My first nylon string guitar - after playing steel for years - was a Toyota (never saw another) and the first piece I wanted to study on it was Sor's 9th Study.  I had an old Segovia LP called Three Centuries of the Guitar, given to me when I was 13, just starting guitar.  I listened to it a bit and put it away - I was into Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, and fingerpicking at the time.  But 8 fingerpicking years later, I started playing the Segovia LP again - you know how this can happen - and this time fell helplessly, hopelessly, and madly in love with it.  On side 2 were some Sor studies, and I just fell in love with them.  There was the 9th and the 20th, which thrilled me to the quick.  True, I had been doing some mean fingerpicking, but this was a quantum leap beyond even Dave Van Ronk.  This my friends, was ANDRES SEGOVIA.  I realized Id been a fool to have ignored the LP for so many ages, relegating poor old Andy to the bottom of the record pile.  Suddenly I could listen to nothing else.  And those delightful studies.  I decided to learn at least the 9th, which sounded the more manageable, compared with the devilish 20th.  You recall I said I only had a steel string guitar at the time, but I could read music, so I went out and bought Segovia 's edition of 20 Studies by Fernando Sor.  I used my Martin D-18 and learned the 9th study respectably enough to decide my new prowess warranted a classical guitar.  The only one I could afford was this Toyota guitar cheap as they come, dead as a doornail, nowhere near as good as a Yamaha  C40, but there you have it.  I learned all the Sor studies after that, and never (well, hardly ever) played steel string again.

You know, that very edition of Segovia s arrangements of 20 Studies by Sor is still on my music stand - I just looked over to check and yep - there it is.  That wouldn't be so strange in itself but it was ... let me see... 33 years ago.

I don't say this edition has been constantly on my music stand for 33 years straight, but this particular edition (costing $1.50, I see on the cover) somehow always seems to make its way back there.  I'd put the Sor studies as the best set of Guitar Etudes of all time - not that the Villa Lobos Etudes, or the Coste, or the Giulianni, or the Carcassi, are chopped liver.  The Sor are my favorites, though.  Theyre the definitive studies, IMHO.  And the Segovia edition is the definitive version.  Mine is published by Edward B. Marks, by the way.  No idea if its still in print.

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