For the Love of Guitars
The Personal Weblog of Edward W. Farrell   
For the Love of Guitars Friday, April 7, 2023
When I was younger I carried my guitar everywhere and loved to scratch out tunes. Nowadays I carry my guitar around the house, sometimes even into the yard. As a teenager I liked to play folk music and folkish popular music. I still do, but for a while I did have an ambition to play classical music although for someone without training or formal musical education this is a long haul.

In the late 70s, as a barely solvent artist, I also knew a few barely solvent musicians and I worked out a trade with a local classical guitarist: lessons for art work. I can't remember his name though I do remember the garret he used for an apartment/studio. He taught me many of the basics of classical technique, forced me to do endless scales, and in the process I learned a few pieces for Spanish guitar by Villa Lobos, Tarrega, and others. I also learned to work out fingerings from a score. But I could never sight read, so when I worked out the fingerings I'd have to memorize them one section of the score at a time until I could play the whole score from memory, and then the real work could begin. This seems quite labored and unprofessional. But that's OK, at the time I was up for it, and at times I even think of learning a few more pieces that way.

The one piece I loved the most and wanted to learn was the Allegro from J.S. Bach's "Prelude, Fugue, and Allegro" (BVW 998), and I had a guitar transcription of this by Michael Lorimer (a classical guitarist from the California Bay Area). I worked on this on and off for over a year and in the end I could actually play it passably well on a good day--which is to say, not consistently. Also, my playing was probably about as slow as you can go and still call the tempo allegro. And of course I omitted the baroque ornaments that the show-offs love so much.

The Allegro is probably the easiest part of Bach's three part composition, mostly because of its simpler counterpoint of two voices. My longtime favorite version of this was by John Williams in the 1970s but I recently found a marvellous rendition by Ana Vidovic, a Croatian guitarist. She plays it somewhat in the style of John Williams, I think, which may be why I like her rendition so much! And it goes without saying that my admiration for her music has nothing to do with her great beauty.

My Current Guitar

Here's my current implement of destruction, a kind gift from an old friend who is a skilled classical guitarist. He simply couldn't take it any more that I kept beating around an old 3/4 sized guitar, especially when my hands are big enough to pick up basketballs one handed.
Guitar on the Hoof

Here's an old photo of my friend Mick Lamb and me hoofing it out to the misty beaches of Pt. Reyes, California. That's Mick on the left and me on the right, with my old beater guitar slung over the top of my pack. This in 1971, 1972? I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure Don Blumenthal took the photo.

I no longer have the original print of this photo, hence the extreme fuzziness. What I did have was an old photo of a tack board that was nailed to the wall of an apartment in my student days, and this original photo was pinned to that tack board. So I greatly enlarged the tack board photo and cropped out this photo. Not too bad, considering. I sure wish I still had a copy of the original though.

All site contents copyright 2023 Edward W. Farrell This page last updated on 2023-04-07