Conversations with Daniel Nistico - internationally acclaimed Australian guitarist

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As you’re aware, at GuitarsOnline, we love to showcase incredible Australian talent.

Over the past few months, we’ve had the chance to spend some time with a young Australian talent who will need no introduction – the internationally acclaimed Daniel Nistico.

Described by Nicholas Goluses, of the Eastman School of Music as “one of the most gifted guitarists of his generation”, Daniel has now settled into life in the US.

However, recently we had the opportunity to spend time with, and also to record Dan who was back in Australia from the Eastman School of Music and preparing for his Melbourne concert ‘Noche Espanolas’.

Over the coming weeks, we’re privileged to have Dan share with us, his unique insight into life as an professional performer.

Daniel has captivated audiences in Australia, Chile, Serbia, New Zealand, China, the USA, and the Czech Republic and has won prizes at both national and international competitions.

In today’s feature, we going to be talking “guitar shopping”.

One of the things on Dan’s “shopping list” on this visit, was a new guitar – and so we thought we’d give you a unique insight into how he went about it!  

How does an internationally acclaimed guitarist select a new guitar?

It was a pleasure to host Dan over several days while he gave the range a good going over! He played close to 20 guitars and we ended up recording 13 models. At the end of the recording sessions Dan had a new guitar: An Alhambra Luthier Ziricote 50 Anniversario.

We are fortunate to host many great players through the showroom. Some guitars they play for a little while, some they return to again and again.

I learn so much from what they play, how they play, how long they play for and of course their feedback and insights on the models:  I use all this to help me choose the next guitar shipment.


Testing Process

Initially, Dan tested each guitar with a demanding concert repertoire for an extended period of three – six minutes.

He did this to assess tone delivery, musicality and push the guitar to its full extent, as well as to see how it handled up and down the fretboard.

This was a very thorough approach to testing, taking several hours over a couple of days. Dan then began retesting the front-runners.


The final verdict??

If cost were no object the Vilaplana NT was Dan’s overall favourite concert guitar.

Dan also commented that " Iliked the Manuel Adalid La Cathedral model.  It's very easy to play and extremely responsive dynamically and would be a great fit for any serious player who wants to project their sound right to the back of a large hall or concert auditorium with little effort."

The Alhambra Ziricote was the best fusion and at just $6,000 was considered great value with superb technical set up, volume, projection and colour and could stand up to the rigours of being played firmly in the concert hall. It’s a lot of guitar for the money!

The Marizapalos model by Angel Benito Aguado ($4200) was even pegging even after buying the Luthier Ziricote. The Marizapalos remained a firm favourite due to its timbre, colour and beauty of notes right across the colour palette. Since conducted the testing, one of his students bought a Marizapalos - it is such a musical guitar. For Dan in the end is did not quite have the volume needed for the concert hall

The Juan Hernandez Maestro at $5,999. This model Dan rated highly, extremely playable and even across the strings, very musical with great colour. It was a was a firm favourite.

The Juan Hernandez Models 8 at $1,800 was deemed to have incredible balance across the strings and very responsive to drawing out musical colour up and down the strings. Dan thought is incredible value and an excellent student guitar.


How did Dan describe his new Alhambra 50th Anniversary Ziricote?

"I will try to describe some of the qualities of the Alhambra 50th Anniversary Ziricote guitar that really captured my attention when making the decision to purchase a new guitar.”

"This instrument's fiery, raw, mysterious and rustic tone evokes Spain." 

“It has basses that can evoke either rich cello-like tones (when playing close to the fretboard with an apoyando), or sharp and powerful brass-like tones (when playing close to the bridge with force). “

"The trebles are generally very sweet, but also capable of a wide variety of tone colours."

“Overall the tonal quality of the guitar projects an evocative Spanish mystique that instantly draws you in."

"It's a special quality about some guitars that I've noticed over the years - for example some Australian guitars somehow have a unique Australian-ness to their sound, which tends to suit Australian music very well."

"I notice that this Alhambra guitar suits Spanish music very naturally, almost as though that is its native language!"

Hear Dan perform Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz, on his brand new Alhambra 50th Anniversary Ziricote


Daniel Nistico
: Sevilla by Isaac Albeniz
GuitarsOnline Performance Showcase

Guitar : Alhambra 50th Anniversary Ziricote
More about this guitar



For more information about Dan, you can visit:

Pierre Herrero-Keen