12 September 2022

Spanish Guitar

When I was a teenager and still at school, 60 years ago, I didn’t have a record player. Instead, I had a reel to reel tape recorder. I still have the tapes somewhere, although they haven’t been played in years. Most of my tapes were off-air recordings. I had a few pre-recorded tapes, including Duke Ellington. That tape was probably my first proper exposure to his music. I also had a tape of Spanish guitar music. I’ve looked for it on CD for ages but without success until literally a few minutes ago as I write this. It turned out my problem was a misremembering of the artist’s name.

His name is Narciso Yepes and I found him today, by chance, on YouTube. Looking further, it seems that in 1962, he shifted from the classical 6-string classical or Spanish guitar to one with 10 strings. There is a page on Wikipedia about the guitar, but I’m not sure how accurate it is. The talk page looks surprisingly argumentative. Anyway, that dates the tape to being recorded before 1962, since it is a standard 6-string. The video above is of the 10-string however playing one of my favourite pieces. I have to confess though that I know it much better through Miles Davis, than through the original version.

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