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Two guitar festivals on Long Island feature star guests

Guitarist Lou Pallo of the Les Paul Trio

Guitarist Lou Pallo of the Les Paul Trio will appear and perform at the NY Guitar Show & Expo at the Freeport Recreation Center on April 25, 2015. Credit: Lou Pallo

No instrument gets as much attention as the guitar. There's a passion for the six-string that people bond over, whether they play classical, jazz, folk, flamenco or rock.

This weekend take your pick from a pair of guitar events devoted to strumming.


For more than 20 years, some of the most acclaimed artists in the guitar community have congregated at LIU Post in Brookville for a mix of master classes and workshops plus concert performances, running Wednesday through Sunday.

"The goal is to create a balance of styles. We try to choose artists we haven't had before and return some favorites," says Harris Becker, the event's director and founder. "I want people to understand the process of music-making. Through the master classes and workshops, people could witness how someone gets on that concert stage."

Guitarist Jason Vieaux won the Grammy this year for Best Classical Instrumental Solo for his album "Play" and now he's coming to the North Shore to conduct a master class at 9 a.m. Sunday followed by an afternoon concert at the Hillwood Recital Hall.

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His program will be a "mixed bag" of a Bach suite, an Argentine piece, some Pat Metheny jazz and songs from the award-winning "Play."

"The album is like an encore set," Vieaux says. "It has a 'greatest hits of guitar' kind of vibe plus some personal pieces. Maybe that struck a chord with the listeners."

Another performer, Carlo Domeniconi, doesn't play in the United States very often, but makes his way to the Long Island Guitar Festival.

"Carlo has a unique kind of sound," says Becker. "His music is recorded by almost every major guitarist in the world."

On Friday, Domeniconi hosts a 2:30 p.m. master class, then performs a concert Saturday night at Hillwood Recital Hall, where he will focus on new material.

"I think the guitar is the most wonderful instrument -- the sound, the colors," says Domeniconi. "We only have to learn to use this instrument properly."


WHEN | WHERE Wednesday-Sunday, LIU Post, 720 Northern Blvd, Brookville

INFO 516-299-2475,

ADMISSION $25 performances, $10 master class (viewing only)


The New York Guitar Show & Expo in Freeport came together out of necessity, according to founder Richard Johnson.

"I used to have to drive to Philadelphia or greater distances to go to a guitar show," Johnson says. "There was nothing on Long Island or the New York metropolitan area."

With more than 10,000 square feet in the Freeport Recreation Center and 90 vendors, the Expo has guitars for sale from $300 to $3,500. On Saturday and Sunday attendees can even sell or trade with each other inside the Expo. Additionally, guitar gear including pedals, picks, straps, custom bridge pins and gig bags can be found.

This year's event celebrates what would have been the 100th birthday of Les Paul, the legendary late guitarist who was one of the pioneers of the electric guitar.

Festivities include an appearance on Saturday by guitarist Lou Pallo from the Les Paul Trio, who will sign autographs and perform.

"Everybody learned from Les," says Pallo. "He was a true pro. No one can duplicate what Les Paul did."

Paul's actual guitars will be on display and will be available for people to hold, photograph and even play. Author Robb Lawrence signs copies of "The Les Paul Legacy" books. Vendor All Music Inc. of Plainview is planning a blowout sale on Les Paul guitars, and one will even be raffled off.

"This show is for all types of guitarists," says Johnson. "It's for the 18-year-olds who just started playing to 60-year-olds who collect vintage collectible guitars."


WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Freeport Recreation Center, 130 E. Merrick Road in Freeport

INFO 516-435-8382,

ADMISSION $10 ($6 younger than 14, under 5 free)

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