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Saloia Guitar by Master Guitarist Óscar Cardoso

Museu do Fado

The Fado Museum was the stage chosen for the presentation of Guitarra Saloia, created by Master Guitarist Óscar Cardoso, and which had some of the greatest masters of Guitar in Portugal as sponsors.

Óscar Cardoso, presented Guitarra Saloia yesterday at the Museum of Fado, a project that according to the guitarist already has more than 20 years, and that recently, the molds that he had created for this instrument, ended up in his hands again, and he decided to go ahead with the project.

Guitarra Saloia “An octagonal guitar that, due to its perfect proportion, provides unique harmonies”, said the craftsman. Custódio Castelo, Filipe Lucas, Frankie Chavez, José Manuel Neto, José Simões, Mário Pacheco, and Paulo Soares, each in their own style, gave the audience a “little taste” of the sound of this new instrument.

O Museu do Fado foi o palco escolhido para a apresentação, da Guitarra Saloia, criada pelo Mestre Guitarreiro Óscar Cardoso, e que contou como padrinhos, alguns dos maiores mestres, da Guitarra em Portugal.

Óscar Cardoso, apresentou ontem no Museu do Fado a Guitarra Saloia, um projecto que segundo o guitarrista já tem mais de 20 anos, e que recentemente, os moldes que tinha criado para este instrumento, lhe voltaram a parar nas mãos, e decidiu avançar com o projecto.

Guitarra Saloia “Uma guitarra octogonal que, pela sua proporção perfeita, propicia harmonias únicas”, disse o artesão, teve a apadrinhar a apresentação, alguns dos melhores mestres da guitarra em Portugal, Custódio Castelo, Filipe Lucas, Frankie Chavez, José Manuel Neto, José Simões, Mário Pacheco e Paulo Soares, que cada um ao seu estilo, deram ao publico presente, um “cheirinho” da sonoridade desde novo instrumento.

About Óscar Cardoso – Taken from the Fado Museum Biography

Óscar Cardoso > Museu do Fado ©Luís M. Serrão – ineews < 2023.02.23

Óscar Manuel Barbedo Cardoso was born in 1960 and has been working in the restoration and construction of stringed instruments for 35 years. In 1990 he started building instruments. He is a “Guitarist”. He got into this activity under the influence of his father, the builder Manuel Cardoso, whose workshop, at Casal do Privilégio in Odivelas, he now occupies. He would have been about eight years old when he started looking in his father’s workshop for the toys he wanted: tools.

Óscar Cardoso began by performing small tasks, those that required less precision, more strength, less experience, and specific knowledge, such as cutting wood. But, like his father, he lived in a constant state of restlessness. Like his father, nothing seemed to be useless, all the techniques, all the experiences, all the materials, all the attempts, and all the mistakes were decisive for learning and improving his practice. From an early age, the guitarist “had crazy things in his head to do!” and the father laughed at the proposals that seemed delirious. Over time, the master’s perspective changed, given his son’s notorious ability, when verifying his creative capacity, his appetite for inventing instruments, imagining unusual construction processes, and employing new materials, always with surprising results, Manuel Cardoso began to give all support for these experiences.

But for many years Óscar Cardoso limited himself to sawing, planning, and tuning tools. Then he started repairing and rebuilding all kinds of instruments, from violins to Portuguese guitars and lutes. He spent years making amends. It was only when his gestures gained consistency and consequence that he started to make violas, an instrument that was easier to build, whose manufacturing technique is less complex and demanding than that needed to build Portuguese guitars. When he already had his hand adapted to the materials and processes, he started making guitars, but only building his resonance box as the necks were still made by his father. The last step in the learning process started when Óscar started to put on arms.

In order to reinforce his training and corresponding to a “desire to see the world”, in 1986, with a scholarship from the State Secretariat for Culture, he joined the Scuola Internationale de Liuteria de Cremona, and without knowing it, he began to follow the same steps that his father’s master, 60 years earlier, had given. In that prestigious institution, famous for the mythologizing of the name of violin makers from that Italian city, he learned “a lot of theory”, but in practice… “he learned nothing”. He discovered that the method he used, that tradition of Álvaro da Silveira, was the Italian tradition, he discovered that what he knew from experience and that he had learned from his father was what that school taught, he learned that there were names for what everyone did days, which he had done all his life: he learned theory about varnishes, about woods, he learned botany, he learned elements of material physics (the “resistance to torsion, the elasticity of woods”, he exemplifies), all things that his father taught him had transmitted and that Óscar himself had already internalized through his daily practice in the workshop and through his unusual ability to listen to the world. Despite being redundant, this experience gave Óscar Cardoso the necessary confidence for his art and, due to his boldness, allowed him to innovate. Today he bases his practice on what he learned from his father, he knows that there is a reason that was conceptualized by someone, but he almost doesn’t use it.

Óscar Cardoso > Museu do Fado ©Luís M. Serrão – ineews < 2023.02.23

As he felt the complete redundancy of the information provided in the course, three years later, at a time when his father’s health was deteriorating, he returned to Portugal to assume responsibility for the workshop’s production at the same time that his father reduced his activity.

Sometimes, his “experiences” are just that, but almost all of them have become innovations applied to his musical instruments and that helps us to better understand this guitar player, which becomes inseparable from his personality. The most radical and stable of all innovations stems from a process that began in 1995 with the first bottomless instruments. These instruments gave the builder a different vision, provoked a new approach to the construction of chordophones, and a new understanding of the acoustic functioning of musical instruments that came to affect all of Óscar Cardoso’s work, even when it comes to “more conventional” instruments.

His customers, when confronted with those unusual-looking instruments, after overcoming their initial resistance to the novelty, ended up joining them, and today, according to Óscar Cardoso, “half use guitars without backing, whether in concert or on recordings”.

It is necessary to underline that the acoustic specificity of the instruments made by Óscar Cardoso does not result solely from the rear opening, but rather from an amazing number of other construction solutions, and from the mutual allocation of each one of them, from the construction processes to the structural details and finishes. of construction that creates the distinctive sound of your instruments.

Regardless of the degree of innovation of any of their instruments, the “profile” of their guitars — “conventional” or not — is different from guitars from other builders: the bottom is quite curved, as is the top. The neck club is completely curved, “that part of the club looks like the keel of a boat”, creating a more fluid connection between the neck and the soundboard. The bow is the visible aspect of the tension in which the top is located, an essential tension for the sound (the more the materials are under the tension of the strings, the greater the speed of vibrations in these materials, especially in the top and the better the performance of the guitar). ). On the other hand, the guitar aspect is also a way of exposing his art. His guitars are very similar to those of Álvaro da Silveira, not least because he uses the same molds, but his construction accentuates the rounded lines.

Today their guitars and violas are played by José Manuel Neto, Carlos Manuel Proença, Custódio Castelo, Mário Pacheco, Filipe Lucas, Edgar Nogueira, João Alvarez, Pedro Joía, José Peixoto, Arménio de Melo, Ângelo Freire, Diogo Clemente, Jaime Santos Júnior, César Silva, Bernardo Couto, in an immense and ever-growing list.

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