A Day at GFA, June 2009


GFA Convention

♫ Just this past June, a rather amazing guitar convention was held almost in our backyard. Guitar Foundation Of America picked Ithaca, NY this year for its annual convention. I managed to get there for one day, but sure wish I could have made the whole four days. RGC is now a member of GFA; this should lead to something interesting in the future! Following is a report from member, Jim Doyle on his day at the Convention.

K. Nelson


GFA at Ithaca




Vendors’ Fair


Lost Dog Cafe

♫ My day at the Ithaca Guitar Foundation Convention began with me sitting in the main lobby by myself at Whalen Hall waiting to register. I look over to my right, and who do I see but my friend, Efrain Morales (student of Prof. Kodzas) walking in. So we hooked up throughout the day and walked around to the events. Petar Kodzas (ECMS professor) was there, too.

The day continued with a one-hour group workshop on nails and tone control with Jason Vieaux. This is the first time I have seen him go into detail showing us, up close, what he does to get his sound, nail shape, tools, angles etc. I got a lot out of that course. He also showed us how to pick to get a particular sound.

Efrain and I registered at 10 am in the vendors’ fair. They gave us a set of strings and polishing cloth along with our program for the day. I went to the Mel Bay booth to buy a book and bought it from William Bay himself. I thought that was cool! The Strings-by-Mail booth had Richard Pick books. I have never seen his books before other than the few songs Richard (from RGC) had shown me. Savarez strings were there as well as Oasis and other well known guitar companies and luthiers. Meeting the owners from Strings-by-Mail was cool as the past owner used to own the Woodley White classical guitar that another friend of mine owns now.

I would say the highlight of the event for me was seeing the youth ensembles comprised of kids from as young as ten up to seventeen. You should have heard this one quartet of kids from ages twelve to fifteen play the Steven Rak “Rumba” that we played in ECMS guitar ensemble last semester. I just shook my head in amazement!

The Conference on Saturday was highlighted at the beginning with an adult guitar orchestra directed by Andrew York (LAGQ) at the evening concert. It was nice to walk around with Efrain during the day. We got to know each other much better. The day before, I took my daughters to the Lost Dog Cafe and we went around Ithaca visiting all the area music stores trying out instruments—so many to play!! We had a great overall weekend. I purchased a nice GFA Celtic-green T-shirt at the end of the event before I came home.

Article & Photos:

—Jim Doyle

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