Introducing GRAN Guitar

Posted on Mar 24, 2014 in Archive, GRAN

What exactly is a GRAN guitar? Well, it has the size and shape of a classical guitar, but in addition to the traditional 6 nylon strings the GRAN has a set of 6 light-gauge steel strings strung similar to a 12-string guitar except that the steel strings are lower in relation to the soundboard. The guitarist chooses by the stroke of the right hand between three variants: Only nylon, in which case the instrument sounds much like a classical guitar but with added resonance. The second variant, only steel, and the third, nylon and steel simultaneously – this offering brand new possibilities concerning timbres, tunings, and dynamics! The performance technique is the same as for the classical guitar. The relationship of the GRAN-guitar and the classical guitar is based on the same idea of that of the clarinet and the saxophone, same fingering, different instrument. In 1987, Anatoliy Olshanskiy played a joke on his teacher, Vladimir Ustinov. Anatoliy was invited to perform as a guest artist following a student recital at Vladimir’s guitar school in Russia. Anatoliy decided to do something unique to give his teacher a “shock!” He added some light gauge steel strings to his classical guitar! Following the performance, Anatoliy asked Vladimir, “So, how did you like my joke?” Vladimir replied, “This is no joke, it is quite serious!” What Vladimir meant was that Anatoliy had created something unique that needed to be pursued. And so the journey began to develop the GRAN guitar. At first, nobody wanted to listen to this strange new guitar. Classical guitarists, who are very conservative when something new comes along, showed no interest in a classical guitar with steel strings. But, slowly but surely, through perseverance, minds began to open. Vladimir and Anatoliy began writing articles that were published in Russian magazines and newspapers. This sparked the interest of radio and television shows. To date Anatoliy and Vladimir have performed in over 20 radio and television broadcasts. Two of these were at KPFK Los Angeles with radio hosts Bill Davila and John Schneider in April 1995. In 1991 Anatoliy recorded the first CD of G-g music titled “Scenario” for Daminus Records. The CD features mostly original compositions and some Gershwin arrangements. A second CD, “GRAN – The Guitar of the 21st Century – Romances for Guitar”, was recorded on a Russian independent label in the spring of 1994. This CD features Russian romances for GRAN guitar duets, voice and GRAN guitar, and solo GRAN guitar. Unfortunately it is currently not available. Also in 1994 Stepan Rak recorded his first GRAN guitar CD on the Multisonic label in the Czech Republic. The title of this CD is “The Melancholy Roar Niagara.”...

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