• Instrument Department

    August 30, 2017

    Atkin 000-21 Custom Red Jasper Demo with James!

    Although we tend to think of the 000 as a 14 fret design, it actually started out life as a 12 fret, slotted headstock instrument - a parlour on steroids - and it’s that version that is the inspiration for this custom 000. This version has the classic Style 21 appointments of Spruce and Rosewood although it has a rather lovely and non-standard red jasper rosette and headstock logo. Red jasper is, as Wikipedia puts it, an aggregate of microgranular quartz and/or chalcedony and other mineral phases - or, as I would put it, a pretty red rock. It’s actually rather understated in appearance and a nice custom touch on an otherwise simple design.



    The nut is a roomy and vintage-correct 1 3/4″, with a C profile that is wide but not overly deep. We love the carve that blends the shaft of the neck into the thicker than standard slotted headstock. The 12 fret 000 design is slightly larger than the more familiar 14 fret version, so despite the parlour asthetic this is quite a big instrument. Tonally, it’s a sound that reflects its roomy dimensions - not quite the thumping bass of a dreadnought but it’s certainly a fairly strident guitar when strummed, with lots of ring and shimmer to the harmonics. The fairly small bodies of more typically proportioned 12 fretters tends to give them a boxy tone when pushed hard with a pick: there’s certainy none of that present in this guitar. For fingerstyle it’s a refined sound with lots of shimmer and fullness with a relatively slow attack that makes it better suited Joan Baez style folk than ragged Delta blues. It’s a sophisticated sounding guitar that’s perfect for poised, elegant picking and sweet, chimey strumming.

    For more information, click here.


  • Instrument Department

    August 2, 2017

    Eastman El Rey ER4 Demo with Lloyd!

    The next-generation electric archtop is here! Solid Spruce Top, Solid Mahogany back and sides with classic “Big Box” jazz and blues tones. Superior feedback suppression at high volumes.

    An all solid, hand carved, contemporary jazz guitar, the ER4 was designed by master US luthier Otto D’Ambrosio and put together by Eastman’s expert team.

    This is one of the best sounding arch tops we’ve ever had in the shop, and we’re delighted to have Lloyd playing it.

    He’s using the Fender Blues Junior Lacquered Tweed Amp and we’re mic’d up with a lavalier mic clipped on to the body and the Blue Encore Condenser 300 on the amp. All available (except the lavalier mic) to purchase from the shop (and online!).

    Lloyd says: “A short demo of me playing the Eastman El Rey ER4. Lovely chord melody arrangement from Barry Greene’s chord melody ebook of the tune ‘peace’ with a slightly improvised ending. Great work with the filming recording and editing Tom and Joe.”

    For more information, click here.


  • Instrument Department

    August 2, 2017

    Black Swan Walnut Parlour Guitar Demo with James!

    Whilst it’s always a pleasure to be surrounded by classic guitars, the one thing that fires our enthusiasm beyond anything else is when we get our hands on something that is brand new to us. Black Swan is a brand new company making a mix of classical and steel string parlour guitars one at a time from a workshop in Lincolnshire. This beautiful parlour is our first arrival and it’s a truly stunning guitar.

    It’s a tiny little thing, inspired by the maker’s love of 19th Century Martin and Bruno designs, and considerably smaller than a size 0 Martin. Structurally Black Swan have taken their own path and the design of this instrument owes more to classical guitar building than it does steel strings. The neck join is a Spanish heel design where there is no neck block as such - rather the neck extends into the body and the sides are tucked into channels cut into the sides of the heel. This is a common technique in Spanish classical building but very rare in steel string design, so it’s interesting to see it in use here. The bracing is also classical inspired with cross braces either side of the sound hole and a series of fan braces behind the bridge. Although not common in steel string making, there is a historical precedent in that many of the less ornate Martins of the late 19th Century used a fan brace structure, including the very first steel string Martins and the guitars they made for Ditson at the start of the 20th Century.

    Also unusual with this guitar is the choice of timber. There has been a lot of discussion this year about how conservation efforts impact the guitar industry with new restrictions already in place requiring permits to ship Rosewood guitars and a likelihood that other timbers such as Ebony and Mahogany will soon follow the same path.  For European makers there is also an issue that shipping exotic woods around the globe so they can make guitars our of it has an environmental impact of it’s own. With that in mind, one aspect that we love about the Black Swans is that they make use of timber sourced from Western Europe in place of the obvious Exotic alternatives. Walnut we’re already familiar with in that it is a popular timber for Fylde and Lowden - it makes for a lovely sounding guitar with a crisp response and lots of clarity. Less common is the use of Bog Oak for the bridge and fingerboard - it’s not the first time we’ve encountered Oak for these parts thanks to Fylde’s spectacular Single Malt guitars, but it’s still a very unusual feature. Bog Oak is extremely hard so a good substitute for Rosewood or Ebony, and it has a deep coffee colour to it that looks nicely traditional.

    For more information click here.


  • Recorded Music Department

    May 14, 2017

    Get your BBC Proms 2017 Festival Guide now and start planning your musical summer!

    Whether you are planning a trip to the Royal Albert Hall or to keep up with the concerts as they are broadcast, the festival guide is indispensable.

    Along with full details of every performance, it features new articles on some of the diverse themes running through this year’s programme:

    - the musical legacies of both the Reformation (from 1517) and the October Revolution in Russia (1917);

    - the birthdays of Minimalist composers John Adams (70) and Philip Glass (80), and jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996);

    - stand-out works such as Handel’s Water Music (premiered in 1717), Elgar’s three symphonies, and the first collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, Oklahoma!

    * * *

    BBC Proms 2017

    Festival Guide

    £7

    Read more & buy now!


  • The Forsyths Blog

    May 4, 2017

    Free piano workshop with Susan Bettaney (EPTA) - Saturday 13 May 2017

    FREE PIANO WORKSHOP

    with Susan Bettaney

    European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA)

    * * *

    Hosted by Forsyth

    Saturday 13 May 2017

    11am - 4pm

    * * *

    The wonderful Susan Bettaney returns to host her latest free workshop for the European Piano Teachers Association (EPTA). This workshop will be for young pianists and adult amateurs who would like to gain experience of performing in front of a supportive audience – on a fantastic Schimmel grand piano – and to benefit from Susan’s vast experience and helpful advice.

    If you would like to take part in this free workshop, whether as a performer or member of the audience, please contact Susan:

    0161 427 6706

    piano@susanbettaney.com

    Read more about our forthcoming events here!


  • Recorded Music Department

    April 29, 2017

    Your last chance to enter our Hallé & NMC Recordings prize draw!

    There’s still time to enter our prize draw for passes to a special reception celebrating the Hallé’s recording partnership with NMC Recordings!

    In anticipation of the Hallé’s performance of Bruckner’s magnificent Symphony No. 9 at the Bridgewater Hall on 4 May, we’re excited to be teaming up with NMC Recordings to offer Forsyth customers the chance to attend a special reception celebrating their recording partnership with the orchestra.

    Two winners will each receive:

    - a pair of free passes to the pre-concert reception and post-concert drinks with the conductor Ryan Wigglesworth;

    - and a promotional code providing a 25% discount on a pair of tickets for the concert in the top four price tiers (£24, £29, £34, £39) booked online at www.halle.co.uk.

    To enter, all you need to do is email “NMC” and your name to sheetmusic@forsyths.co.uk by 11.59pm on Sunday 30 April 2017

    We will randomly select and notify the two winners the following morning!

    For further details of the concert and reception, please see last week’s post.


  • Recorded Music Department

    April 22, 2017

    Record Store Day discounts! | Hallé & NMC Recordings prize draw!

    It’s Record Store Day!

    Join us in celebrating the UK’s independent record shops:

    - enjoy our in-store only discount, valid today only, of 10% off everything in our Recorded Music Department!

    - enter our prize draw for passes to a special reception celebrating the Hallé’s recording partnership with NMC Recordings!

    With over 6,000 titles in stock, Forsyth’s Recorded Music Department is a rare sight on the high street: a treasure trove of classical and jazz on CD, opera and ballet on DVD and even jazz on vinyl. As well as core repertoire and the latest releases, we are able to display a wide selection of unusual offerings. We are always happy to play any CD before you buy and will endeavour to track down anything you cannot find.

    See our Recommended Recordings at the end of this post for a sample of our range of Hallé and NMC recordings, including our special price on Tarik O’Regan’s latest release, A Celestial Map of the Sky.

    * * *

    PRIZE DRAW

    In anticipation of the Hallé’s performance of Bruckner’s magnificent Symphony No. 9 at the Bridgewater Hall on 4 May, we’re excited to be teaming up with NMC Recordings to offer Forsyth customers the chance to attend a special reception celebrating their recording partnership with the orchestra.

    The evening will begin with pre-concert drinks and speeches in the Barbirolli Room overlooking the canal, and after the concert guests will be joined by the conductor Ryan Wigglesworth.

    And you could be there! We have two pairs of passes to the reception to give away, and attendees will also be entitled to a discount on tickets to the evening’s concert. Here are all the details:

    Thursday 4 May 2017

    The Barbirolli Room, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

    Arrival drinks – 6.30pm | Speeches – 7pm | Concert – 7.30pm

    Hallé, Hallé Choir, Ryan Wigglesworth (conductor)

    Purcell, Funeral Sentences for Queen Mary

    Ryan Wigglesworth, Locke’s Theatre (2013)

    Bruckner, Symphony No. 9

    Post-concert drinks with Ryan Wigglesworth

    Two winners will each receive:

    - a pair of free passes to the pre-concert reception and post-concert drinks;

    - and a promotional code providing a 25% discount on a pair of tickets for the concert in the top four price tiers (£24, £29, £34, £39) booked online at www.halle.co.uk.

    To enter, all you need to do is email “NMC” and your name to sheetmusic@forsyths.co.uk by 11.59pm on Sunday 30 April 2017

    We will randomly select and notify the two winners the following morning!

    * * *

    RECOMMENDED RECORDINGS

    Here is a sample of our range of Hallé and NMC recordings. In honour of Record Store Day, you can get 10% off these and everything else in our Recorded Music Department when you shop in-store today only!

    - - -

    TARIK O’REGAN

    – A Celestial Map of the Sky

    OUR PRICE: £10.85 (RRP £13.60)

    Hallé,

    Hallé Youth Choir

    The Manchester Grammar School Choir

    Sir Mark Elder & Jamie Phillips

    NMC Recordings NMC D220

    NMC Recordings is an award-winning record label with charitable status. Founded in 1989 by composer Colin Matthews, it is devoted to the promotion of contemporary classical music from the British Isles. With a catalogue of more than 250 titles, encompassing major established figures and new voices, its award-winning recordings are of the highest quality and feature major international artists. In 2015 NMC became the first organisation to receive the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Leslie Boosey Award for “its outstanding contribution to the furthering of contemporary music in Britain”.

    “The other star player on this recording is the Hallé Orchestra itself, illuminating with passion and precision the bright colours of O’Regan’s immensely enjoyable and refreshing sound world.”

    – Gramophone Magazine

    Read more & buy online

    - - -

    ANTON BRUCKNER

    – Symphony No. 9 in D minor

    £14.50

    Hallé

    Cristian Mandeal

    Hallé CD HLL 7524

    “… supremely well executed by the Hallé, in even finer form than we have learned to expect in the last few years. The playing is of fierce precision and immense power.”

    – BBC Music Magazine

    Read more & buy online


  • Sheet Music Department

    April 19, 2017

    “Let’s Play The Piano!” comes to Forsyth on Saturday 29 April!

    LET’S PLAY THE PIANO!

    – MANCHESTER

    with Ben Richards

    * * *

    Hosted by Forsyth

    Saturday 29 April 2017

    11.30am – 1.30pm

    * * *

    We are delighted to be welcoming Ben Richards and his Meetup group Let’s Play The Piano! to Forsyth for the next in their popular series of events, which provide invaluable opportunities for adult pianists to perform – and for music-lovers to hear – a wide variety of music in a friendly, supportive environment.

    This will be the group’s first session at Forsyth but they are set to be regular guests with events here every couple of months. If you would like to be involved now or in the future, whether as a performer or a member of the audience, you can read more about the group and this event on our Events page.