You see the title of this video and probably the first question that comes to your mind is: What is the meaning of it? Are not the guitars that professional guitarists use to play concerts high-quality guitars? We think a distinction can be made. This video explains this in detail.
You see the title of this video and probably the first question that comes to your mind is: what is the meaning of it? Are not the guitars that professional guitarists use to play concerts very high-quality guitars?
Yes, they are normally of high quality, “normally”, but a distinction can be made between them and guitars that are also of very high quality but may not be suitable for concerts in large halls. I can also tell you that in my opinion, yes, this distinction can be made.
That is to say, guitars that are good for concerts in large halls are not necessarily the guitars that you would most enjoy playing in your guitar room for yourself, your friends, or a small audience of just a few people.
Let’s look at this.
What kind of guitar is the professional guitarist who normally plays in large concert halls for 500, 1000 people or more is looking for? Well, it is a guitar that allow the concert guitarist can to be heard clearly from the first row of the hall to the last. That the person in the front row a few meters away can hear it clearly, and also that the person in the very back row, dozens meters away, can hear it clearly too. In other words, what they are looking at first is a powerful guitar with plenty of volume. Because I repeat, the listener who has paid for a ticket and who is situated in the back rows wants to clearly hear the music being played. If he can’t hear the music, he would be thinking: why did I come here? And he would say: next time I’m not going to see a concert by this guitarist again.
So the guitarist is clearly looking for a powerful sound in the guitar. There are professional guitarists who are very interested in the guitar instrument and all that it contains, in the different ways of making the instrument, in the different types and quality of sound that the guitar can give, who have vast knowledge to know what a good guitar is. And there are others, believe me, there are others who are not so interested in it, or not having so much experience… I don’t know what it is, but they don’t know so much about this subject. The main thing that matters to them is that the guitar can be played comfortably and sounds strong. And sometimes they are interested in little more than that. I’ve heard guitars at concerts that were very powerful but then in terms of colour in the sound and sound nuances, sound quality and beauty they were not good at all.
So imagine a professional guitarist playing a concert in a big hall he has two guitars options he can choose for the concert. The two guitars give him an excellent playability. And on the other hand the guitarist doesn’t want, doesn’t like to amplify the guitar for the hall because he doesn’t believe in amplification of the guitar because he thinks (as I also think) that amplification destroys the possibility to hear the beauty of the sound of the guitar itself. To listen to the actual sound of the guitar. Because with amplification what you are hearing is mainly the sound that the mic gives you, the speakers, the mic preamp, the quality of the sound engineer who handles everything…etc etc in an amplification you hear very little of the real sound of a guitar and its beauty. And going to a guitar concert and being deprived of that is a shame.
But back to the choice this professional guitarist has to make. One of the two guitars is full of colours, with a wonderful beauty of sound, with a wide possibility of making dynamics, with a balance in the sound between bass and treble and between all the notes of the guitar excellent, with some subtleties and emotions that the guitar gives that it is a real pleasure to play it but with a limited sound projection and volume, the guitar projects well, has an acceptable volume… but it is not a guitar so that in a large hall, and I say large concert hall those in the back row dozens of metres away will hear it very clearly.
And on the other hand he has the option of the second guitar which gives half the colours or less than half of the first one, he likes the sound but well it is just ok,… nothing out of this world, good dynamics, acceptable balance, but with a very big powerful sound that in the hall with a capacity of 1000 people where he will play the next day He is sure that when he is playing, everyone in this big hall will hear him very clear.
Which guitar do you think the professional classical guitarist would choose for the concert? Well, I think he would choose the second one. The very powerful one with a lot of volume. And the other guitar, the first one, which in fact has many more qualities, with a much more beautiful sound, which is much better guitar, he would leave it in its case.
Now imagine that you are in the audience at that concert of that classical guitarist. You love the way this guitarist plays. He is your idol, you have been following him for many years, what a technique he has!. The music pieces he played moved you. And you are a guitarist too, an amateur guitarist but you also play, you love playing the guitar. And you say to yourself, oh I want to have a guitar like the one he plays. So I can play it at home. Because he’s my favourite guitarist and I want a guitar like his one. I’m sure it’s the best guitar. And how loud that guitar sounded! It is so powerful!
This guitar of this guitarist, because he plays it and he’s a very famous guitarist, it happens to cost a fortune. But you want that one. The one he plays. You’re determined to spend that money to be able to have that guitar. The one he plays.
You buy it. And you have it in your house.
You go to the small room where you normally play. And you start playing it. You play it for a while and you say to yourself, hey, wuau it sounds good, how powerful! Maybe ten minutes later your wife, your husband or your daughter or your neighbour arrives and tells you to please stop, because the guitar can be heard all over the house and they can’t stand it any more.
But the big problem is that you also start to get tired of the loud volume and you start to think that it is better to go to the big living room of the house to play it because in the small room where you normally play, well, it is too small and at the beginning it is fine but after a few minutes you see that you don’t like that the room is booming with the piece you are playing. You don’t like the acoustics in the room at all, it’s unpleasant. These guitars with so much power and with a sometimes kind of ugly sound …
It is sometimes true that they are really unpleasant to listen to in small rooms for long time.
The next day your friend, who is also a guitarist, comes to see the famous guitar of that famous guitarist. You have to go to your usual room because there are people in the living room. At first your friend is surprised at how loud the guitar sounds, but after 10 minutes he’s already uncomfortable because it sounds too loud, you’re in a small room, it sounds too loud, and he can’t stand it any longer and he’s two metres away listening with a face like he wants to go out and have a beer or coffee with you and talk about guitars, guitarists or whatever.
And it turns out that this guitar plays very comfortably, sounds very, very loud… and little else.
What about everything else a guitar can give? Imagine that you have another guitar in your collection with a beautiful sound that some guitars are capable of producing, those colours that make your interpretations full of imagination, and to play in one or another place of the guitar you discover beautiful colours, phrases that you only play with that guitar because it gives you enormous possibilities. Playing a simple melody is already wonderful for you because the sound of the notes is pure, rounded, it gets emotions from you.
You enjoy that guitar and spend hours in that room playing it, with a pleasant volume for you and for your friends when they visit you or even for a small concert in a not very big hall… It turns out that the guitar you just bought from your favourite guitarist is left in its case, you hardly play it, and the one you play is that one you own since years ago, which is the one you really like and with which you enjoy very much guitar music. This situation can easily happen.
Think that this also happens with professional guitarists. There are famous guitarists who at home may often like to play a guitar that is different from the guitar they choose to play in concert and there are also many guitarists who choose one type of guitar for concerts and another type of guitar to make their recordings for their albums.
In other words, depending on what you are looking for, you choose one or the other guitar. These professional guitarists can enjoy playing enormously with one Antonio de Torres guitar or Santos Hernandez that they have in their collection and play them very often at home alone or in meetings with friends or small concerts, but not choose them to play a concert in a large concert hall without amplification, where they need a very powerful guitar with a lot of volume to cover a very large musical repertoire.
We have always wanted the guitar of the professional guitarist that you like and that you see at a concert. And many times it is not the best guitar for you and it is not the guitar that is the best in overall quality.
I’m not saying that all professional guitarists are only looking for volume in their guitars for their concerts and that’s it. Many professional guitarists play excellent guitars for their concerts. But I repeat, it is true that sometimes the preferences and needs of a professional guitarist in choosing a guitar for a concert do not necessarily coincide with your preferences and needs.