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Healdsburg Guitar Festival 1997


by Jay Hargreaves

This year wasn't just a guitarmakers festival it was a festival for guitar players, too. The show was again held at the Villa Chanticleer with two rooms filled with some of the finest guitars in North America. It was a "candy store" for guitar players who wandered through the rooms playing guitars by builders they would normally only read about in magazines.

The lobby exhibit this year was a tribute display of Richard Schneider's guitars. Nine instruments were displayed, ranging from a pre-Kasha 1966 traditional classical guitar to two of his last instruments finished in 1996. The exhibit invoked strong feelings in many who saw it.

Tribute to Richard Schneider display
Tribute to Richard Schneider display

Included this year were week-long players workshops; "Classical guitar" with Scott Tennant, "American roots guitar" with Steve James, and "Contemporary fingerstyle guitar" with Laurence Juber. There were also one day classes by Steve Seskin, Scott Nygaard, Jim Nichols, Paul Mehling, Doyle Dykes, and Mark Taylor.

Close up of Harry Fleishman's guitar
Close up of Harry Fleishman's guitar
William Eaton's Lyraharp guitars
William Eaton's lyraharp guitars
For the guitarmakers each day began with a seminar. On Wednesday we learned about "Intonation" with Gregory Byers, Paul Jacobson, Buzz Feiten, and John Gilbert. "Materials selection" with Brian Burns, Michael Gurian, and Todd Taggart was offered on Thursday. And on Friday Kent Everett, James Olson, and John Greven spoke about "Small shop production".
Each night a concert was held at the Villa Chanticleer by one of the workshop instructors, culminating in a gala concert Friday night at the Raven Theater by Scott Tennant, Steve James, and Laurence Juber. Most of the concerts were sold out before the festival began, an indication of the festival's growing popularity.

Boaz Elkayam with his Irish Green mandolins
Boaz Elkayam with his Irish Green mandolins

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