Mudcat Café message #3392353 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #146512   Message #3392353
Posted By: Don Firth
19-Aug-12 - 04:39 PM
Thread Name: Do you buy Fender and Gibson products ?
Subject: RE: Do you buy Fender and Gibson products ?
I have never used Fender or Gibson guitars.

My first good guitar was a Martin 00-28-G, top of the line classic. A few years later I traded it for a Vincente Tatay classic, made in Barcelona. Why? The Tatay was a much better guitar in terms of volume and richness of tone. And, by the way, it cost about two-thirds of what I paid for the Martin.

When I became associated with the Seattle Classic Guitar Society, I became acquainted with a whole variety of really fine instruments owned by other members. One of the members helped me buy a hand-made Flamenco guitar from Arcangel Fernandez in Madrid. I got it for about $175.00, including case, customs, and air freight from Madrid. Outrageous instrument!! Big sound, rich warm tone, and it definitely had a Spanish accent.

Then I learned that Carlos Montoya had retired his Barbero and started using a Fernandez. I've been told that my Arcangel is worth around $18,000 now. No sale! I'd sooner sell my right arm!

I also have a Japanese-made classic imported by José Oribé of San Diego, inspected and approve for sale under his label. Like many Japanese-made classic guitars, it looks exactly like a José Ramirez (played by Segovia during his last few years of concertizing). A few years back, I did a program of folk songs and ballads for the Seattle Classic Guitar Society using the Oribé. Several members own Ramirez guitars, and because my $350.00 Japanese import looked and sounded like a Ramirez concert guitar, everyone there assumed that it was!

I also own a couple of small travel guitars made by Sam Radding, founder of Go-Guitars, also in San Diego. Both Go-GWs, one a nylon-string model and the other a steel-string model. They look the love-child of an unnatural affair between a guitar and a canoe paddle, but they sound amazing for such a small soundbox! I've actually used the nylon-string model for a number of performances, including a full-blown concert. A couple of times, I've been asked if it's a period instrument of some kind.

Some of the finest guitars in the world are made in Japan. One of the world's top makers of classical concert guitars is Masaru Kohno—who went to Spain and apprenticed under Arcangel Fernandez.

If you're a professional musician and wish to give your audiences the best musical experience you can, you buy your instruments with that in mind. Wherever the maker happens to live.

Why did I buy some of my instruments from Spain and Japan? Because at the time, no one in this country was making instruments of that quality. And anything even attempting to approach that quality would have cost me ten times what I paid for the instruments I have.

Don Firth

P. S. My automobile is a 1999 Toyota Corolla. Lest Mr. Krinkle have a wall-eyed fit, let me point out that Toyota has manufacturing plants in fourteen U.S. states including Texas, Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, West Virginia, and California. Employing American workers.

The irony of the Toyota pick-up truck with a bumper sticker that says "Buy American" is not quite that ironic these days. It's my understanding that there are more American-made parts in a Toyota than there are in a Chevrolet.

My computer (Hewlett-Packard laptop with a 17" screen and all the fixin's—a very nice device) was made in China. I didn't know that at the time I bought it, but it would hardly have made any difference because I don't know of ANY computers that are actually made and/or assembled in the U. S.