The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
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  1. #1

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    Most Classical Guitarists of my generation were introduced to the CG by maestro Segovia but as a young saxophonist ,who doubled on guitar/flute, my introduction was by Narciso Yepes. I remember picking up one of his albums in the Jazz Record Mart on Lincoln Avenue in Chicago in the early 70's and was intrigued by the unlimited possibilities of the Classical Guitar and its intensely lyrical nature. Yepes was a true artist and danced to his own drum giving him the reputation as a rebel. But, for me, he was a unique original and a master of nuance. Here's Yepes playing one of my favorite Villa Lobos Preludes-- No. 2 in E major. I hope you enjoy.
    Play live . . . Marinero



    Here's an interesting tidbit concerning Yepes' as a musician:

    Guitarist and teacher Ivor Mairants noted that after a Yepes concert at Wigmore Hall in 1961, some in the audience were split about Yepes' phrasing. Mairants, who had started as a jazz guitarist but took up the classical guitar and had two lessons with Segovia, met with Yepes afterwards and questioned him about his phrasing, which was very different from Segovia's. In his memoir, Mairants wrote, "I exclaimed 'Do you think it necessary to play that section (of Villa Lobos' Prelude No. 1) as slowly as you do?' 'Why, yes' he (Yepes) said, 'Look at the paper (music) and you will see it written that way'. When I again mentioned that Segovia did not play it that way, he had no doubt had enough of my comparisons and answered, somewhat heatedly 'I have a great admiration for Segovia and everything he has done for the guitar and its history, but I do not have to put on a record of Segovia and play the music exactly as he does. No, I don't think so!'"[17] Elsewhere, Yepes was quoted as saying, "Segovia is a very beautiful player, but it is not necessary to imitate him. Why should Rostropovich imitate Casals?"[4]

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  3. #2

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    I have been listening to Yepes for going on 35 years or longer. My all time favourite classical/Spanish guitarist.

    Here he is playing without question the greatest Chaconne on guitar ever recorded.


  4. #3

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    My CG teacher in college had toured Europe in a duo with his brother, mid-'70s. He said as they travelled on the train between gigs and people asked them about their guitars and concerts, the most common name that came up from their fellow travelers was Yepes. He may be better known as an advocate of the 10 string guitar than as a performer, but I've always found his playing to be top notch.

  5. #4

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    When I started learning classical guitar (early 1970s), my parents bought me this Narciso Yepes record as a present (I still have it!). So I heard a lot more Yepes than any other CG player, for a few years.

    Narciso Yepes--Spanish Master-f68821d3-2163-4551-bbb0-ef0e993851b6-jpegNarciso Yepes--Spanish Master-ce825f4f-9d0b-44c7-a92b-42ffd4288302-jpeg

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by brad4d8 View Post
    My CG teacher in college had toured Europe in a duo with his brother, mid-'70s. He said as they travelled on the train between gigs and people asked them about their guitars and concerts, the most common name that came up from their fellow travelers was Yepes. He may be better known as an advocate of the 10 string guitar than as a performer, but I've always found his playing to be top notch.
    Hi, B,
    Yepes is credited with being the inventor of the 10 string guitar in 1963 and was built by famed Spanish luthier Jose Ramirez III.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  7. #6

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    Big hero. I even bought a ten-string under his influence. And I commissioned a tombeau (funeral song) in his honour from Gilbert Isbin:



    Sorry the playing isn’t to the maestro’s standard!

    I have his Complete Recordings cd box set, which I highly recommend.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    Big hero. I even bought a ten-string under his influence. And I commissioned a tombeau (funeral song) in his honour from Gilbert Isbin:



    Sorry the playing isn’t to the maestro’s standard!

    I have his Complete Recordings cd box set, which I highly recommend.
    Hi, R,
    I mean this as a complement . . . the music has echoes of Satie everywhere.
    Play live . . . Marinero

  9. #8

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    Sounds good Rob.

    There are a couple of photos of Yepes’ 10-string inside the LP I mentioned earlier (I remember thinking how amazing his guitar looked!):

    Narciso Yepes--Spanish Master-ec24a8a2-bd23-4a35-822d-b29fa835c0ea-jpeg

  10. #9

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    What is odd - with hindsight - is how on his first two albums with the ten string, he never used the extra strings. He added them for the sole reason of giving sympathetic resonance to the notes which don’t usually have any or much at all, such as Ab, F#, etc. He said that it wasn’t until Ohana wrote him the Tiento, which included those four extra strings, did he realise the possibilities. Then he went to town on them!

  11. #10

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    Yes I remember hearing a couple of low bass notes on the Bach pieces played by Yepes, but that was about all.

    (I also had an all-Bach LP by Yepes, which I got a few years after the first LP).

  12. #11

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    I have a box set of the complete Bach lute works, which he plays on a lute. It’s truly dreadful, unfortunately, but he remains to the best of my knowledge the only person to record them all on both lute and guitar.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop View Post
    What is odd - with hindsight - is how on his first two albums with the ten string, he never used the extra strings. He added them for the sole reason of giving sympathetic resonance to the notes which don’t usually have any or much at all, such as Ab, F#, etc. He said that it wasn’t until Ohana wrote him the Tiento, which included those four extra strings, did he realise the possibilities. Then he went to town on them!
    Rob, did you find that the extra strings on your 10-string made a difference to the overall sound or resonance in the way that Yepes intended? Just curious really.

  14. #13

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    To a certain extent, yes I did. Remember that Bream quote about atonal music on the guitar always sounding like it is in Em? Not so with Yepes tuning. Some keys still sound a little different than others, but not as markedly so. I also tried what they call baroque tuning (DCBA) in the bass, but that was awful.

    So why did I sell it? Well, I always do! I was fed up having so many instruments, and thought I could play lute music as well as classical and contemporary music on it. But it just sounded like a bad lute - far too bass heavy - and too weird for much regular classical music. In short it fell between two stools, as it were. But when I listen to it now, it sounds lovely, and maybe I was being too purist about it, not for the first time. By analogy, for instance, you can play bebop on a classical, but it just doesn’t sound or feel right.

  15. #14

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    I was at a Narciso Yepes concert in the 70's.He made a great impression.

  16. #15

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    I too have been a fan of Yepes since the 70's. He and Segovia are my favorite players in that genre for sure. I have never heard Tarrega's work performed better than the versions recorded by Yepes.

  17. #16

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    My fav NY


  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger View Post
    I too have been a fan of Yepes since the 70's. He and Segovia are my favorite players in that genre for sure. I have never heard Tarrega's work performed better than the versions recorded by Yepes.
    Hi, S,
    I wanted to feature Yepes since he has been, seemingly, forgotten by younger generations of musicians. He was a prodigy at a young age and brought a separate character and soul to the CG contrasting his Spanish brother Segovia. His attention to the composer's score was scrupulous and paramount and always sought faithfulness to the composer's vision of the work rather than the vagaries of an artist's interpretation--which was the case with the Segovia school then, and now, while still bringing his own unique sound to the performance. This contrast, for me, is an essential learning tool for prospective CG's in their quest to find their own voice and for this reason, especially, Yepes must not be forgotten.
    Here's Yepes in the beautiful tango "Maria" which begins at 2:13 showcasing his wonderful sound and expressive playing(contrary to some of his detractors).
    Play live . . . Marinero


  19. #18

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    I have build one copy of the 10 strings guitar with yeses tuning sounds good


    Narciso Yepes--Spanish Master-264960171_4316916421748119_1302606538620483439_n-jpg