach has created a text by which to judge others. Everything about this book is first-rate. It is well constructed, delightful to browse, and interesting to read. The content is more than a history of the instruments. It portrays a cultural context for each instrument, and when useful, states the authors’ well thought-out hypotheses about some of the mysteries of guitar history. They are good about letting the reader know when an opinion is being stated.

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This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page.

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