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Roberto Capocchi, guitarist: Blog

New Robert Ruck composite top guitar

Posted on June 25, 2010 with 8 comments

It arrived yesterday and it's fabulous.  I showed it to my friend luthier Keith Vizcarra, who happened to have a wonderful 1955 Fleta in his shop - quite a comparison for a brand new instrument - and we had a great time passing them back and forth.  

This is my first cedar top guitar since the Sugiyama I used before college.  It is very responsive and easily loud, but has a familiar sound quality, and a very rich tone.  Robert set it up to my specs - I seem to handle playing loud with low action well, as long as the frets are in good shape.  Ruck's fretwork is first class, and it's a joy to play.  The elevated fingerboard is beautiful - the neck continues in one piece over the body - no seam - and I like the sound-ports. It has Madagascar rosewood back and sides and a beautiful rosete. The French-polish on the top is incredibly well done.  

I'll be posting my impressions for a while, while I prepare new music for the upcoming season, rehearse and play with others, and perform solo.

Roberto Capocchi

June 24, 2011

I've just noticed the guitar been here for a year. Thanks to kling-ons, the French polish is still good, but even the unprotected areas seem fine, just a couple of dings, but it's clear and lustrous. The seams and joints are absolutely clear, and the neck has not moved at all. It has opened in a different way than my previous guitars (all spruce) and I can't tell to what degree it's the guitar and to what degree it's my touch adapting to it. It is brighter than what I'm used to, in a way I like, but I have found myself turning my hand to get the sound I'm familiar with. I've decided to keep the hand position and enjoy the new sound because it works best mechanically, and it does project very well.
I'm currently working on the guitar part for Alban Berg's opera "Wozzeck" and have been enjoying it a lot. I've got some you tube videos up using it, but the sound is not ideal. There's a very good recording of when the guitar was about one month old - with the Santa Fe Desert Chorale, but I can't make it available just yet.

Roberto Capocchi

December 16, 2010

I just did 4 concerts with the Taos Community Chorus, with about 40 voices. I did amplify for the Romancero Gitano - a small amp facing the singers, so they could hear me well as I faced the audience. All the concerts were in churches, and I am sure the amplified sound bounced back to the audience as well. However, for the Missa Criolla, I used n microphone. It is a less subtle guitar part, granted, with mostly strumming and a few solo parts, but the balance was surprising!

Roberto Capocchi

July 30, 2010

First full solo recital last night - in a familiar space, Kennedy Hall.
The dynamic range made me smile like a kid in a candy shop.
Playing very familiar music, I noticed the subtle midrange cedar quality that tempted me into adding some Villa-Lobos to the program out of sheer curiosity to see how it would sound.
Did two live radio shows this week, and the sound on the air was great, despite the fact we were using just the table-top vocal microphones.

Roberto Capocchi

July 30, 2010

A few performance impressions:
With the Desert Chorale, I used a little amplification with the whole group doing Jeffrey Van's "A Procession Winding Around Me" and Tedesco's "Romancero Gitano."
For "Rune of Hospitality" and Schubert's Cantata for three male voices and guitar "For the Name-Day of My Father" we had the smallest amplification directed toward the singers. "Rune" uses the whole choir but is very light.
I used no amplification for Dowland's "Come Again" with a wonderful soprano, or for the solo pieces.
Although the amplification helped the balance with the full choir, and specially helped the singers hear the guitar while I could project toward the audience, there seemed to be no lull in the sound when we turned it off.
The first solo piece was Mertz's arrangement of Schubert's "Serenade" - played very softly, it still filed the acoustic space. Then Joaquin Turina's "Homage a Tarrega" introducing the Romancero.
Looking forward to 8/5 when we play it again.

Roberto Capocchi

July 30, 2010

On a guitar-nerd note, I just noticed my nails don't wear as much - I must be playing a lot lighter.

R

July 6, 2010

After preparing the whole repertoire for the Desert Chorale program, and reviewing the material for the Duo Guadalupe concert this weekend, I set about bringing the pieces up to speed. This is usually a time consuming phase for me. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly things shaped up on this guitar. I used to bring up the speed, loosing a bit of volume and clarity, then work at regaining it. That loss just doesn't happen on this guitar!
I like this.

Roberto Capocchi

July 1, 2010

I just adjusted the action "up" to 2.3mm 1st, 3.2mm 6th, exactly what I'd been using for years on other guitars. The dynamic range is wonderful!

Roberto Capocchi

June 30, 2010

I just had my first chamber music rehearsal with it - violin and guitar. Ellen and I have played together for a long time, and she knows my parts very well, so she could give me good feedback. The balance was a breeze. The dynamic range was very wide, in both directions. Then my friend Genevieve - a fine guitarist, and recent graduate from the North Carolina School for Arts - came by to check it out, so I got to hear the guitar played for me for the first time. She adapted to it very fast - she plays a 640 scale and the extra 10mm didn't bug her at all. I'll ask her to post some comments directly when she has a chance.