A. Current information about guitarists
1. The GFA "Connections” links — If you are
interested in biographical information on a living guitarist, the best
place to start is that individual's Web site.
2. Wikipedias — After the GFA "Connections” link,
another good place to look for biographical information on guitarists is
in the various online flavors of Wikipedia. They tend to include the
names of famous deceased as well as currently active guitarists.
Wikipedias in other languages are in development; check them out if your research leads in such directions.
3. Yahoo groups — At last count, in July 2008, there
were 1,377 discussion and user groups on Yahoo concerned with the
guitar in one way or another, mostly of the electric and acoustic
variety (see http://launch.dir.groups.yahoo.com/dir/1600032047). Nevertheless, topics and forums with potential biographical resonance can be found in these groups, as for example:
4. Google — The broadest online response to
information about guitarists, likely to retrieve far more than just
guitarists by name or biographical information about them, would be a
Google search of the individual's name (always in quotes, "Firstname
Lastname”). Add qualifiers like "guitar” or "guitarist” to reduce
Some collective biographical sources can be found on Google, as for example:
B. Information about the older generations of guitarists — earlier biographical sources
When trying to research earlier generations of guitarists, one must
revert to standard formats such as printed books. Here are some
"classic” biographical dictionaries of guitarists — not always accurate,
but nevertheless essential:
- Bone, Philip J. The Guitar and Mandolin: Biographies of Celebrated Players and Composers (London, 1914; 2nd ed. 1954).
- Zuth, Josef. Handbuch der Laute und Gitarre (Vienna, 1926).
- Contreras, Segundo N. La guitarra, sus antecedentes históricos y biografias de ejecutantes célebres (Buenos Aires, 1927).
- Prat, Domingo, 1886-1944. Diccionario
biográfico--bibliográfico--histórico--crítico de guitarras (instrumentos
afines), guitarristas (profesores, compositores, concertistas,
lahudistas, amateurs), guitarreros (luthiers), danzas y cantos,
terminología = A biographical, bibliographical, historical, critical
dictionary of guitars (related instruments), guitarists (teachers,
composers, performers, lutenists, amateurs), guitar-makers (luthiers),
dances and songs, terminology (Buenos Aires: Romero y Fernandez, 1934,
reprinted Columbus, Ohio: Editions Orphee, 1986). Contains over 1,800
- Terzi, B. Dizionario dei chitarristi e liutai italiani (Bologna, 1937).
- Carfagna, Carlo and Mario Gangi. Dizionario chitarristico italiano (Ancona,1968).
- Powrozniak, Józef. Gitarren-Lexikon (Berlin: Verlag Neue Musik, 1979). In German.
- Sallis, James. The Guitar Players: One Instrument and Its Masters in American Music (New York, 1982).
- Summerfield, Maurice J. The Classical Guitar: Its Evolution and Its Players Since 1800 (Gateshead, 1982; 3rd ed., 1992).
- Gregory, Hugh. 1000 Great Guitarists (London, 1994).
A few online resources now exist for the older generations of
guitarists, if they became famous enough to be included in the more
general sources of biography. An example would be this Bavarian database
maintained online at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich:
BAYERISCHES MUSIKER-LEXIKON ONLINE (BMLO): a dictionary of musicians,
composers, singers, instrument players, instrument makers,
musicologists, musical editors, etc. having a connection with Bavarian
music history. The database contains more than 20.000 persons and
includes both actual biographic information about them and media of
earlier research. http://www.bmlo.uni-muenchen.de
Some databases, like the foregoing, are free. Others, like the Encyclopedia Britannica online (www.britannica.com), require payment of an annual membership, and are probably not useful for obscure guitar personalities.
General-interest music periodicals published in Europe from about 1800 forward, like the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung,
can be of great value in learning about which guitarists were active
where, and when. The best (and often the only) indexes to those
periodicals are found in the series Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals (RIPM), a.k.a. Répertoire international de la presse musicale.
Individual and institutional subscriptions are available and
necessary to conduct sustained research using this wonderful resource.
See the RIPM web site for more information (www.ripm.org).
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