Bireli Lagrene and Martin Taylor

cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
in Welcome Posts: 191

Bireli and Martin are playing at Jazz Alley on Tuesday and Wednesday just after Labor Day (2023), and then in Berkeley at the Freight Thursday and Friday and a few more points south. I have a ticket to see them Tuesday night and have arranged to show Bireli my new Shelley Park guitar for a few minutes after.

There are a few seats and bar stools left and the concert in Seattle is around $40, parking included.

It will be wonderful to see these two greats again, together on stage!




  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,306

    Ah yes, the guitar with the "secret sauce." Did you ever divulge what that was? My bet was on an anchovy paste finish a la Caesar salad. It goes best on Romane....err, I mean Romaine lettuce.....oh, nevermind.

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 191

    Still not at liberty....

  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 316

    I meant to ask, why do you want to show Bireli your guitar? Given the amount and quality of guitars he has seen, do you think that he will be impressed? If you were just joking, please forgive my naivety. But if you really think that this guitar really that good, then that is very cool! I would like to believe it. If you go to DFNW this year, I would love to hear you play it.

  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 520

    If Bireli brings his A game like he did at Samois you are in for a show.😀

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161

    as someone who knows him quite well, re:showing him a guitar, just be prepared, he can either be the sweetest guy ever and be super polite, or if he's just not in the mood, he can be quite direct to put it very nicely.

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 191

    I'll take what happens after this concert in stride and Bireli's directness will be appreciated. I have actually wanted to show this to other players but unfortunately last year's DjangoFest was a bit cumbersome for me. I am not that much of a player and haven't been playing much of anything as my hands are trashed with arthritis and severe carpal tunnel syndrome.

    However, I am also an instrument maker who has been at it for 42 years and once almost apprenticed with my friend Jeffrey Elliott in whose workshop I hung out way back in high school. I have a lot of experience talking to players from the instrument maker's perspective, regardless of the instrument type. Some of the top players of the Irish Flute such as Matt Molloy of the Chieftains actually play my flutes regularly. So I know what to expect and if it doesn't happen its no problem.

    It is precisely because of the diversity of guitars that Bureli has seen of this type that I want to show him this one, which is all Shelley's work except for one very specific experimental detail that I recommended that she try. It may have resulted in a disaster but instead this "secret sauce" (we are still not revealing what it is except to a select few. Bireli will know) resulted in a very stable guitar that has the qualities of an instrument that is fully broken in with a mature sound. The detail is something rooted in the deep past, going back to the golden era of Violin Making in Cremona. Its just this guitar is the first time this has been used on a modern guitar as far as we know.

    I need to put a new set of strings onto it however! Sometime later today or tomorrow. It still has its original set of Argentines and these are beginning to tarnish. It could go with something just a few points heavier to further enrich the sound. Shelley's guitars voice well in this fashion.

    Bireli might vaguely remember me from DjangoFest 2015. Even though I wasn't supposed to I was the one who broke the ice with the questioning and I asked a lot of questions. Then that evening during the lunar eclipse and after I had seen it, I ran into Nick Lehr who wanted me to show him the eclipse quickly and we rushed down the ramp to see it (he had to restart the concert in 2 minutes) and we bit hit one of the parking curbs. Nick recovered whereas I severely face planted into the gravel, almost breaking my nose and cutting up my face badly. I stayed for only one tune and Bireli was backstage outside. I went up to him to thank him and shake his hand. I think my face made quite the impression on him. He asked what happened to me and I simply pointed to the parking lot and said that it was Pure Evil and that Nick would fill him in.

    Nick had been after WICA for years to get these removed as this wasn't the first time someone tripped and I have too. They are still there unfortunately. Someday WICA might find themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit if someone has a similar accident and severely injures themself, unable to play guitar as a result - or worse. DjangoFest will have to find a new venue. I wish they would do so anyway and move to Centrum in Port Townsend that hosts FiddleTunes and several other festivals. There is housing on site that is much cheaper and abundant than expensive Langley. The large theater is made from an old balloon hangar. The seating is comfortable and the musicians won't die of heat exhaustion like they do in the old theater when they use it.

  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 316

    Ok, I am a believer in this guitar. That's really wonderful that you guy's have this secret technique, as it could be a game changer for the GJ world and beyond. Thanks for sharing and I'm sorry for your injury. I hope that you decide to bring the guitar to DFNW and that someone points you out to me and that I can hear this anomaly.

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    Posts: 191

    Last night's concert at Jazz Alley was fantastic! Bireli Lagrene and Martin Taylor played in the improvisational style, composed on the spot. Tonight's concert at the same venue will be totally different as well as Thursday and Friday nights' concerts at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley.

    I ran into Bireli and his partner Natasha outside and gave him a few gifts including chocolate and fresh plums from our trees, and a tshirt like the one I am wearing (this was the popular tshirt at 2017 FiddleTunes, designed by Laurie Hampton). He had received my message via Franck Wolf and invited me to his dressing room after the concert to test my guitar. After the concert and all the meet and greets he finally had a few moments. I asked him to be brutally honest as this is the only way us instrument makers make any progress.

    Bireli remarked at the visual beauty of the guitar. He really liked the slightly thinner build (distance between the top and back) as well as the soundport. After playing it for a bit he commented that the tonal balance was exactly how he prefers for his guitars. He was all over the keyboard and mentioned no issues with setup. He said that this guitar was everything that this type of guitar needs to be. We recorded a few moments of playing for and a sweet message congratulating Shelley. I am thrilled for her!

  • cbwimcbwim ✭✭✭
    edited September 2023 Posts: 191

    I will be at DjangoFest on Friday and Saturday, and am bringing this guitar. Shelley hopes to be there as well.

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