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Jason Vieaux Picks Out a New Guitar

Jason Vieaux.
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Jason Vieaux.
Jason Vieaux tries out a guitar at St. Stanislaus.
Alice Winkler, NPR /
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Jason Vieaux tries out a guitar at St. Stanislaus.
Jason Vieaux's new guitar. (Enlargement shows both guitars.)
Alice Winkler, NPR /
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Jason Vieaux's new guitar. (Enlargement shows both guitars.)

Framed by a stained-glass window at the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus -- a gothic cathedral in Cleveland -- classical guitarist Jason Vieaux recently made a big decision. He chose a new guitar.

He was introduced to the instrument by Armin Kelly, one of the major classical guitar dealers in the country. Kelly is based in Cleveland, where Vieaux does most of his recording, so the musician gets to try out a lot of guitars.

But recently he got serious about a light-blonde model that seemed to have a lot of potential to replace the guitar he's used for about four years.

So Vieaux went to St. Stanislaus to play a selection from the recent CD Sevilla -- and then some Bach -- on both instruments. Debbie Elliott gets a crash course in what a top-flight musician looks for in his instrument... in this case, a guitar that can sometimes sound more like a cello.

Others might play a new guitar for a year or more before taking it on the road. But Jason Vieaux will use his new guitar Sunday at a tour stop in Carlisle, Pa. And he asked that we not identify the guitar specifically out of respect to the luthiers of both instruments.

NPR's Alice Winkler produced the audio for this piece. Rob Byers was the audio engineer.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.