Er, guitars! I had finally saved enough money & today I went and spent it all. On a Very Nice (for me) classical guitar. I took my brother along as moral support so I wouldn’t chicken out. I sent him an email yesterday asking what his weekend plans were & he said they were minimal so we should do it. I said what time. He said, “I think we should be there when the store opens.” What time is that? “10, but when I went at 10 to get mine they weren’t open yet, so pick me up at 10.” Ok. I get an email back. “Haven’t you waited long enough?” Indeed.

So we showed up. The guys at Rosewood Guitars are very nice. There were two guys there today, we started off with one & they switched at 11 when one guy got out of teaching a class & the other had to go in to teach a class. They have a bunch of guitars for sale out in the main room, but for trying to figure out which one I wanted, they set us up in a room & started us off with a guitar. This room had their collection of guitars, from 19th century guitars to guitars not for sale because they collect them also as investment pieces. A points out that there are guitars that they sell in the $10K+ range. Also points out that when I get home and break the price to P that I should point out how many thousands of dollars I saved… Heh.

I played it (damn my poor memory for the pieces I’m currently working on!), A played it while I stood in front of it. The guy brought us a second guitar, I played it then the first one then the second one again. A played the new one, the first one, then the new one again. The guys who were helping us traded off & the second guy came in & sat down & played both guitars while we stood in front. We talked about sound, and tone, and stuff.

Then he brought in a third guitar. He played it, played the first, played the second, played it, sound/tone/stuff talk. I played it, played the first one, played the second one, played the third one, back to the second, back to the first, back to the third.

By this point, I’d settled on the first passage of a piece by Sor. I still play awkwardly as I’ve been playing on either steel string or half size classical. There’s an obvious adjustment issue between half to full-size guitar. What might not be so obvious to non-players, is that classical guitars are built differently from steel strings (which are different from electric). The neck is much wider & the back of the neck is flat, rather than rounded. This means the stretch of fingers on the neck is somewhat larger. A was playing a Villa-Lobos piece that didn’t require him to retune the guitar to a drop D.

He played all three instruments, then I sat down & played all three again. The third one was awful pretty. I noticed the stretch even on basic open chords like G caused my pinky finger to hook over to the side so I was pressing down with the side of my finger. My pinky is curved on that hand. It’s totally bizarre! I think I knew that, but had forgotten or stopped paying attention. Gotta start paying attention to that again. So I asked A & we talked a bit about it & the guy came back in & I asked if a 7/8ths size guitar would be something that might be a work around for this small hands issue. He said mostly it came down to technique, but they had one in the shop, so I played it. It didn’t sound as nice as the third guitar. I said, “Well that was an interesting experiment! Thank you!”

He brought in a fifth guitar. Yes. I know. So, you know the routine by now, mostly. I played them all (except the 7/8ths which went away), A played all of them, the guy played all of them, talk about sound/tone/stuff. Talk about the fact that this fifth guitar was a good $400 additional over the price of the third guitar & the girls need pants without holes in them. My brother started giggling & said, “Are you sure? Maybe you’ll *find* a pair of pants! Hey! There’s a pair of pants! < pointing at the corner >” “Yeah, how about, M1, why don’t you borrow a pair of Uncle A’s pants!” We had a good laugh, settled on the third guitar, I didn’t choke or keel over as I paid & we walked to the car full of glee & congratulations.

We celebrated with lunch at Persimmon, then went and played at A’s apartment for a bit. Then I came home & played a little more. And now? P is going to go take a bath & I’m thinking… I’m thinking I might just play just a little more this evening. Just maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe just a *leetle*.

Pix of the real thing in the near future (need to take ’em for insurance purposes anyway), but for now here’s the factory shot. It’s an Alhambra 6P Classical (made in Spain), solid red cedar top, Indian rosewood sides & back, Spanish cedar neck, ebony fingerboard, (ostentatiously) the machine heads are gold-plated. Pretty pretty pretty, my pretty!

We get back to A’s place to play & he turns to me & says, “Hey, you want an Alhambrager?” I look at him and say, “I CAN HAZ ALHAMBRAGER?” As his sweet cat curls around his ankles, he laughs and says, “YOU CAN HAZ ALHAMBRAGER!”

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