Tag Archives: flamenco


I have been itching to do this for months.

I have been without a classical or flamenco guitar now since my old beater was accidentally smashed by a drunken roomate back in Boston nine years ago.

Nine years.

Sure, I’ve played some guitar now and then on my old steel string, which is now on loan to my niece. And who can forget the festive drunken jam session with John in the Real Guitars shop in San Francisco right after our emancipation from Schwab?

But the reality is this: My first real formal one-on-one music lessons for any instrument was with a good old friend by the name of Chris Carnes, and we studied the spanish guitar. Chris was a virtuoso flamenco guitarist and a great historian of this genre of music. And while I spent years studying jazz guitar and classical bass, I always had flamenco in the back of my head.

Back in Boston when I was in college, I was often hired as a guitarist to go sit in front of the painting by John Singer Sargent called “El Jaleo” in the main foyer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum for fundraisers and other wine-and-cheese events. For the ambience. They ate cheese and ignored me mostly, but I got to sit in front of the most incredible painting I have ever seen and play flamenco guitar to it. So cool. Playing guitar is something that has been missed…

So today, finally, I marched myself down to the local Guitar Center (I don’t know any better… WTF?) and proceeded to find the nice little back room humidor where they kept all the nice classical guitars. I was definitely the only person in that room for several hours as the masses picked over the mass-market instruments outside. Nice place to practice. So I played every instrument in the room – from the $3,500 Ramirez instruments to the lowly little starter kits. I found a very nice Córdoba with gorgeous overtones, lively projection, and gorgeous pieces of wood on the top, back, and neck. Very comfortable to play, and a steal for the price they were asking. So now I own it.

I’ve been pulling out sheet music all night. Played my Bach Prelude and Fugue and my études by Sor and Giuliani, and tried to remember how to play Leyenda and Moonlight Sonata. And of course I brought out some old flamenco rasgueados to see if I still had the hands for it. Most of it is there, but it’s going to take work…