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Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #1 
heres a longshot...I was wondering: anyone know if Ted ever heard of Agustin Barrios? The Paraguayan guitarist most widely known for his 1921 masterpiece "La Catedral"? Just a question of plain curiosity. Barrios was one of Andres Segovia's main contemporaries, and theres a great deal of drama between the two. Long story short - Barrios played classical on steel strings (which was an abomination in Segovia's opinion) and was less than excited to pen a copy of La Catedral for Segovia to recite in concert. It all went downhill from there - Segovia smeared Barrios' name as a composer, which in part led up to Barrios' public rejection in Bueno Aires.

I know Ted mentions Segovia a few times in a few of his videos, and seems less than impressed by the guy. A story like this, coupled with Ted's grass roots nature, has me believing he would have loved the underdog story, and found Segovia to be wrong in his critique of Barrios.

And while were at it...who was Ted's "favorite" classical guitarist? and did Ted own a nylon six string?

Posts: 333
Reply with quote  #2 
I don't really know the answers to all your questions but I'll share what I know.

I'm pretty sure that Ted tried nylon string guitar but couldn't really get it to do what he wanted to do.  Ever try and double stop on a classical?  It's possible but way harder than on most electrics.  Same with holding down barres for long spans of time.  In general, Ted's approach is to play very few open strings to facilitate transposition.  Classical guitar style as a rule makes heavy use of open strings, "the lungs of the guitar" as Roland Dyens says.

No doubt Ted loved classical music, especially Bach, yet all kinds of classical music.  I'm sure he appreciated classical guitar playing.  But when he played in Baroque or other classical-like styles, he did so in his own way on electric guitar.

Once I showed him a classical guitar piece that I wrote in Renaissance style.  I played it in first and second position with lots of open strings.  Ted sight read it (perfectly) in fifth and sixth position with stretches and no open strings.

If you google "Barrios" and "steel strings," you'll see there's controversy as to whether he used them only early in his career, only on the first string, only on the three treble strings, or on all six.

We, fans of classical guitar, can today love both Segovia and Barrios.  Both were pioneers.  Both virtuoso players.  Barrios was also an extraordinary composer.  His outstanding compositions live on.

Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for the response James! Double stops and prolonged barres can be tricky in some positions..but I really struggle with harp harmonics/chime chords on my classical, and always find myself attracted back to my steel string based on the simple fact; i can manipulate the instrument at will. Not to say it cant be done (chimes/harps on nylon), just saying I CANT do it.
   Im not so much a fan of segovia. he always reminded me of a great cover band. Vast catalog of songs; little to none being his own. Sure, I respect his accomplishments and the press he received, but Im not super impressed. Ted didnt seem blown away either. i cant quite recall which video its in; but a student brings up the notion that segovia was able to play songs that "sounded better" than the average guitarists which ted responds "thats because his thumb was so big"..or something to that extent.  Maybe it wasnt even meant in the vein I took it; but i almost fell over out of the chair laughing.

Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #4 
You should check out Michael Chapdeliane's masterclass with Segovia on YouTube sometime!  Yikes!  I am sure Ted heard of Barrios as well as many other talented classical guitarists, but I believe he gravitated more towards the rich harmonies of classical music played on instruments with more than six strings.

Harp harmonics on a nylon strings needs help such as a pickup and EQ.  Tommy Emmanuel said "Harmonics live in the mid-range!"  Whatever accentuates the mid-range will produce better results.

STAZZ MUSIC Productions
Specializing in fingerstyle guitar transcription and engraving.

Posts: 454
Reply with quote  #5 
I only heard one reference to him in a casual conversation I had with Ted. It was a while ago, so I apologize for being 'fuzzy.'  I do recall this: Ted mentioned him in passing as an example of something (?!) that was favorable.  We had talked about an old classical guitar I owned, and he said something along the lines of "Yea, if you want to tackle . . . or stuff like Agustin Barrios." I had studied classical guitar at UCLA a few years prior and those names and music were still fresh in my head. (I might still have the some Barrios music from that era.)

At the time of his death Ted did have a nylon string guitar in his apartment - nothing collectable. And I can confirm his abilities on the instrument as he played my wifes ancient Goya once - astounding as always. 
Wish I could remember more.


Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #6 
Hey Leon!
  Thanks for the memory! Agustin Barrios and Ted Greene are by far my favorite guitarists (Miguel Llobet and George Van Eps getting honorable mentions). Obviously this is why I was interested . It warms my heart to know that Ted didnt slam the guy or have a negative opinion on him. I figured Ted was a Segovia supporter due to the maestros work on the Bach catalog. But like i said, in the video ted didnt seem overly enthused about Segovia. Did anyone get Ted's actual opinion on Segovia...or better yet WHO were Teds classical guys?

James referenced a Roland Dyens quote; classical guitarists rely on open strings. Barrios on the other hand seemed to stray away from the mold. He did quite a lot of partial and full bars, double stops, 5th finger movements, and used good amount of close voices. All this and a tremolo expert.
Nick referenced a Tommy Emmanuel quote, harmonics live in the midrange. I took this bit of info on a little journey. I put it to test on two nylons - one my personal cedar and the other a borrowed spruce. OF COURSE the spruce gave me a lot more midrange than the cedar. From that I was able to practice the chimes/harps. i found that on nylon the key is a lighter touch with the right index...barely a tap. i took that bit of info back to the cedar, and it applied. I can now do the chimes and harps on nylon strings.

Thanks once again to all!

Posts: 289
Reply with quote  #7 
Originally Posted by sabukudragon
It warms my heart to know that Ted didn't slam the guy or have a negative opinion on him.

One of the great things about Ted; I never heard him slam or be negative about anyone. Even people who did bad things to him personally.

Dan Sawyer, friend of Ted's.
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