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!
Chuck Marfione, owner of All Strings Nylon
Chuck Marfione of All Strings Nylon and Marfione Guitars came to visit our Córdoba custom workshop in California this past week! Chuck and his wife Magz have been doing great things over at ASN—from constantly upgrading their dynamic website to posting engaging content on their Facebook page, this duo has the small business model down pat.
We showed Chuck around our Master Series workshop and introduced him to our dedicated team of luthiers, and we also gave him a sneak peek at some of our limited edition Master Series models. All Strings Nylon currently has one of the largest selections of Cordoba’s small batch Master Series guitars, and offers top notch customer service on every purchase. Whether it’s a Cordoba Master Series Torres or a Cordoba 15CM, you can rest assured that Chuck has personally inspected and set up every instrument himself.
Here’s a few pictures from Chuck’s visit with us; we hope you enjoy scrolling through them! Make sure to check out both All Strings Nylon and Marfione Guitars for more info and for a great selection of Córdoba guitars and ukuleles
Córdoba Custom Shop supervisor Andrew Enns talks Master Series construction with Chuck.
Finishing System Manager Drew Haines shows Chuck a limited edition Hauser with figured rosewood back and sides.
Chuck snaps some pics of the Hauser on his iPad.
Quality Inspection Department Manager Guil Juliao and QI tech Mark Masson check out a Cordoba C5.
Vice President of Sales Scott Thompson shows Chuck the Córdoba warehouse.
Andrew shows Chuck the bracing of a Master Series guitar.
Córdoba artist Dave Martone has been mixing the nylon and electric genres together for decades; along with creating a unique, signature sound, Martone works for the National Guitar Workshop and conducts clinics through Berklee College of Music. He's about to release his next studio album, Nacimiento, later this month. Since Martone has been playing Córdoba guitars for years, we thought we'd ask him a few questions about his gear, his career, and his forthcoming album!
CG: What were your goals when you set out to write/record this album?
DM: To be honest, I did not plan on making this album. I was supposed to release another electric album with my label, but was struggling with inspiration and couldn't complete it. At the same time I was performing weekly in Vancouver playing solo nylon gigs, and wanted some accompaniment so I started to make some basic tracks in my studio to play along with. I found it fun and started to make them more polished instead of just demo's
Then I started to do full songs, and re make covers for another group I play in called KaDaBrA. What I would do would be to demo up the songs for the band, then write a chart out for us to perform at gigs. This was how it came about. I pushed forward and before you know it, I had 16 complete songs.
CG: Did you do a lot of composing on your Córdoba?
DM: I have been using my main Córdoba (pictured) for recording and performing. I had my tech Barry Ewart do a few things to it for my liking and have been using D'addario strings on it with Planet Waves Cables. It is on many of the tracks on my new release from Magnatude/Magna Carta Records.
CG: What comes first, lyrics or melody? Does your Cordoba ever inspire you to take a song in another direction?
DM: Well, for me, there are no lyrics on this album so it is more a question of, is it the harmony or the melody that comes first. What happens is I try to intertwine them together to hear what both parts would sound like simultaneously. Kind of a finger style technique. Then I would break it down father into separate parts after I have the working form of the song. I would then work on different voicing's for the chords and tweak the melody further to my liking. For me, sound is what is important. I have many electric guitars, but only a few acoustic guitars. Each guitar has a certain "colour" and I know what colour is needed for each song. So to me, having the right strings on the guitar, and playing it with the proper tone variables/hand placement will help the song come out. I will play a part over many times in the studio, until it "feels" correct. To me it could be technically perfect, but be cold and not breathe. It has to breathe way more importantly than be technically perfect.
CG: Your new album seems very heavily flamenco-influenced. What were some of your musical inspirations for the album?
DM: Well, it has an underlying spanish feel for sure! I started off when I was young on playing classical guitar. It has been with me for my entire life. I have focused much of my carrier on the electric guitar, but to sit and play a nylon string, with just a bit of reverb through my amp is breathtakingly inspiring.
Nacimiento will be released on May 19, 2015; check out Dave's website and Facebook for more information. And here's a little teaser of the upcoming album!