News Archives

6-23-99 Spanish luthier to Julian Bream and author of Antonio De Torres, Jose Romanillos has sent me a request to provide information for his upcoming new book which is a dictionary of Spanish guitar makers. This will include information on the 1846 Juan Perfumo and c. 1880's Salvio Morbey guitars on this web site & other guitars I have knowledge of. This will be the 2nd book I have contributed to on the subject of Classical & Flamenco guitars and I will receive an acknowledgement. Also see " The Classical Guitar -a complete history " for my 1st contribution which involved the Spanish translation of the Miguel Rodriguez family biographical material.

6-22-99 La Niña de la Puebla (1908-1999) dies in Spain. Renowned Flamenco singer dies a week before she was to have received a gold medal for Merit in Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos I. For the whole story w / photos activate link.

The Guitar Exposition "400 Years of Guitar Design" is to begin on November 5, 2000 and end on February 24, 2001 at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The 1830's Matteo Benedid in the FFSI Guitar & Capo Museum is to be 1 of 128 guitars on display. Other guitars sold through FFSI were initially chosen but replaced with more exquisite examples. For example the 1836 Rene Lacote has been replaced by another Rene Lacote with a Fernando Sor signature on the label. I recently did an Italian translation of the guitars of Luigi Mozzani. This is the 3rd different foreign language major translation I have done, and this text will be included in the book that will be released to accompany the exhibition.

My newest book that is a facsimile edition is a Collection of Classical Guitar Solos 1840-1895. The artists presented in this are Johann Kasper Mertz ( Op. 100 & Op. 29), Luigi Legnani, Luis T. Romero, Miguel S. Arrevalo & Giuseppe Costa (Jose Costa y Hugas). This is my 4th book and it is now available from "Ediciones La Guitarreria Fina". To view cover & titles click on the link:

7-6-99 Famed composer Joaquin Rodrigo dies in Madrid at the age of 97. He was the composer of the most popular concierto for the guitar ever written, the "Concierto de Aranjuez". For more information: click on the link above.

7-27-99 The only live performance on film of Ramon Montoya, from 1937 in Florian Rey's "Carmen (la de Triana". Stills of Ramon, his nephew Carlos & Imperio Argentina cantante/ bailadora/ actriz. To view photos click on the link:
8-20-99 The new issue of Vintage Guitar magazine has an article on Master Flamenco Guitar builder Marcelo Barbero by my colleague, friend, teacher and luthier Richard Brune, in his series "Guitars with Guts". Also included are indispensable contributions by Fine Fretted String Instruments. You should be able to find this at your local CD / Music magazine store.

8-20-99 Queen of the Gypsies The Life & Legend of Carmen Amaya by Paco Sevilla. A landmark book by the foremost Flamenco historian living in the United States. With hundreds of references, books with these amount of details are usually only found in Spanish language texts. In stock, earlier than expected.

8-25-99 Alexandre Lagoya (1929-1999) It was reported in the French newspaper Le Monde that he has died in Paris, France at 70 years of age. The reigning patriarch of classical guitar, who was half of the greatest classical guitar duet ever to exist, with his wife and partner Ida Presti. After a long illness, he passed away Tuesday, August 24th, having celebrated his 70th birthday on June 21st of this year. For stills from live concerts and more biographical information click on the link.

9-8-99 Fine Fretted String Instruments has acquired, and is making available the Philip J. Bone Manuscript to "The Guitar & Mandolin" 1st edition. This was first published in 1914. Initially the biographies of the guitarists, mandolinists & composers appeared in periodicals, and due to requests worldwide he decided to publish a compilation. This is the double spaced typed manuscript with the musical examples pasted in, or in envelopes, that was taken to Schott & Co. Ltd. in London to be published. It is a two volume bound manuscript. Volume I is A-F (202 numbered pages), and Volume II is G-Z ( unnumbered pages) along with an appendix that is not in the enlarged second edition from 1954. This contains the sparse ink corrections, typing errors (3 word duplications) and has a sense of pre-editing when comparing it to the published edition verbatum.

9-18-99 Alfredo Gil (1915-1999) dies in Mexico City, September 10th. The great requinto player & founder of Trio Los Panchos passes away. This musician has more aficianados playing his Boleros daily than those that play the music of the late Jimi Hendrix and superstars B.B. King & Eric Clapton combined. He simply out plays them. One would think that the popularity of Blues-Rock icons in the 1st world surpasses that of an artist from the developing world. The truth is, that when any listener who plays guitar hears the music of Trio Los Panchos, his immediate reaction is "I've got to learn these Django Reinhardt Jazz style lead guitar lines-the intros, the solos, all of it, this guy is great". Between 1987-1990 Fine Fretted String Instruments sold 8 upper grade requintos, to local players who do the San Francisco Bay Area TV shows-everyone of them a long distance student of Alfredo Gil. For more info and a photo, click on the link.

10-11-99 Fine Fretted String Instruments has recently acquired the sheet music collection of Mario Rodriguez Arenas (1879-1949). It contains 857 individual pieces, with not less than 600+ pieces out of print. In the months and years to come there will be a new series of music books that will be published to be known as
Los Maestros de Buenos Aires . There will eventually be 20-30 volumes available containing 1) folkloric pieces from the beginning of the creation of that idiom, 2) classical pieces by the almost forgotten teachers of icons that are on the tip of ones tongue of the general public and the most educated in our society in today's world. For more info & photos click on the link.

11-2-99 Juan Alais (1844-1914) Vol. 1 22 Argentine Folkloric & European Operatic pieces. This is the fifth book from FFSI's "Ediciones La Guitarreria Fina". This is a facsimile edition, painstakingly digitally cleansed for the highest in readability. The first in a series of publications titled Los Maestros de Buenos Aires . Agustin Barrios was playing pieces by Juan Alais 15 years before Agustin began making recordings. Juan Alais was the first composer of the Argentine guitar folkloric style, and one of two teachers to Gustavo Sosa Escalada-Agustin Barrios's only teacher. Gustavo Sosa Escalada's other Maestro was Carlos Garcia Tolsa (1858-1905), who was a major contributor to the repertiore of Agustin Barrios. These pieces in some cases are available for the first time in over a century. Abel Carlevaro & Julio Martinez Oyanguren have recorded pieces by Juan Alais. For cover photo and list of pieces click on the link.

11-26-99 Six Silver Moonbeams The Life and Times of Agustin Barrios New Revised Edition biography by Richard "Rico" Stover is now back in print by GSP. There are corrections, updates, and additions to the original 1992 edition. For those not so familiar with Agustin Barrios (1885-1944), he was the very first classical guitarist to record on 78 RPM discs in 1914. Andres Segovia began in 1927.

1-17-00 Look for Carlos Garcia Tolsa (1858-1905), the newest facsimile edition from the series Los Maestros de Buenos Aires our 6th book to be available on January 19, 2000. Agustin Barrios performed 8 of Carlos's pieces for 3 decades and recorded 2 pieces in 1914. The edition contains 14 pieces (56 pages), and a 2 page photo spread of the guitars of Carlos Garcia Tolsa ( from the Archive of Ricardo Muñoz, guitar historian - Collection FFSI ). For cover photo, a list of the pieces and the biography from the book, click on the link.

2-4-00 Look for the next book in the series Los Maestros de Buenos Aires to be Mario Rodriguez Arenas (1879-1949). It should be available in June 2000.
This newest facsimile edition will be pure 100% Argentine folkmusic:
cuecas, tristes, estilo criollos, yaravis & vidalitas, originally published 1908-1930.

3-9-00 Three Flamenco video series will be available 3-25-00. They are from the "Rito y Geografia" Spanish Television footage of 100 episodes from the 60'-80's. The newest is the Toque ( Solo Flamenco Guitar-6 videos -9hrs.) series, the others are the Cante (singing-26 videos-40 hrs.) & previous release from 1999 Baile (Dance-12 videos -18 hours).

3-28-00 Seven years ago today, Fine Fretted String Instruments moved to it's
present location at 1645 S. Bascom Ave. 1-B, Campbell, California. We will enter our 14th year this May of 2000.

3-31-00 I'm very excited to report this, more so than if I was asked to contribute to a book. ( In November the Centro de Documentacion Musical de la Junta de Andalucia, based in Granada, announced that a newly found collection of 69 wax cylinder recordings includes two 1881 flamenco recordings. Both are by Paco el Sevillano, also known as Paco Botas & Paco el Gandul- and were recorded in Granada. Exactly what Paco sings on the recordings, and with what accompaniment is not yet known. The cylinders have a lifespan of 16 plays and since researchers are keen to transfer the recordings to digital sound they have not listened to them yet. "There is no means of knowing how many times the cylinders' previous owners have played them," comments the Centro's archivist, Beatriz de Miguel, "So we don't want to take the risk." Wax cylinders had a brief heyday during the 1880's before the introduction of more durable 78 RPMs in 1889 and offer the chance of rediscovering flamenco's earliest recordings. The Centro Andaluz de Flamenco in Jerez has also been acquiring wax recordings by artists such as El Mochuelo, Paca Aguilera, Rafael Moreno el de Jerez, Encarnacion la Rubia & Manuel el Sevillano. Most of their 61 cylinders were acquired from antique dealers or private collectors. "When we have access to the right technology for transfer to high quality digital sound we certainly hope to release a selection in CD form", comments Ana Maria Tenorio, the archivist, "These early recordings are a revelation. For example, if you listen to an 1890's recording of a Petenera on a 78 RPM record, you find yourself
listening to something completely different from what we call a Petenera
From: " Hot Wax: The Earliest Flamenco Recordings" by Vicky Hayward which
appeared in the NEWS section of Flamenco International Magazine. Vol. 2 #4.
Autumn, 1999.

4-9-00 We're proud to announce the addition of the Querico Publications Catalog to the sheet music services of FFSI. Richard "Rico" Stover started this catalog over two decades ago, and it's repertoire continues to grow . Rico is a friend, colleague and teacher of mine, and I'm delighted to offer these Agustin Barrios, Pernambuco, Tarrega pieces & more.

4-21-00 FFSI begins a new feature page- First Editions. Visitors of this site can
enjoy and learn history in the same time. The editions contained will date from
1800-1940 with a paragraph of historical perspective added.

7-29-00 It has been learned that Rosario (1918-2000), Flamenco dancer who worked with Antonio for over 20 years, has died in Madrid on January 21, 2000, at the age of 82. For photos and an extensive biography see link:

8-1-00 The news of another death in the Classical / Flamenco family has reached the door of FFSI. On the 5th of June
Jose Ramirez IV (1953-2000) died in Madrid.

8-2-00 It was reported in the San Francisco Chronicle today that flamenco guitarist
Christopher Carnes (1942-2000) has died, at the age of 57. He died on June 25th of heart failure in a hospital in Eureka, California. For an extensive biography and photos of Chris Carnes with legendary guitarist Diego del Gastor (1908-1973) & cantante Juan Talega (1887-1971) see the link:

9-25-00 The new G.E. 15 CD César Bo 11 string Guitar 1955 is now available. César was one of a more than a dozen child prodigies in the Buenos Aires area during the Golden Era, when Buenos Aires was the world center of classical guitar activity in the 1st half of the 20th century. César's father, Emilio Bo-also a concert artist- was a student of Carlos Garcia Tolsa . Antonio Jiménez Manjon popularized the use of the 11 string guitar in South America.

9-28-00 Baden Powell (1937-2000), Brazilian guitarist extraordinare died of pneumonia in Rio de Janiero on September 26 at the age of 63. He had entered a clinic on August 24.

10-20-00 I have just finished a 13,600 word Spanish translation of an article: "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina, 1822-2000". This work is written by my colleague, the Argentine guitar historian, Hector Garcia Martinez. It will be available for sale in English, Spanish, or Japanese. The value of this article is that it documents, in great detail, the period of time when Buenos Aires, Argentina was the "world center of classical guitar activity", to quote another colleague of mine, Richard Brune-who coined the phrase. Besides the text, there will be photos of as many artists possible, that are mentioned within this work. These photos are one of a kind, and in many cases, acquired from the familes of the artists mentioned, or through the treasured archives of collectors that have already passed from this earth. I would like to also mention, Hector Garcia Martinez is working on a parallel history of the classical guitar in Uruguay, which will also become available in translated form, with many details on the artistry of Julio Martinez Oyanguren (who played at the White House for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt), Abel Carlevaro (who studied with maestro Andres Segovia 1936-1945) & the other contributing artists of these memorable epochs. As well, there are other projects to make the rarest classical guitar sheet music available for purchase in PDF format. For example: 170 pieces (750 pages) that date from 1774-1836, printed in Paris, for five and six string guitar by Matteo Carcassi-18 pieces for voice and guitar, Ferdinand Carulli, the Meissonniers, Antoine & Joseph-who later became publishers, Julia Piston, etc. These pieces came from the archives of Jose Ferrer y Esteve (1835-1916), now in the collection of FFSI. Many of these pieces are attributed to in Domingo Prat's "Diccionario de Guitarristas", because they were passed from Jose Ferrer, when near death, to his colleague Domingo Bonet, whose daughter Magda sold the Ferrer / Bonet archive to Domingo Prat in 1930, a year before Bonet passed away. Prat was able to share the light of these rare works, with his students, who acquired their maestros collection, shortly before his death in 1944. The Prat collection was dispersed to a few students, some of whom were: Segundo Contreras (1881-1951), J. Augusto Marcellino (1910-1973), Consuelo Mallo Lopez (1913-1997). From these sources FFSI has acquired 150 hand written manuscripts by Domingo Prat, which include 4 unpublished pieces by his maestro, Francisco Tarrega, these being written in Tarrega's house from 1902-1907.

11-15-00 Now available, the new Golden Era 18 CD Guitar Virtuosos of the Old & New World 1928-1943.The artists included are Agustin Barrios, Angel Iglesias, Guillermo Gomez, Andres Segovia, Abel Fleury, & Andres Chazarreta y su Orquestra de Arte Nativo, and Duo (Vicente) Spina-Baudino, being a collection of classical guitar and South American folk music, with an emphasis on original compositions.

11-28-00 José David Rubio, died on November 2, 2000. He was born David Spinks in 1931. He was a luthier to Julian Bream in the 1960's, Bream recorded at least 3 LPs with his guitars, and made recordings as well with David Rubio's lutes. David Rubio also made the Brahms guitar for Paul Gailbraith. David Rubio also made violins and harpsichords. Paul Fischer is the most notable of luthiers who trained in David Rubio's shop. David Rubio died of bladder cancer, of which he was ill for quite some time. David Rubio was also a very knowledgeable Flamenco guitar aficionado since the 1940's, having written a letter of condemnation to the B.M.G. magazine in London after the pontificated TV appearance of Manitas de la Plata as the world's greatest Flamenco guitarist in 1960. Luthiers of his caliber are not replaced on a daily basis.

1-3-01 José Greco I, flamenco dancer died of heart failure at age 82 on Sunday, December 31, 2000. FFSI advertised for a concert by José Greco II in 1991 at the San José Civic Auditorium.

1-13-01 Brazilian guitarist & composer Luis Floriano Bonfa died of cancer yesterday in Brazil. He was 78 years old. He was well known for his compositions of "Manha de Carnaval", and "Samba de Orpheu" from the 1959 motion picture "Black Orpheus".

2-2-01 "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina, 1822-2000" UPDATE by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne
The book presently is over 100 pages and has 270 photos and illustrations which include: an 1880 Francisco Tarrega program, unseen photos of an 1858 Antonio de Torres (FE08) that won an award at a competition in Seville the same year, endorsements by Miguel Llobet & Regino Sainz de la Maza for Breyer Hermanos guitars, a May 7, 1908 Domingo Prat concert program, sheet music covers from the 1880's of the earliest of South American folkmusic, Andres Segovia concert programs from the period 1920-47 as well as newspaper listings and reviews of his concerts June 4, 8, 16 & 19 of 1920, etc.

2-16-01 I just received in the mail today the new January 2001 issue of " Il Fronimo", the Italian Classical Guitar magazine. It was founded by the late virtuoso Ruggero Chiesa in 1972. There is a fantastic 16 page article on the master guitarmaker Francisco Simplicio, with 25 photos, some from the Simplicio family's archives and others from collectors, as well as luthiers, such as Daniel Friedrich. The history includes the apprenticeship under Enrique Garcia, a chapter on the problems of the numbering system, and even the disbursements of some of Tarrega's guitars. It's a truly marvelous article, and I would like to thank Diego Milanese for my credit and web site listing. This is a grand effort on the part of the collaboration of Diego Milanese & Umberto Piazza. I contributed through Diego, a conversation I had with Rey de la Torre in 1987, about how Miguel Llobet took Rey to the Simplicio shop in 1932, a couple of weeks after Francisco had died, and that Miguel had done the fret work, put on the bridge and gears, to finish the guitar. In the "Annotations for the History of Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" there will be a full page advertisement of Simplicio by Romero y Fernandez in Buenos Aires in 1926, with a new photo, not recently found in the Simplicio family archives. As well to be included will be: Simplicio endorsements by Josefina Robledo and Domingo Prat, and Maria Luisa Anido's 1924 Simplicio set next to her 1864 Torres, 1917 Garcia, and Ramirez all on a couch and photgraphed by guitar historian Ricardo Muñoz c. 1945. I call research: "serious fun"-a thirst that can never be quenched.

3-1-01 The totals are in: over 140,000 people attended the "Dangerous Curves-The Art of the Guitar" exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, between November 5, 2000 and February 25, 2001. I was happy to offer my contribution.

4-9-01 There have been two new Golden Era CDs added to the catalog:
G.E. 19 The Epoch of Paco Amaya 1943-1956 contains six of the rarest Paco Amaya pieces recorded in 1943. Also there are rare works by Sabicas, Niño Ricardo, Melchor de Marchena, Pepe Hurtado & Vicente Gomez from the collection of A. P. Sharpe (editor of the B.M.G. magazine in London c. 1940-60), now in the FFSI archives.
G.E. 22 The Child Prodigies of Buenos Aires 1932-1958 presents Maria Angelica Funes, Maria Luisa Anido, Lalyta Almiron, Blanca Prat, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Eduardo Bensadon, Jose Torchia & a very special Mario Pardo piece with a tremolo and bass line which will bring to mind Agustin Barrios's pieces "Contemplacion" & "Un Sueño en la Floresta", without a doubt.

5-8-01 "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina, 1822-2000" UPDATE by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne. The book is now at 200 pages with over 400 photos & illustrations, and will contain: the seven year course under the direction of Domingo Prat, interviews with Maria Herminia Antola de Gomez Crespo (first female classical guitarist to be fimed in color in 1941), Noemi Toulouse (child prodigy / Carmelo Rizzuti student), Atahualpa Yupanqui & Blanca Prat (daughter of Francisco Tarrega student, Domingo Prat). As a researcher, listening to the audio tapes is pretty breathtaking

6-25-01 Announcing the Luis Molina line of guitars imported from Spain by Fine Fretted String Instruments. Made in a small workshop near the birthplace of Fernando Sor & adjusted by FFSI. They all come with a new softshell case, and of course our 100% trade in policy, now in it's second decade.

Luis Molina Model 10

Luis Molina Model 20

Luis Molina Model 25

7-26-01 I'm happy to announce the release of the CD: G. E. 26 Classical Mandolin Orchestras Vol. 2. There are 16 Mandolin Orchestra cuts on this CD. Most of the orchestras are from Germany, and some have 30 orchestra members mentioned. The dynamics and depth are incredible. At the end of the CD are some duets by Derla & Ponti, Lopez & Martinez-from Montevideo, Uruguay; to finish this CD is a beautiful song by Giuseppe (Juan) Vicari, who incidentally played mandolin in the motion picture "The Godfather".


Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000 Video $29.95
Multi-media lecture (145 images, 78 RPM discs) & Guitar Recital by Randy Osborne for the South Bay Guitar Society on February 15, 2002 at Santa Clara University Center of Performing Arts Recital Hall

Duration: 2 hours, 4 minutes
Music: 40 min., History of 51 personalities: 84 min.

This is a thumbnail sketch of the book in progress "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne.

This undertaking to do the recital and lecture was at a time when the size of the book is 400 pages with 800 or more photos & illustrations and still growing. Indeed the "World Center of Classical Guitar activity" cannot be fully documented so quickly.

There is a complete list of all songs & images in the link page.

5-4-02 On Mel Bay Publications "Guitar Sessions" web page this month is an article I was asked to write. It is a micro-thumbnail sketch of my book that is in progress: "Annotations for the History of the Classical Guitar in Argentina 1822-2000" by Héctor Garcia Martinez & Randy Osborne. The article is entitled:
How Buenos Aires became the World Center of the Classical Guitar.

If you love Classical Guitar history, you'll find it fascinating.


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