Luthier Jose Oribe
& the Grand Rose
After many years of very serious playing, (I wore through a set of strings per week, the string manufacturers have done well off of my fanaticism) it was time to return my beloved Oribe to the Master Maker for a checkup. I also wanted to present Oribe with the composition, the Oribe Fandango that I had written in honor of my cherished guitar. There's a story behind every song, this one is detailed elsewhere. So I went to the Master Maker and he showed me three miracles. Impossible as it might be, he raised the bar several notches and has produced such brilliance that it literally took my breath away, I had to stop, take a few breaths and pretty soon, instead of playing to show off my ability or the grace of some composition, I was rolling through a simple chord and breathlessly listening in awe to such beautifully matched tones that seemed to resonate forever, then one or two single notes in the upper registers which set all the overtones ringing as if struck by the Angel of perfection, captivatingly beautiful. So, if you hear one of my concerts today it will be with my Grand Concert Oribe, which has already been described by one listener as sounding more like the finest of Grand Pianos. The abundance of sheer of volume not only echoes off the back wall of the concert halls I’ve played but equally off the side walls, so the range of dynamics is incredible and oh, the sweet quiet notes, it hurts your heart to hear such innocent dynamic beauty.
Jose Oribe, the Redwood Flamenco & Byron
Photo by Oribe
The Redwood Flamenco
Now, I’m a very sentimental sort of guy, so what about my cherished Red Wood Flamenco that had such a huge part to play in my musical pursuit? Oribe performed yet another miracle, he took my well-worn guitar and brought it back to absolutely new condition, I could hardly believe my eyes, something I didn’t get to enjoy as I bought it used, its the kind of thing that brings a tear to a strong man. Now, when I want a warm, quiet contemplative nostalgic moment, my Red Wood is back in my arms as we stroll through the beauty that music can weave, now it's a musical familiy sharing the bloodline and life force together. And as it is just like new and better, it’s like being in a time machine, and getting my dream guitar all over again but this time, but now as the first owner, so it’s saved for those special, personal moments in pristine condition at last
Now, I just use it for select moments for instance, I've often played the guitar part for the theater production of the Musical "Man la Mancha" which I absolutely adore. The scenes are set in Spain during the Grand Inquisitions so my Flamenco Oribe is perfect for it as there are a lot of Rasqueado's in the songs. Rasqueado's have a particular sound that only a Flamenco Guitar can produce to get an authentic Spanish Gypsy sound.
"Man la Mancha" an interesting score, written by a Jazz/classic pianist it's half written as a Jazz score with chord charts and half classic notation and in facinating time signatures like 7/8 for "I'm only thinking of him." I've got to admit that I hate it when I see a guitarist do the score showing off his bar chord ability to other guitarists rather than getting that authentic thrilling Gypsy sound by using a capo, open strings and real Rasqueado's on a Flamenco Guitar. Rasqueados are not in most Classic Guitar or Jazz Guitarists technical arsenal and they cannot be learned overnight, they use the weak muscles of the hand and it takes years to really develop good ones. It's actually difficult finding a guitarist who can read Jazz charts, play real Flamenco, and read classical guitar scores. Flamencoists usually can't read charts or scores, Classical players can't strum nor do they usually know Jazz chords and Jazz guitarists don't Rasqueado nor have the right hand needed for Classical Guitar.
The Grand Rose in Concert
This was our first concert together, and in fact my return to concert stage after a very long hiatus, using my new Oribe Grand Suprema, "The Grand Rose" I had just been at Oribe's shop and chose this magnificent creature to bring home. It was of course new and handmade guitars take some time to really open up where they get used to the string tension and can really start viabrating the soundboard. I was in the middle of one of the songs during the concert and suddenly this wonderful instrument already spectacular, suddenly opened it's voice and thrilled the far corners of the hall and my heart and yet, you can take it down to gentle breaths and it sighs with joy. What a privilege to be part of the music this instrument makes.
Other makers have been inventing new tricks to get more volume but usually at the sacrifice of the warmth of a wood sound. This Oribe does it with simple, great precision workmanship and the perfect blend of woods. To be honest, when just playing it in my home, it can actually hurt my ears it can produce such a sound but with an intoxicating warmth that it lulls you deep inside the music.