Córdoba artist Vahagni is a brilliant composer and guitarist. Combining flamenco, jazz, and world music, Vahagni’s previous three albums have wonderfully showcased his skills, and his numerous Córdoba guitars. With his most recent album, Imagined Frequencies, just released in September of this year, we thought we’d take a moment to check in with one of our favorite Córdoba artists and see what makes him tick!
Make sure to scroll through to the end to catch an exclusive first-look at Vahagni’s latest video, featuring his Córdoba Reyes!
CG: What was your first experience with Córdoba guitars?
V: My first experience was with the Loriente guitar- the Carmen. I was getting ready for a tour in China and Córdoba was gracious enough to get me set up with a great Loriente.
CG: What’s in your current guitar arsenal? In what situations do you find yourself using your Córdoba guitars?
V: Right now I have a Master series Reyes model, a GK Pro Blanca, a German Vazquez Rubio Rosewood, a Andres Dominguez from Spain and a custom electric made by Miroslav Tadic. The electric is like my mistress, no one knows about her and I am never seen in public with her! I use all my guitars for different occasions and needs.
CG: How and when did you start playing music? When did you decide to make it your profession?
V: I grew up with it really. My father is a professional guitarist so it was always in my life. I started practicing seriously around age 9. I never made a decision to do it professionally--that’s all I ever wanted to do, so I didn’t even have to think about it.
CG: What’s your writing process like? Do your Córdoba guitars help shape your sound?
V: My writing process is very open. It’s like a constant state of mind. Sometimes I write a piece in a day and other times it takes a couple of years, but the trick is to always create and be curious. I love my Córdoba’s for working in my home studio because I just plug in and record demos and ideas—I can work on my music instantaneously. I don’t have to worry about setting up mics and getting a sound. I just plug in and I’m ready to go, and that’s super important when you get an idea that could leave you any second if you don’t immediately record it!
CG: Tell us a bit about your new album. How did you go about writing it? How is it different from what you’ve done in the past?
V: The new album is called Imagined Frequencies. It was recorded in the course of a year. I did all the studio work in a week or two, but spent months post producing and editing by myself. I wanted to capture a sound that was as personal and “me” as possible, which I think is one of the hardest things to do in the studio. The album has a lot of different ideas and characteristics; it’s kind of like a snapshot of me at this moment in time as a player and composer. There are a lot of great guests and collaborations and I’m very happy with the turn out. It’s different in the way that I am different now—an album is like a self-portrait, so its always going to be different. I did also experiment with some sound design and post producing which I have never done in the past, and having the usage of featured vocalists like Concha Buika and Sebu from the band Capital Cites was also a new thing.
CG: What are your plans for the future? Touring? More writing?
V: I am focused on this album now. I will be touring in Tokyo in October and playing some shows in my home state in California. But the touring plans are being sketched out now for 2016, which should hopefully hit a lot of places!
You can listen to Vahagni’s album here, and read a great feature by NPR’s The World about the new album here. Learn all about Vahagni on our website.
We’re also excited to give you a first look at Vahagni’s video for Hazel, off Imagined Frequencies, played on his Córdoba Reyes. Enjoy!
Guitar Site recently rounded up the best nylon string guitars and organized them by three categories: under $500, mid-range, and top-of-the-range, and several Córdoba guitars were included on the list!
Coming in at just under $500, the Córdoba F7 was included in the first tier of guitars. Guitar Site writes:
"The Cordoba F7 Flamenco provides guitarists with an affordable way to enjoy the snappy and percussive tone of a genuine flamenco guitar, complete with a solid European spruce top and cypress back and sides. To get the percussive buzz that's distinct to flamenco guitars, the F7's action is set lower than that of classical guitars, making this instrument very easy to play especially with its 25.6" scale length and wide 2.04" nut width."
"The F7 is handcrafted to ensure a level of quality that goes beyond what you're paying for," they continue. "If you're looking to play traditional flamenco or if you're looking to spice up your tracks with percussive rhythm riffs, then check out the Cordoba F7."
Included in the mid-range roundup is the Córodba C7-CE:
"Cordoba again grabs a spot in this list with the C7-CE, a reasonably priced guitar with top notch craftsmanship, premium wood configuration and tone. Reviews and feedback are unanimous in saying positive things about the guitar, mentioning its great balance of feel, comfort and sound. For its mid-level price, the C7-CE comes packed with high-end tonewoods and built-in electronics, making it a true workhorse for gigging musicians that require a reliable instrument. Headlining the features of this modern nlyon stringed guitar is the solid Canadian cedar top which is supported by Indian rosewood back and sides. They form the guitar's resonant body which features a modern cutaway for easier upper fret access. The unplugged tone of the C7-CE is surprisingly loud for its size, all the while letting you hear the nuances of your playing. On stage, you can easily plug it in to an amp or PA, thanks to the Fishman Presys Blend Pickp System, which allows for natural sounding warm tones on stage."
We're so excited to be included in Guitar Site's list! Check out the full article here. Learn more about the F7 and the C7-CE on our website!
Córdoba artist Ben Woods was recently featured in Classical Guitar's most recent interview. We love Ben and all of the amazing demos he's helped us with over the years! And Classical Guitar writer October Crifasi seems to be a fan as well, writing:
"With an impressive list of flamenco and hard-rock collaborations and performances to his credit, Woods has crafted a unique and much sought-after sound and niche for himself, often referred to as 'flamenco metal.'"
Ben is pictured playing his Córdoba 55FCE, and discusses how he discovered and studied flamenco music and the intricasies surrounding improvization and collaborating with vocalists and dancers.
"In flamenco, everybody has their turn and everybody has their space. We're there to support each other, not step on each other's toes, and yes, it's all improvised, but as long as you know all the rules, and you're supportive of each other, that's how it works. No other forms of music or dance work like that. I find it very interesting."
Here at Córdoba Guitars, we always get excited by our new products and, obviously, heartily endorse them. But it's always nice to receive a little validation, right?
Córdoba products were featured in a few magazines this month as standouts from Summer NAMM in Nashville this past August (which you can read all about here). Let's take a look at this feature on the new C5 in Sunburst from Guitar Player Magazine:
Thanks Guitar Player! We think they're stunning too. You can learn more about the C5 SB and the C5-CE SB on our website.
Classical Guitar Magazine featured the Córdoba Mini in their roundup of new products as well:
Polish magazine Gitarzysta recently reviewed the Córdoba GK Studio Negra! Here's a little excerpt from the article on their overall impressions:
"This hand-built guitar of Spanish character can go with both the dynamic genre of flamenco and the more typical classical composition. With good quality sound, above-average comfort, and a very good finish, this is the perfect choice of guitar for more advanced players, as well as beginner guitarists seeking a good quality nylon guitar. The GK Studio Negra will inspire the development of the guitar beginner and handles successfully even for serious players."
Gitarzysta was also impressed with the high-quality Fishman Presys Blend pickup and the graceful construction of the guitar's cutaway. In conclusion, the magazine gave the GK Studio Negra a 5.5 out of 6 stars in comfort, sound, structure and price.
For all of our Polish readers, enjoy the full article below! For all of our non-Polish speakers--enjoy the pictures! And learn more about the GK Studio Negra here.
Guitar Interactive recently reviewed the GK Studio, and we think it's safe to say that they were quite impressed. Here are a few of the highlights:
"Straight from its deluxe gig bag, this handmade thin body Flameno guitar has a stunning natural look, with contrasting wood colours and unique features: from the solid European spruce top to the cypress back and sides. The latter is one of the nicest looking tone woods and it particularly characterises this model."
About the construction:
"Its 4mm two-way truss rod helps keep a consistent action and augments its longevity and sturdiness, particularly if you are planning to take this guitar on the road, which you could certainly do...The rosewood fingerboard helps in giving this very resonant guitar a mid-range, and even with its thin body, this guitar has a generous and well-balanced response all across its range."
"While the GK Studio was designed to play Flamenco, in my opinion this instrument is a very versatile guitar, which can be used to play and record a variety of genres, including Folk, Brazilian music such as Bossa Nova, Samba, and fingerstyle in general. Even if all you wanted to do was just explore some different tones to expand your horizons, this would be a good choice. The low action and cutaway make this guitar great in terms of playability and ergonomics."
Guitar Interactive also included a short demo of the GK Studio, which you can view here.
You can learn more about the GK Studio here, and make sure to read the whole review below!
If you follow our YouTube or socialmedia accounts, you might have seen this amazing video from German guitarist Geordie Little on the GK Pro Negra a few weeks ago:
We received such a positive reaction from all of our Córdoba fans (not to mention being quite impressed ourselves) that we couldn't help but ask such a talented guitarist a few questions about his playing and his Córdoba gear!
CG: When did you start playing music? Did you always play a nylon string guitar, or do you also play a steel string/other instruments?
GL: I started playing guitar when I was 7. My parents bought me a little 3/4 classical guitar and bought me lessons. I continued playing classical until I went to high school and started getting asked to join bands, so my parents bought me a cheap second hand electric guitar and I started getting lessons with the school guitar teacher. In my first lesson he asked what I could play, and I tried to play some classical thing on my electric. I really had no idea what I was doing. Even though I could read music, I didn't even know what an Em chord was! But from there I went on to play Jazz and then started studying a Bachelor of Jazz Guitar at the Adelaide Conservatorium (in South Australia). After a year I decided it wasn't for me and gave up music altogether, before discovering the music of people like Kaki King and Andy Mckee about a year or so later and started playing again. But I still had never found a steel string guitar I wanted, so I started copying their styles but on a nylon, and it stuck.
CG: How did you develop the sound and style that you play now?
GL: After trying to learn a bunch of percussive finger style tunes by Andy Mckee, Kaki King, Eric Turnbull, etc. I decided to start writing my own music. I also started busking around the same time, but I found I wasn't making very much money and people weren't stopping. So I started looking for new ideas and stumbled across Erik Mongrain's video of Air Tap where he plays on his lap. But instead of learning someone else's tune like I had before I thought I'd just come up with my own way of doing it. This was about 4 years ago. So I wrote my first really percussive lap style piece, which, looking back, was terrible, but people started to stop and watch, and ask for more. So I kept writing them, and eventually it became just another technique I could call upon. Now I don't even think about writing a lap tune or a 'normal' tune, I just use whatever technique I have to in order to make a particular sound. I've gotten to the point where there are no rules any more. If I want a sound, I work out a way of doing it. There are no restrictions.
CG: When did you first encounter Córdoba? What Córdoba guitar(s) do you play?
GL: I heard of Cordoba guitars a while ago, and always heard great things, but I'd never had the chance to play one. But towards the end of last year I was in need of a new guitar and decided to start looking around, and, after trying a few different brands, decided on the Cordoba GK Pro Negra. It sounds great for the techniques I use, has a great tone, and the pick up system is perfect for my percussive style.
CG: Does your Córdoba inspire you to play a certain way? Has it shaped your tone and overall style?
GL: I'm not sure if my Cordoba has shaped my style, but it is fantastic having an instrument that I can rely on to always sound good. My previous guitars always had small things that would bother me, but the GK Pro Negra sounds awesome the whole way up the neck, the percussive sound is great, and it just feels right. For me it just feels comfortable, a part of me, so I guess in that sense it will always shape the way I play!
CG: What are your plans for the future, in terms of music?
GL: My plan is to just keep doing it. Playing guitar, making music, developing ideas, coming up with shows - it's what I do, and it's all I want to do. My only real plan is to do whatever it takes to be able to share my music with people for the rest of my life. I don't want to be rich and famous, I just want to spend my life doing what I love, meeting people and connecting with them through music. Simple really!
Check out Geordie's website and Facebook here to check out more awesome tracks!
We've been creating quality nylon string guitars and ukuleles for the modern musician for years; along with this dedication to craftsmanship and innovation, we also love sharing our instruments with organizations focused on music education and awareness.
We recently donated twelve C1 guitars to Decatur Classical School in Chicago, Illinois. Also gifted to Decatur, whose teaching approach is based on the “classical” method of learning, were four 15CM concert ukuleles, four 22T-CE tenor ukuleles, and four 20TM-CE tenor ukuleles.
Decatur successfully met thair fundrasiing goal this past year in order to hire full-time art and music teachers, said PTA Vice President of Special Events Flynis Bergner.
"We couldn't have imagined that we would ever be able to secure instruments for these kids. It was a dream come true to see the shipment arrive in front of our school. Words cannot express our excitement and gratitude."
Decatur music teacher Mr. Brownlee is now in the process of finding teachers and volunteers to help launch a school band and an after-school music program.
Here are a few snaps of the kids playing their new Córdoba instruments; we're so excited for the Decatur students and all of the musical fun that awaits them!