General News

October 2012 News Update

Gordon and Oliver copy Eddie Giddings

Picture © Eddie Giddings (Fingerlock on the forum)

I really thought it was going to be a brief News Page this month because the main bulk of my time has been spent  preparing for the tour, with the usual round of rehearsing and the accompanying brain damage that goes with it, but I see that we have plenty to report as usual. The preparation for the tour is of course a necessary evil. The thing is that no matter how much one prepares for concerts there is always that old Gremlin... Memory.

Yes, I know you have heard this from me before and have read it numerous times in the past but it happens to be a fact. When learning at least a dozen brand new frighteningly complex pieces, it is very hard for the brain (especially at my age) to retain the information. Then you have that other old Gremlin, stage nerves / stage fright. If you can overcome both those imposters you have pretty much cracked it. Both Oliver and I have our respective notes and music for each piece to help us remember what we are doing. That’s the theory!

Anyway, as I start writing this we are literally five days away from the first concert at Huntingdon Hall, and it will be what it will be, and I’m sure all will be fine, and I know that our joint audiences will want us to do well, it’s just that both Oliver and I are dreadful perfectionists and less than 100% isn’t really what we want, but at the end of the day it has to be fun.

By the time you read this the first of Giltrap / Wakeman gigs will have come and gone. Let us hope that good fortune smiles on us and makes all the hard work we have put in since the beginning of the year pay off, and not necessarily in monetary terms although that would be nice, but in artistic terms and audience reaction. This really is going to possibly the last time I collaborate with another musician to this degree so it has got to be right.      

Update after Huntingdon Hall Giltrap / Wakeman

Without giving a blow by blow account of our first gig at Huntingdon Hall, I can tell you that it went REALLY well. The audience loved it. Our friends and family loved it. Our agent Sue Webster was in tears after the first number. What more can you ask for?

My initial feeling at the end of the show was one of relief, and in the ensuing days after, a feeling of pride and astonishment at what has been achieved in a relatively short space of time. May good health and kindness smile down on us now and in the future for this special duo of ours. Oliver was pleased as well.... I forgot to mention that... grin.

Here is a trailer that Sue has made up with footage from the Huntingdon Hall show, so if you like what you see please book tickets and come along to a future show.

Extract from Review of Huntingdon Hall gig by Keith Meredith

'I must admit that I didn’t quite know what to expect of this gig  - but in very short order I was captivated and mesmerized by the sounds presented to my grateful ears. We moved back and forth between established Giltrap tunes: new compositions: duets between keyboard and guitar followed by some of Oliver’s outstanding work . We even had the two of them playing Bach!

Individually, both Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman are exceptionally gifted musicians and composers – capable of producing joyous, thoughtful, emotional and exciting music.  When their talents are combined in the way they are in this collaboration, then the results far outshine the sum parts.  Each complements the other’s talents to produce a unique performance.   There are two kinds of music – the good and the bad.  Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman play the good kind.  If music be your opiate do not miss this tour.'

You can read the full review plus another by Bob Wilson HERE and view more of Lee's great photos HERE

Weobley Village Hall 15th September

What a cracking gig this was and it was a sell out so that’s always nice. David the organiser did a great job of promoting it, and the raffle in particular was hoot with one of the prizes being a Chantry acoustic that had belonged to his old Dad. It played surprisingly well and I even did a short rendition of Nursery Chimes to let folk know what it sounded like. The guy who won it was over the moon.

Acoustic Mag Interview

That fine guitarist and writer David Mead visited us early in the month to interview me for both Acoustic magazine and Guitar Techniques. The first interview is in the October issue of Acoustic Magazine with Corey Taylor on the cover. Available at W H Smith and all good newsagents. The interview for Guitar Techniques focused on my involvement with GPP, Guitar Practiced Perfectly. Which brings us nicely to the next piece of news.......

Guitar Practiced Perfectly

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Guitar Practiced Perfectly Is now officially launched with a new website and yours truly already well under way with the first of the online lessons. I mentioned it in passing in the last couple of news pages but now it’s all systems go.

We have VERY exciting plans for this software and at long last I feel I have the perfect vehicle for my teaching and passing on what I have learned over the past God knows how many years of struggling with this box of tricks with 6 strings and sometimes 12 strings. Already we have plans to get a few “names” up to our Staffordshire studios to film them playing and explaining their take on this amazing instrument. Watch this space folks.

Sad News

It is with great sadness that we heard of the passing of Maureen Bailey the widow of the legendary guitar maker John Bailey. Maureen passed away on Sunday the 16th of September, ironically the date of John’s birthday. She leaves behind I believe two sons. Although I hadn’t seen Maureen since those early days we always exchanged Christmas cards, and when John died she acknowledge the sympathy card that we sent. Our thoughts go out to the family at this sad time.

John Renbourn wrote to me “I used to see them both when I lived near Dartmouth. In fact it was around that time that Maureen went off to become the teacher in a travelling circus and John decided to join her. He was wild enough to start with but when he came back he was wearing earrings and tattoos and was swaggering around like something out of a film. I miss him don't you ?”

Sad times.

Acoustic Show Olympia London September 23rd

What a cracking little show this was. My set was for Sunday at 4-15 pm, and when I arrived I caught the tail end of the amazing Lawrence Juber whom I met years ago and what a fine player and nice man he is. I guess in all honesty I played safe and went for the tried and tested:  Dublin Day, Angie, Heartsong, Isabella’s wedding,  The Dodo and Lucifer’s Cage. Either way it was received well by a very enthusiastic crowd, bless em. I bumped into Thomas Leeb on the way through, and he gave me a superb box set of G7 capos, why I don’t know but boy what a nice gift. After my spot I had coffee with old friends Frances Burke and husband Mike along with Frances’ brother Bill Mc Gillivray.

Online review extract

'The final masterclass on Sunday was taken by none other than Gordon Giltrap; a highly-regarded and well respected musician, who both entertained and dazzled the crowd. His conversation was light and humorous and well received by the audience. A sheer delight to watch, his playing was outstanding. If you blinked you would surely miss the skill of Giltrap’s nimble fingers and the energy he gave on stage was electrifying'.

Read the full show review HERE

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I have known these lovely people since I was seventeen and it was great feeling to be sat together after all these years, still here and all still loving making music. We are indeed blessed. My good friend John McCardle accompanied me down to London for the day and it was great to catch up on things.

Other nice folk there were Paul Brett and his lovely lady Michelle, Howard Gillespie from Oasis Music (I recently spent a very pleasant evening in Ringwood, Hampshire when I played for Oasis Music at an event called 'An Evening With Gordon Giltrap') and of course all the guys on the JHS stand.

An extraordinary weekend topped off by a visit to a Water Rats meeting seeing old friends Chas McDevitt, Joe Pasquale and Mike Martin from the London Philharmonic  Skiffle Orchestra.

Featured Guitar

Here's another guitar for all you guitar fanatics like me to feast your eyes on. These photographs are of the brand new deluxe GG JHS signature guitar being launched next year at the NAMM show in the USA.

This is the first of the prototypes and is not a production model. It features solid rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard and bridge and a cedar top. It comes with a Fishman Rare Earth pick up. I have been told that it sounds amazing and I'm sure it does. I have as yet to see it in the flesh!

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I have no idea of the retail price once it has been launched, but looking at it I'm sure you will agree it should carry an expensive price tag, but I promise you it won't, such is the policy of JHS, to make amazing guitars available to the public at a VERY affordable price.

Do you like the double Abalone Coco Chanel style double G's at the 12th fret? Stylish or what! I can't wait to get my hands on it, but like you dear reader I shall just have to wait!

New Column

My new series of columns for Acoustic  magazine are pretty much up and running. I’m submitting six pieces in all, focusing on one of my favourite tunings , C tuning. The first of my columns should start soon with a piece I wrote in memory of Loren Jansch. The piece is called simply “Loren”. Her family have heard the tune already and Loren’s mother Geraldine has contributed to the text for the piece. This is my way of keeping alive the memory of a remarkable person.

Another Featured Guitar

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This month's featured guitar is this stunning Raymond Burley signature classical, made by Santos Martinez. You can find more details on the guitar at the JHS website. This guitar was based on Ray's legendary Martin Fleeson guitar that he used for many years on the road and in the studio.

I had a part to play in the production of this guitar as it was my idea to get Ray, the guitar and JHS together in the hope that something would happen. I'm delighted to say it did.

This guitar represents (like much of the JHS product) fantastic value for money. I thought it would be nice to use a nylon string guitar on one of Oliver's pieces;  I didn't have a classical so the obvious choice was this lovely instrument. The company have fitted a Fishman pick-up to it for stage work, and it does sound lovely, and yes, I did pay for it! I am now an official endorsee of the guitar, which certainly brought a smile to maestro Burley's face when I told him. Shame he doesn't play a steel string guitar otherwise he could use one of MY signature guitars. How cool would that be...grin!

The guitar features solid rosewood back and sides, ebony fingerboard and the most beautiful sound hole rosette. It comes with a very nice fitted case.

This guitar has also been nominated by the MIA as classical guitar of the year. It deserves to win.

Special Thanks

Special thanks go to Martin and Louise Green for the use of their beautiful church in Bishop’s Itchington for our rehearsals for the Ravens and Lullabies tour. I have strong connections with the church having played there solo and with Raymond Burley, mainly at fund raising events for the church restoration and the benefit concert for Rob Armstrong after his workshop fire. One hopes we can continue to use the church for future rehearsals. Our final concert of the tour will be at the church, so it sort of brings us full circle!

Thanks again both.