Friday, October 24, 2014

Announcement - A Concert by Hot Club de Boedo Reminiscing Oscar Alemán and Hans Koert

Today, Friday October 24th, 2014, the excellent string swing ensemble Hot Club de Boedo is performing in a concert at  Asociación de Fomento y Biblioteca Popular General Alvear. Avellaneda 542. memory of Oscar Alemán's passing away 34 years ago on October 14th, 1980. At the concert Hot Club de Boedo also will pay tribute to Hans Koert and the work he has done to save the legacy of Oscar Alemán. The program, as presented in the official flyer, is inserted here.

click to enlarge

Thank you so much to Waldo Fonseca and the members of Hot Club de Boedo for this initiative. I wish that I had the opportunity to attended the concert to express my gratitude personally!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

A Rare Guitar

Oscar Alemán in stage performance, 1970s
October 14th this year it is 34 years since Oscar Alemán passed away. To commemorate his legacy to the world, this entry puts focus on an important unsolved question regarding Alemán's guitar model, which he used in stage performance and recordings during the last decades of his long career - an essential tool that is unmistakably associated with Alemán's 'sound' from c.1954-1980 when performing on an amplified instrument. I have earlier posted some tentative information about the guitars used by Alemán during his career here. - However, I am not an expert, but luckily we have now had knowledgeable assistance from Luis 'Tito' Liber, who has investigated the peculiarities that are to be observed at Alemán's amplified guitar. Below you can read his considerations.
A Rare Guitar
Luis 'Tito' Liber
OA in stage performance at Teatro de la Comedia, July 1971
We know that Oscar used a French Selmer Maccaferrigrande bouche’ guitar, sound hole shaped like a ‘D’, during the 1940s. But later in his career (ca. 1954-1980), it appeared he had changed to another - and in fact- unusual Selmer, now electrified with a pickup, fixed inside an oblong, oval (- or ellipsoidal)  sound hole.
This instrument may belong to the transition period of Selmer guitars (1935 onwards), in which Maccaferri had abandoned the firm. That era was characterized by guitars with an oval sound hole (‘petite bouche’). Guitars with oblong, oval sound holes, however, are not included in official Selmer catalogues. It seems that they didn`t produce guitars with that characteristic at all!

Alemán's Selmer model (photo courtesy by Sergio Pujol)
Back to Oscar`s guitar, it could be that some luthier, for instance Don Sergio Repiso, had modified the top deck (- and the fret board and head) at the time he is known to have fixed the pickup (a De Armond).

Luthier Sergio Rapiso in his workshop, notice the 'grande bouche' model, left
Here are the differences between Oscar`s guitar and a common, listed Selmer model:
1. Oblong, oval sound hole
2. No zero fret
3. Ivory inlay on the head front 

Alemán's Selmer model (photo courtesy Daniel Cossarini)
So far, we can confirm that the instrument is a: Selmer, Paris, with oblong, oval sound hole
Model ca. 1938, series number 475. Short scale
It has a sticker of Antigua Casa Núñez (- it may have been repaired there or imported by that Buenos Aires firm?) inside the box below the official Selmer logo (see picture)

Close-up of sound hole
De Armond 1000 Rhythm Chief pick-up

1959 magazine ad, De Armond soundhole pickup
Oscar used this model ca. 1954-1980. The guitar was donated by Alemán to the CECUAL, Chaco, Argentina.

Oscar Alemán's Selmer in box (photo courtesy Daniel Cossarini)
Luis 'Tito' Liber