I could feel the blood in my veins when I met Daniel Mari and he started to talk about his personal relationship with John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix.
I normally read about these great musicians only in magazines or on the web. Their world is so different from mine that I never supposed that one day I could be so close to all the past and present great guitar players. They all have one thing in common: their need for a top quality string supplier.
Daniel Mari is not just the best string maker of New York, but he is also the only one who still preserves the secret of gut string makers from the Abruzzo Region in Italy. This region to the east of Rome was part of the Reign of Naples and Sicily. In a few small towns between the high mountains and the sea there was the highest concentration of string makers of Europe.
Maybe because there were many sheep and goats or maybe because the group formed a corporation and keep all the secrets – that have passed only from father to sons – for centuries the centre of string music was in Abruzzo.
This situation changed during the World War II when many people left Abruzzo to go in ‘search of a fortune’ in America. Daniel was one of them. His family started a new string business in New York while Daniel was trained to be a good soldier and therefore a good American citizen.
He missed the Korean war by fortune and when peace arrived he decided to spend some time enjoying being with the thinkers and performers that in those days where based in New York. He has been friend with the best writers, painters and musicians. He enjoyed the freedom in his youth and when he decided to enter in business he was ready and simply became the best.
Musicians such as John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix (but many others that I can not recall) would ask him for a special set of strings and Daniel created personalized solutions according to the spirit and the style of the performer. This is the reason why the same music from different players sounds quite different.
When we started to use Dupont nylon chemistry and to work with them it was magical. First we had no problem anymore with the waste of gut strings, then the sound was more powerful, but more, we could start to create an infinite variety of different solutions. And I still want to try some new ideas.
Daniel is nearly 90 but his spirit is that of a teenager. He is thrilled by music in all its forms and by the different generations that are arriving on the scene. One of his challenges is to find the right person to transmit his secrets of gut string making, and finally he met Mimmo Peruffo.
Mimmo Peruffo is the one who creates the connection with Daniel Mari and I was enchanted by the hurdles he has passed to find out how to make good gut strings. Mimmo was born in Sardinia with Veneto heritage and he founded Aquila Corde. He decided to investigate the making of gut string without any real reason but with the need to understand the evolution and the sound of past music.
During a recent music fair, Mimmo posted a message where he said that finally he had met Daniel and now he knows everything about gut strings. I am waiting to listen to Bach played with these strings.