Savage Classical Guitar ? Some days, when I have a moment, I reflect on what has been done, where we are, and where I’m trying to take this incredible business.
We are a family driven business, where I do most of the work. Actually, all the work. My family is useless in this regard, except for bothering me at the worst possible time. LOL…I have to hire people to do other work for me, while I focus on the guitars. Saying that, my kids are great, my wife takes care of the home, and my cats offer endless entertainment. I have a great family, and I have great friends. The best of both worlds.
So what do I do around here? As the largest and finest classical guitar shop and classical guitar dealer in the country, my work day is usually just plain crazy, starting so very early in the morning, and sometime going thru until 10PM at night or later. Photography, recording, video work, marketing, ad creation, language, PR work in general, talking, writing, phones, email, Skype, and so on. There are days it seems endless. But, my day goes fast, time is precious, and so much gets done. It is truly remarkable how much we accomplish here in the shop and the studio.
My work consists of classical guitars, acoustic guitars, flamenco guitars, offering sheet music that I have created over the years, offering useful and excellent guitar accessories, guitar repair and setup, and in general, consulting, buying and selling of usually great guitars, and sometimes not so great that I have to send back to luthiers and private sellers. This is actually an important aspect of what I do here, regarding my selection of guitars.
I’m a straight shooter, when I do business, when I talk, in everything I do. Pulling no punches, I’ll say it clearly…
I am very picky. Extremely so. I spend a lot of cash sending guitars back to people. I have to be gentle with some aspiring luthiers when I have to return their instrument to them. It’s a very delicate balance of encouragement layered with reality. Sometimes, you’re just not ready for prime time. Everything I have here is most definitely ready for prime time, even at the student and conservatory level.
Bottom line, is that I have carefully selected the finest luthiers, offering only their best work. Those fine ladies and gentlemen that choose to work with me, honor me with their trust and confidence. I take this all very seriously, as I do the relationship with my clients. This is why I personally communicate with everyone, answer my own phones, and personally sign off on every deal I make with everyone. Old school, the good school, the right school, baby! LOL
The other grinding work that I do around here entails book creation, engraving, editing, guitar engineering, formatting, compiling, writings concerning notes, editorial content, layouts, graphic creation, manufacturing, supply ordering, binding, marketing, order fulfillment, shipping, packing, email contact, web administration and management, and just about anything else you can think of regarding a business of this sort. As of 2012, we are 6 employees and 3 cats. The cats are the most useful. They provide entertainment among other value. Beauty Cat (grey) and Crazy Cat (white) and now Shadow Cat a Russian Blue (man is she pretty). We now have Gandalf…a Norwegian Forest Cat (gorgeous and gentle).
My story below, at least in part, is a running tally of various things we’ve accomplished in the last 10 years, since opening officially in November of 2002. The creation of the music publishing house and the guitars, is partly due to various incidents, some tragic, that, once I left the confines of Wall Street in late 2003, I threw myself into this business wholeheartedly and have not looked back since. So, again, this is not a once written account, but a compilation of various years thrown together and slightly edited along the way. Thanks for your attention. Rich
Notes concerning the unique books & collections
Always one to get right to it, there are some common themes associated with Bach’s Complete 15 Two Part Keyboard Inventions for Solo Classical Guitar:
1. First of all, all of the music is very faithful to the original scores. The most astounding aspect of the pieces is that once you begin to play them you are immediately struck with how much they are pieces of music for the guitar. They were specifically written and arranged to be played fluidly on the guitar. They are NOT simple keyboard or piano transcriptions. Every possible thought was given to the solo performance of the music.
2. I did this without making them impossible to play by using plain common & musical sense, born of decades of playing the classical and flamenco guitar, studying, teaching, & applying music, theory and its practical applications. I trust that you will appreciate the commonsensical suggestions regarding the detailed work with respect to the markings, fingering and positions. They simply play wonderfully.
3. Lastly, I could not be nervous about changing the original keys of a few of the pieces to enhance their playability on the Guitar. This might go back to the common sense part of it all; regardless, the guitar does have certain limitations and these key changes allow the pieces to be played flawlessly. It is an amazing experience to play or hear these pieces on the guitar. I must add that this collection makes for an awesome recital and/or performance. This entire discussion certainly applies to the Well Tempered Clavier Solo Guitar collection as well.
In all, your own playing abilities will bring these pieces to life. Your perseverance, practice and hard work will ultimately be rewarded with some of the most beautiful, unusual, and rarest pieces of music you will ever find for the classical/baroque guitar.
The books are printed using the identical paper I was using earlier, which is the heavy Hammermill© 67 lb. cover stock. I am eventually switching to a white paper for the printed music. The bindings of the books are being done in comb (GBC-type Cerlox) binding, which will allow for easy opening and staying immediately flat on your music stand. The covers of the books are very straightforward, much like you will see on the attached web pages and will be printed using a 90 or 110 lb. cover stock also by Hammermill and the covers are laminated, front and back. In all, these books should withstand the test of time as will the pages within, and this was always the point. I will also have library editions done of the Inventions and the Well Tempered Collections. These will be signed, black leather bound hand-sewn editions that will make an extraordinary addition to anyone’s library. Prices have yet to be figured but they will be very expensive if I understood the publishers correctly (I did understand them). Sorry.
I am grateful that I was able to find solutions to these pieces for guitar. All of the music that I transcribe for guitar is given every thought to the actual performance. They all play wonderfully and I am certain that you will absolutely love these pieces. Hopefully you will experience a bit of discovery, and also be a bit amazed at Bach’s enduring genius along the way ( by the way, I do not use this word frequently, except to describe my friend Rich Fernandez, who is of course, a “super genius”, a la Wiley Coyote .
Saying this, I must clearly state that it is my task, and that of my company, to continually attempt to offer exclusive pieces of classical guitar music that are previously unpublished. This is and will continue to be our trademark. Our other and vitally important signature shall be to do honor to Bach’s musical talent and to his memory. Frankly, I am unconcerned with how trite that may sound. My vast experience with the great man’s work does greater justice to the former statement than I could elicit in the few words I have at my disposal. When I do publish other works that have been seen before, it is because I believe that there is room for improvement. There will be very little of this simply because I am choosing to focus on the former. I must add that I find it an incredible and fulfilling personal experience to offer classical guitarists all over the world the opportunity to play these never-seen-before transcriptions. The emails and letters I have received are overwhelming and motivate me to further my already extensive library of Bach classical guitar music.
I have also chosen to publish my versions of Bach’s Complete Cello Suites for Classical Guitar and the Cello Suite Preludes. This goes to the earlier discussion. It is also because I adore these pieces of music and wish to honor Bach with my time on his work for Cello. Cello Suite #1 and Cello Suite #2 are complete and are now available via our website. Simply, they are the best sounding versions I think you will ever find. It is my feeling that these are or will become the definitive versions of the Cello Suites. The feedback, from classical guitarists around the world, regarding these pieces is quickly affirming the former statement. They are the only previously published pieces that I will publish, at least in the foreseeable future. I have other pieces from the assorted Suites 3 thru 6 but am only offering the Preludes. You might ask, why not Prelude #5. Well, I fixed that little (big?) hole in the book just recently. Truth is, one of my former teachers, Jerry Willard, has done a highly regarded version of the Lute Suites of Bach, of which Cello Suite #5 is part. His transcriptions left very little room for improvement, if any, as a whole regarding the entire Suite. This is the version that John Williams plays on his famous Bach Lute Suite recordings. As you might guess, I highly recommend Mr. Willard’s Lute Suites, considering them the definitive source. And not because of anything else other than that is the blatant truth. My interpretation of Cello Suite V is very different, especially the Prelude, which is why, after a new look at the piece, I decided to add it, completing the Cello Suite Prelude collection. In doing so, I catered to the rhythmic and harmonic essence of Bach’s treatment, utilizing his own standards within my harmonic additions. I am very happy with the end result, which is very easy to play and sounds absolutely terrific. Then again, I’m a good player and I got a lot of really cool guitars! haha…me so funny
Now that I have also formally published my company’s exclusive Collections of Bach’s Two Part Inventions for Solo Guitar, I have also begun to publish and copyright solo selections from the Well Tempered Clavier. These are unbelievable pieces of transformed guitar music. Book 1A, which comprises Prelude and Fugues #1 through 8 is now complete and available. Fugues #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, and #8 and #13, as well as all of the Preludes from the First Book are simply astounding. If and when you play them, I am absolutely certain that you will concur. It continually amazes me that they are completed, and that they play so well. It is a humble statement because it is true. There are days that I am simply astounded at what has been accomplished. Please do not misunderstand me, these are representative of some of the most difficult transcriptions work I have ever done, along with the Invention works. They are also advanced pieces, requiring studious effort and practice, but mark my word, they play. There are more pieces from the Book coming, and very soon.
I had forgotten about my transcriptions of Bach’s Violin Concertos. Luckily I found them. I am processing them a little bit at a time. Right now, I’m working on solo works regarding the Andante from the A Minor & the Adagio from the E Major, which can be found in my Bach Transcriptions Volume 1. This one, well really all of them, are unbelievable scores. I mean the originals and the transcriptions. The music is extraordinary. I put the Concertos on in the background and flail away at the fret board and strings with zero inhibition. I have to tell you, this is exhilarating, a lot of fun, and an extremely self-satisfying experience. Heck of a warm-up, too, if I say so myself. I guarantee you, this will be the most fun you’ve had on your guitar in a long time. I have every intention of publishing the Double Concerto in D Minor. A very difficult transcription, attempting one guitar to play the main thematic ideas behind the dual roles of the solo violins. The transcription for the two violins is comparatively easier and will also be published.
Now I’ve begun serious work on the Lute Music of Silvius Leopold Weiss. This is some of the most enjoyable and accessible music for the Classical Guitar. Yes, the music is originally for Lute, and I make no comparison of the two instruments. All I’m saying is that on their own ground, regarding their slight transformation to the guitar, they sound and play fantastic. We’ve just released Lute Sonata IV from the London MS as well as Lute Sonata II from the same. I also enjoyed Sonata XVII from the Dresden, and I’ve laid out a few months of work focusing on further complete Weiss Sonatas. I’m going to take a slight break from my Bach work for the time being, except for recording. As of 2007, we have 12 Weiss publications. Weiss is nice!
I am also working on myriad “student” editions, focusing on duet and trio classical guitar work based on the music of Bach. These are editions that should be in everyone’s library, whether at school or home. The first of these editions will be Bach’s Three Part Inventions or Sinfonia. This book should be ready by Christmas of 2004.
Well, as an added footnote to the above discussion, it took me an additional year to finish the above versions for Duet and Trio. They have been available since late 2005. It was that difficult.
As of 2007, I’ve begun work on a Book of Selections from Bach’s Violin Sonatas and Partitas. This will be an extremely entertaining edition, as it will contain what I believe to be the most playable and “fun to play” pieces from the 6 collections. Please note that this work is completed as of 09-11-2008
I’ve also begun work on a Celtic Classical Guitar publication, featuring my favorite pieces from a beautiful repertoire.
In the meantime, as a promise to myself and others, I have released my first book of Solo Guitar Works Volume 1, this as of October 11, 2008. I am in the process of recording all of my guitar works to date, including acoustic guitar pieces. The CD will be called Heart of the Savage – Original Classical Guitar and Acoustic Guitar by Richard F. Sayage – it will probably be released on my own label, as I don’t have the patience to deal with record company executives.
As I said earlier, I am extremely pleased to offer all of these extraordinary pieces and collections to you. As a result of the completed work behind me, I am able to spend more time re-working and formally publishing my other pieces and collections from Bach. In the meantime, there were 6 publishing houses that were in the process of reviewing their offers for the Book of Two Part Inventions for mass publication. Regardless of the high acceptance rate by these houses, I have finally made a decision on which one will exclusively offer this collection. CF Peters, one of the most respected publishers in the industry will have the opportunity to publish the rest of my work and those upcoming. I am very excited by this prospect as I believe they are too. This will allow me further time to continue working the music, editing, engraving, etc. and the further collections I hope to offer all of you in the very near future.
Of course, I have been fortunate enough to have been playing all of these pieces and the 200+ others from Bach that I’ve transcribed for the last 15 or so years. May you have more time than that with which to enjoy them.
I also want to point out that I transcribed the majority of this work in the 1980′s and 1990′s by hand. My task, now and of late, is to edit them further (I like to think that I’m better at it now than before), formally engrave and print them so that you can read them. There are 300+ pieces to go, and it is a daunting endeavor. My work also continues on further collections by the master. I trust he is smiling upon me (at least I hope so) for doing all of this work? There are days, though, when I play so poorly, that I feel as if the last thing he’s doing is smiling. My buddy jokes, “My muuuussssicccc, what are you doing to my muuuusssssiiiiiiccccc” (use a real bad German accent when saying this). Comical. We’ve all had those days. May they be few and far between for you.
In early 2008, we officially started a classical guitar dealership, focusing on mid to high end instruments, equipment and now classical guitar repair and servicing. I have been doing this for many years, since early 1980, but it is now official. We are one of the largest private dealers in the country, maybe in the entire globe. The focus is on working easily with people, taking care of their needs and making them happy. That simple business model has allowed us to grow into what we are today, and what we will be tomorrow. It is an awesome thing we’ve done here and I could not be more grateful to the numerous people who have helped me and all of my incredibly wonderful and educated customers.
My many thanks to Richard Fernandez for his help and his counsel on many related issues to the business of and the transcriptions of Bach’s music that I offer to all of you.
I also wish to acknowledge the talented webmaster of www.froogles.com , Richard Wolfe, for his incredible help with web design, pc and network setups, and his good common sense. These are both very close friends and I love them dearly.
My buddy, Steven Schram, an absolutely great guitarist on many levels, has also been extremely helpful to me over these last few years, educating me on quality guitars and fine tuning my eyes to the guitar side and the business side of this difficult but rewarding endeavor. He has also been quite helpful in web design and in helping to develop our newest logo.
My wife Valerie, has not always understood me, but what man could not say that to some degree. Regardless, she has dealt with me and my ever-present manic state, and has supported these efforts with her care for me, our home and our children. I wouldn’t even know where or how to start thank her for giving me the room, time, space and leeway to make all of this happen. I am indebted to her for all of the above and for assisting me in our business efforts. She keeps it all together and she’s way cool!
Florence Jones requires my deepest thanks for her tireless ear and her thoughtful assistance with so many issues related to music and otherwise. She is a great friend and a lovely woman in all respects. I must highlight Sy Shaffer among many professors over the decades. He taught me everything he knew about music, theory, orchestration & conducting, including the teachings of Bela Bartok, Pierre Montieux, and Tibor Serly, among others. Mr. Jerry Willard requires my regards for his definitive Bach Lute Works and his always-present kindness when I was a student. The Lute Works told me that there was more to Bach where the guitar was concerned while he displayed to me a higher level of playing. They are both always in my thoughts at some part of my day. I am indebted to them both for their work, guidance, patience and superior instruction.
In the last year, since early 2012, Dan Bouza, a former student of mine and incredibly intelligent and resourceful young man, has helped me in numerous ways, from social networking, photography, audio engineering (his real specialty), web design and production, and in general, being an incredibly valuable executive assistant.
Thank you across the board to many people, whom, over time, have leant me valuable assistance and guidance, in one or many ways while I have learned the myriad aspects of this business, including El McMeen, Jim Ivler, John Martin, William Jennings (Doc), Sarn Dyer, Arthur Ness, Alain Reiher, Jeff Carter, Dan McIntee, Matanya Ophee, and Angelo Gilardino. A very big thank you as well to Kenny Hill who has provided guidance and his time, and a thank you to his entire staff for supporting and creating such wonderful guitars. The very many talented and fine luthiers who have graced me with their work and honored me and my studio with their fine creations also have my gratitude and thanks.
Of course, great thanks go to both Masters, Bach and Weiss. Without them and their incredible musical insight, I could not offer you anything except my advice: Play often and play well. Buy a superior guitar. Money is not always the definition of superior. Breathe. Don’t press too hard. Position is everything. Knowing and feeling the music, intimacy with its inherent expression, is everything else.
With my sincerest regards and deepest thanks for your attention. Your letters of appreciation and your kind feedback have been most gratifying.
Richard F. Sayage – Long Island, NY – March 31, 2013
Savage Classical Guitar – Editions, Guitars, and Luthier Services – Classical Guitar Dealer – Classical Guitar Shop
- I am always looking for the finest classical guitars and flamenco guitars to offer to my ever growing list of international clientele. Guitars by Daniel Friedrich – Dominique Field – Robert Bouchet – Hermann Hauser I – Fransisco Simplicio – Santos Hernandez – Ignacio Fleta – Domingo Esteso – Arcangel Fernandez – Marcelo Barbero – Manuel Reyes – Andrea Tacchi – Enrico Botelli – Hernandez y Aguado – Hermann Hauser II – Gary Southwell – David Jose Rubio – Enrique Garcia – Greg Byers – Robert Ruck – Geza Burghardt – Daniele Chiesa – Olivier Fanton D’Andon – Eric Monrad – Dake Traphagen – Gernot Wagner – Woodley White – Paulino Bernabe – Jim Redgate – Greg Smallman – Dominique Delarue – Stephen Connor – Miguel Rodriguez and the list goes on, no? LOL I will purchase outright, I’m happy to consign, and I will always help to facilitate a great guitar moving into the hands of the player and or the collector. Call me anytime or write. Thank you kindly.
All the best, Richard F. Sayage
631-335-5447 – Mobile Work Phone (best way to contact me, it’s always on my hip)
631-647-4572 – Studio/Workshop Phone