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  G-48, G48W  
 

 
 

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 An Interview with Grégoire Maret 

 
 


All-New: Grégoire Maret Signature Chromatic Harmonica Models

In Search of the "Grégoire Maret Sound"

When we embarked on making signature models for our star chromatic harmonica player Grégoire Maret, Grégoire stated that above all "I want a Beautiful Dark Sound." This was the seed that triggered the development of the G-48 and G-48W. Grégoire was constantly seeking this mysterious "Beautiful Dark Sound" throughout the development of his signature models. He proposed many ideas, including the materials to be used, the colors, the tolerance of the reeds and other intricate aspects of these magical instruments. After exhaustive research, the G-48 and G-48W fulfill the spirit of his ideas to the last detail.

Special interview

Suzuki: Tell us about how you were introduced to the chromatic harmonica.

Grégoire: My parents gave me a chromatic harmonica for my 16th birthday. Before that I was only playing the diatonic harmonica (blues). After my first year in high school, I changed my major to music and started playing the chromatic almost by obligation, since they wouldn’t accept me if I played the diatonic harmonica. At this point I started playing jazz standards with other high school students as well as studying classical music. Once I switched to the chromatic I never went back.

Suzuki: Is there anybody who inspired or influenced you in music, especially for the harmonica?

Grégoire: There are many musicians that have had a huge influence on me. If I look at harmonica players, the obvious ones are Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder. Other musicians include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Kenny Garrett, Steve Coleman, Pat Metheny, Lyle Mays and the list goes on. Although I would say that the four musicians that probably influenced me the most are Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock.

Suzuki:In your many experiences touring the world with Herbie Hancock or Pat Metheny and recording with those artists, tell us about one or more of the experiences that impressed you particularly.

Grégoire: I’m always impressed by their ability to create a new world each night that is really inclusive of everybody on the bandstand as well as in the audience…that’s what I call magic…

Suzuki: What are the main factors of your success?

Grégoire: I think my ability to adapt to any situation and to truly serve all styles of music, while remaining strongly unique, are the main reasons I get so many calls and keep working constantly.

Suzuki: You always surprise us with new sounds and styles in your performance – Where do you get your ideas?

Grégoire: I listen to a lot of music from different parts of the world. I always feel inspired by the new sounds that I discover…I dislike doing the same things and repeating myself, so I try to find new ways and create new sounds to play on my instruments…

Suzuki: What do you feel inspires your performances?

Grégoire: When I play I try to be completely in the moment without any judgment, I just accept any sound, note, chord, color…and try to see if I can improve the canvas by adding something to it…my whole notion of music making is totally linked to my spiritual life, which is very personal…

Suzuki: What makes chromatic harmonica special for you and what musical effects can it give you that you especially appreciate?

Grégoire: The chromatic harmonica is a very unique instrument in that it has a voice-like quality. It can express and play sounds that no other instrument can. It fits into any musical setting yet there is still very little that has been explored with it. So there is a lot to be done and discovered.

Suzuki: What do you think are the possibilities with the Chromatic harmonica? And what do you consider is your special contribution to the instrument’s development?

Grégoire: There are many possibilities and discoveries. In respect to the sound, I felt something was missing, especially in certain registers of the instruments…the high and mid registers were always a bit too aggressive. I thought there would be a possibility to develop a chromatic harmonica with a dark and warm sound. I proposed this idea to SUZUKI and thus began development of this signature model started.

Suzuki: Which part did you focus on more than others in developing your signature models?

Grégoire: The most important aspect of my models is the sound quality. They sound exactly the way I want. I also love that these models are very flexible and allow everyone that plays them the freedom to find their own sound…

Suzuki: Please tell us about your new signature models the G-48 and G-48W

Grégoire: G-48 has a more powerful and intense sound and G-48W has a mellower and darker sound. Neither one is set for a particular style or genre of music. It all depends on the intensity and volume that one looks for. Usually when I play in a jazz band, and especially if there is a vocalist, I use the wooden cover. If I play in a pop, rock or funk band the sound is much louder so I use the metallic cover.

Suzuki: Who do you want to use these new chromatic harmonicas?

Grégoire: Everyone…. from an amateur who simply loves the harmonica to a professional who has more demands and needs the best instrument for his or her performances.

Suzuki: What do you think these models can give to players?

Grégoire: They are beautiful tools to explore new frontiers and to play beautiful melodies. With both models - I feel like the sky is the limit!

 

 

Grégoire Maret

Grégoire was born in 1975 in Switzerland. He began his musical career as a harmonica player at age 17. He studied harmonica in the Jazz department at The New School University where he graduated with a bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Since then, Grégoire has continued to actively pursue his career, sharing the stage as well as recording with artists of worldwide fame - including Cassandra Wilson, Marcus Miller, Pat Metheny Group and Herbie Hancock. He also founded the group ‘Gaia’ alongside Federico Gonzales Pena and Gene Lake. Grégoire is undoubtedly one of the most respected and skillful chromatic harmonica players in the world today. He is a superb performer, with a unique stage presence whether playing jazz, fusion, world music, or whatever…. The listener’s eyes are constantly drawn to him.

Features and description of the two models:



G-48 --- Metallic cover

The G-48’s powerful and intense sound is combined with unique dark blue coverplates. Their special plating is not just beautiful, but has high durability characteristics. This plating material is renowned for its resistance to abrasion and discoloring.

Specification
G-48 (metallic cover)
Range: 12 hole 48 key (c1 to d4), Sliding chromatic
Slide alignment: Cross- Type
Material: <body> ABS resin with brass weight
<cover> Brass with special plating
<reedplate> Brass
<reed> Phosphor bronze
Dimension: 155 x 45 x 30mm (6.10"x 1.77"x 1.18")
Weight: 341g (0.75 lb)
Accessory: Plastic case

 

G-48W --- Wooden cover

The G-48W has a mellower and darker sound. The hard-wearing durability Rosewood cover gives an elegant sophisticated look. This cover combines ease and secure handling, high durability, and a beautiful dark sound in the overtones. The G-48W is the first-ever mass-produced chromatic harmonica with a wooden cover.

Specification
G-48W (wooden cover)
Range: 12 hole 48 key (c1 to d4), Sliding chromatic
Slide alignment: Cross-Type
Material: <body> ABS resin with brass weight
<cover> Rosewood
<reedplate> Brass
<reed> Phosphor bronze
Dimension: 155 x 45 x 31mm (6.10"x 1.77"x 1.22")
Weight: 312g (0.68 lb)
Accessory: Plastic case

 

 
     

 

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