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Chris Anderson
Classical Guitarist

"Great music and great playing. 
A really fine concert"

Charles Staples, Series Director
Sunday Concerts at Trinity
Richmond, Va.

News, Tips, and Musings


1.)  NEWS - Chris Anderson on
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

.)  NEWS - Chris at WAMU 88.5 FM,
National Public Radio from the Nation's Capital

3.) NEWS - Guitar Maker Ariel Ameijenda
at Anderson's House

4.)  NEWS - From Richmond's Style Weekly

5.)  NEWS - From The Baltimore Sun Website

6.NEWS - From the Winchester Star

7.)  NEWS - From the film
"Manuel Barrueco, A Gift and a Life"

8.)  TIPS - Thoughts on When to Change
Classical Guitar Strings and Pitch Instability

by Chris Anderson as published in "Classical Guitar Magazine".

.)  MUSING - Music is the most powerful ...




1.)  Chris Anderson on
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Oct. 17, 2008 - Mona Seghatoleslami, a producer for WVPB interviewed Chris
for "West Virginia Morning" which airs Monday through Friday on the fourteen
stations of the West Virginia Public Radio network.  
You can read a transcipt or listen (find the "Listen Now" button) to it here...


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2.)  Chris at WAMU 88.5 FM,
National Public Radio from the Nation's Capital

Sept. 2008 - Chris is shown here with David Furst, the host & producer of
"Metro Connection" from WAMU 88.5 FM, National Public Radio from
the Nation's Capital.  David's interview with Chris aired on Friday, Sept. 12 at 
1:00 pm.  Listen to it here...

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3.)  Guitar Maker Ariel Ameijenda
at Anderson's House

July 1, 2008 - After showing his instruments at the
2008 New York Guitar Seminar at Mannes, 
guitar maker Ariel Ameijenda rode down to Maryland
with Chris Anderson before returning to his
home country of Uraguay.  Shown here in
Anderson's kitchen, he is making some small
final adjustments to Chris' new guitar. 
For more information about Ariel and his work,
visit the "Links" page.

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4.)  From Style Weekly
(Richmond, Va.'s alternative for news, arts, culture, and opinion)

November 14, 2007

Chris Anderson at Trinity United
Methodist Church
by Craig Belcher

Richmond, Va. - Classical guitarists employ a different technique and a slightly different instrument from the typical long-haired ax-wielding rocker.  The guitar that Chris Anderson will be playing at Trinity United Church probably won't be swung through the air or set ablaze after the last song.

Instead, the former guitar instructor's performance will include some classical pieces intended for other instruments, such as the Elizabethian lute, that he has adapted to the guitar.  It's a fitting transition, as the classical guitar is known for its ability to sustain a number of musical voices.  Anderson's guitar gently speaks Sunday, Nov. 18 at 3:00pm.

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5.) From the Baltimore Sun Website

     (Sun photo by Algerina Perna)                

March 15, 2007

"The Day in Pictures" (8 of 25)

Classical guitarist Chris Anderson
performs a free concert as part of 
the University of Maryland School of Law's
"Lunch Under the Pipes" series.

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From the Winchester Star

Thursday, January 18,2007

SU alumnus to present classical guitar program

By Val Van Meter
The Winchester Star

 Winchester, Va. - Classical guitarist Chris Anderson
is happy to perform at Shenandoah University
for two reasons.

The Hagerstown, Md. resident will present a program
of Bach, Villa-Lobos, Granados, and Johnson at 7:00 p.m.
on Sunday in Goodson Recital Hall on the university campus.

One reason is the school's guitar program.  "When I was in 
college in the early to mid-'70's, there were no places
with accredited programs to pursue the guitar", Anderson
said.  In fact, he added, "only a handful existed in the world."

The only instruments of interest to most music school
programs at the time were the piano and the violin.

So Anderson took his degree in history at
Bethany (W.Va.) College, with an extensive minor in music
theory and composition, because the school had no
instrumental studies program.

Then, "much to my delight," he heard that SU had
started a guitar studies program and he came to learn
more under Glen Caluda, the department chairman.

He later studied with top masters and was a guitar
instructor at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va.

Anderson built on a lifelong love of the guitar.  He was
performing in middle school, but switched from steel-
stringed instruments to the classical guitar after being
introduced to J.S. Bach's music in college.

The main difference between classical guitars and the
steel-stringed versions, aside from the type of music
usually performed on them, is the way they are played,
Anderson said.  Classical guitar demands a "much more
refined and disciplined use of the right hand."

Popular guitarists such as Chet Atkins, known for their
"finger picking" approach this classical style, he said.
Classical guitarists use their right hand in a way that 
produces a much more complex texture, he said, adding:
"This doesn't say anything about the repertoire."

The second reason Anderson enjoys coming back to
Shenandoah is Goodson Recital Hall, where the concert
will be held.  "I love that little recital hall.  It has world-
class acoustics."

Classical guitar players don't use amplification,
Anderson noted, so the sound quality of a room is very
important.  "In a nice environment, really special things
happen to the sound."

The SU recital hall is "the very nicest place for a 
classical guitar concert".

(Please note... I want to extend my thanks to the Winchester Star and Ms. Van Meter
for their very generous coverage.  In the interest of full disclosure, the headline might be  
misleading.  I do not have a degree from Shenandoah Conservatory of Music.  I completed 
additional undergraduate hours there in Applied Guitar Studies after receiving a Bachelor's
Degree from Bethany College.  /
Chris Anderson)

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7.)  From "Manuel Barrueco,
A Gift and a Life."

Copyright 2005 Michael Lawrence Films
(See the "Links" page for info on Michael Lawrence Films)
Used with the kind permission of the filmmaker.

Chris as a performing student at Manuel Barrueco's week long classical 
guitar masterclass at the Peabody Institute of Music during July of 2004.  


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The following article was printed in the March 2008 issue (Volume 26, No. 7) of
"Classical Guitar Magazine."  It's widely regardly as the world's leading print publication
about the classical guitar.  The magazine is published in England and you
can access it on the "Links" page of this website.

8.) Thoughts on When to Change
Classical Guitar Strings and Pitch Instability 

Have you heard the old joke?...  What's a guitar player?... A musician who spends half his life tuning, and the other half playing out of tune...  It's been good for a chuckle for a long time.  However, by focusing on the how and the when of changing strings, perhaps one day the joke will fade away.

A search on Google will yeild links to dozens of articles on how to change guitar strings.  A market leading string manufacturer has a video on its website on the subject.  I have seen numerous diagrams in various books over the years on the techniques used to tie strings to the bridge and tuning pegs.  That information seems to be readily available. 

What I have not seen much of are discussions of when to change strings.  It's essential that you start with a proper installation technique.  Once you've got that, focus on the question of when we change strings. 

You should work towards balancing two realities:    

1.) New strings sound better.  They produce more overtones and sustain than those that have been played for too long.  They also make the use of vibrato much more apparent to the listener's ear.      

2.) A guitar whose strings won't stay in tune sounds horrible and is not enjoyable to play.  If nylon strings are improperly installed, and if the timing of the installation isn't managed well, you're in for a long losing battle with pitch instability.  Put more simply, you'll struggle keeping them in tune. 

One of the great advantages of the classical guitar is its gorgeously seductive sound.  Its nylon strings are capable of producing a wide range of tonal colors and dynamic nuances.  However, they are much more inherently prone to pitch instability than steel strings. 

The bass strings (the 4th, 5th, & 6th) have a core that is somewhat similar to dental floss.  That core is wound with metal and the end result is not very durable.  The trebles (1st, 2nd, & 3rd) are solid nylon and they're just plain slippery little devils.

A prominent string distributor told me recently that bass strings wound with different materials also affect pitch stability.  In his opinion, the old tried and true silver windings hold pitch better than the newer alternatives of copper or composite materials.  Having used nothing other than silver wound basses for many years I cannot confirm or contradict his opinion, but it is worth considering if you are in the mood for experimenting with strings.

Additionally, the tops of classical guitars are thinner and not heavily braced like steel-string acoustic guitars.  Steel-sting guitars will tolerate taking all the pressure off the top by removing all the strings at once and then reloading the top with all the pressure that goes along with reinstalling an entire set of new strings.  Classical guitars are sent into a wild and rough roller coaster ride that takes a few days to even begin to settle down by this approach.

Tip number one; don't change strings until it's absolutely necessary.  It took me many years to discover that the trebles really don't have to be changed very often.  The extreme side of this approach is replacing them only if they are not intonating properly. 

Play the harmonic of the string at the 12th fret.  Now play the fretted note at the 12th fret.  If they are the same pitch the string is still intonating properly.  If the fretted note is sharp or flat relative to the harmonic, the string does not have a consistent diameter from end to end and it needs to be replaced (or the frets are not positioned properly). 

These days, with manufacturing improvements, this should never occur with a brand new string, and won't happen until the string has been played for many, many hours, say +/- 250 hours.  (Some folks with sensitive ears are annoyed by the soft white-noise type of sound that occurs due to the surface of older treble strings becoming scratched as the right-hand fingernails go across it while playing.  For most stay at home players, this isn't a factor.)

If your guitar is sounding worn out, try changing just the 4th and 5th strings.  You'll be amazed at the overtones that come to life with only two new strings.  (If I'm not performing much, I usually just change my bass stings.  Over the course of three days, I'll change the 6th, 5th, & 4th strings.  I'll play them for a week to ten days and replace the basses again.)  However, if you've got something special coming up, say an audition, a masterclass, or maybe even a performance, you'll need to replace all the strings. 

Seven days prior to the important event, change the 3rd (G) string.  It's the thickest one on the guitar and it can take abuse better than the rest.   At six days, change the 2nd (B) string.  At five days, change the 1st (E) string.  All through this process, make sure you are using a tuner often to keep your instrument at concert pitch.  Check the recently changed strings four or five times a day. 

Move on to the bass strings.  Four days out, change the 6th (E) string.  At three days, change the 5th (A) string, and on the day before your event change the 4th (D) string.  Keep the tuner handy and fine tune your instrument often.

By my experience, I have found this sequence produces the best balance of brilliant sound and stable pitch.  Newly installed strings tuned to concert pitch need time to properly seat against the saddle and tuning pegs.  They will also stretch considerably.

If you have a series of events to prepare for, just repeat the process without interruption starting the day after your first event.  Let the next event date fall where it may.  If your next event is within a day or two, you might get by with just changing the 4th (D) string.  It's the weakest string and it wears out the quickest.

Sometimes events come at you unexpectedly.  Recently, I got a call late one Wednesday afternoon to do a recital the following Sunday.  The intended performer had suffered some injuries that prevented him from appearing.  My strings were a wreck. 

I modified my normal installation schedule by changing the 3rd string that day, the 6th and the 2nd on Thursday, the 5th and the 1st on Friday, and the 4th string on Saturday.  The results were not exactly ideal but it worked as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

Grant it, I am a bit of a fanatic about performing without subjecting the audience to extended periods of retuning.  A room full of guitar players may very well allow you a little more latitude on this.  However, a room of music lovers with no direct experience with guitar playing will find the digression to be very annoying. 

From the player's point of view, a performance brings on all sorts of unwanted pressure.  Why add fuel to the fire by having a string go flat in the middle of a piece?  Lights, humidity, and the body heat that builds up in your instrument as you perform can lay even the best string installation method to waste.  It is critical to take every precaution available to mitigate all the reasons why guitars don't stay in tune.

One final tip... string distribution is geared toward selling single packs of a complete set of strings.  If you buy your strings that way and become a regular user of my suggested string installation schedule, you'll soon find yourself with a lot of unused trebles.  Find a retailer who will sell you single strings.

Manufacturers often sell their single strings to retailers packaged in lots of a set number (say 5).  I buy my strings as follows; 3 packs each of D and A, 2 packs of low E, and 1 pack each of G, B, and high E.  It works for me.  I hope it works for you too.

Chris Anderson
August 2007

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9.)  Music is the most powerful...

Music is the most powerful of all the arts.  It instantly stirs up emotions,
conjures visions, and offers glimpses of other, higher dimensions.  It arouses
men to battle; kindles amorous passions in lovers; soothes a baby to sleep;
comforts us when we grieve.  It engages our hearts and our minds, and can
bring out the best that we are....

As musicians, our objective is to command the elements of music as best
we can in order to tap into that other dimension.  It is our access to heaven,
if only for a while.  But while we are there we can take all who are listening with
us....  When you can do these things, you cease to be just a guitar player and
become a healer and a magician.

Scott Tennant... from "Pumping Nylon"
Alfred Publishing Co., Inc. / ISBN 0739024035

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