You know what? We’ve covered a lot of rock virtuosos as of late and blast it if even I’m not getting a little bit tired of that, so how’s about we slow it down a notch, kick back to the early 20th century and rap about Andres Segovia for a bit? The guy was pretty much incredible. I’d be bold enough to call him the greatest guitarist before Hendrix showed up and started hogging all the glory.
Why’s that? Because he did everything a man could do on the guitar in an era long before the guitar would see expansive attention or really much attention at all.
Late in the romantic era with the piano still a dominating instrument for a guitarist to be so revolutionary is nothing to scoff at and while this is not an attempt to discredit the other guitarists of the era it is simply me stating that I think Segovia was the best.
So here we have a portly man from Spain who started playing guitar at the ripe, young age of six years old and was performing by the time he was a teenager all the while his family encouraged him to persue a career as a lawyer instead. What an alternative. Andres Segovia. Virtuoso law at hand.
So the young Segovia began performing around Europe and South America regardless of what his peers suggested and slowly brought more favorable attention to the classical guitar.
Ok. Enough about about the man. Let’s get to the guitar now.
Segovia met up with the historic German luthier Hermann Hauser who had given him a guitar for an upcoming USA tour. Legend has it Segovia had given the guitar to a friend who had later given it to a student who happened to be Charlie Byrd.
The guitar shown here was made in 1931 and was the first of two guitars, the second being built in 1937. It has Brazilian rosewood back and sides, and a German spruce top. Its roughly a 25 1/2 scale length.
Inside it is inscribed: (In french) “For may dear friend, the great maestro Andrès Segovia made by H. Hauser, Munich 1931.”
There isn’t alot more information than that on this guitar – so just be grateful it’s not another Steve Vai article.
- Check out this video of Andres Segovia (opens in a cute little window)