Mudcat Café message #3059441 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #50535   Message #3059441
Posted By: Don Firth
22-Dec-10 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: Really Good, Unknown Guitarists
Subject: RE: Really Good, Unknown Guitarists
Different kind of guitar, but. . . .

In the late 1950s, I took several years' classic guitar lessons from a fellow named Bud Hern—Edward Hern, to be a bit more formal. As a classic guitarist, Bud was right up there with the best of them. He worked me through the Fernando Sor studies, which range from very simple to some of the most difficult pieces in the guitar repertoire. Tarrega, Aguado, earlier lute pieces, a whole bunch of stuff.

Bud would usually play a couple of pieces for me during my lesson, and I've heard him play full-blown virtuoso pieces recorded by people like Segovia, Pepe Romero, Vincente Gomez, all the biggies. AND he played them pretty much as well as they did. He once played the Sor study in Bb, number 19 in the folio of twenty Sor studies that Segovia fingered. It's one of the most difficult pieces in the classic guitar repertoire (key of B-flat should be a clue), consisting of bar chords all the way through and all the way up and down the fingerboard, along with some quite intricate arpeggio patterns. A real finger-buster that I've only heard recorded by one classic guitarist—Vincente Gomez.

But—Bud was plagued with absolutely debilitating stage fright. He was by nature a very shy and retiring man, and he even broke into a sweat sometimes playing for me during the lessons!

When the Seattle Classic Guitar Society was organized in 1958 (he was one of the organizers), with some persuading, we managed to get him to play for the group (initially a bout a dozen and a half people). After a few years, he felt fairly comfortable, but still nervous, playing for the Society members, but that was about it.

He would master (and I mean master) a piece of music, then he would record it on his home tape recorder. His performances on those tapes were as good as anything that was ever put on vinyl. But unfortunately, he was using the $15.00 microphone that came with the tape recorder, so although the performances were brilliant, the sound quality was not that great.

Bud passed away some years ago. I don't know what ever became of the tapes.

An absolutely brilliant classical guitarist that only a few dozen people have ever heard of.

Don Firth