In just a little over a year, the marvelous online classical-guitar learning and information website tonebase has evolved into a vital educational resource for players of every level and interest—with over 60 outstanding guitarists from all over the world offering technique lessons and tips, and insights about the art and craft of classical-guitar, delivered by some of the most well-respected players. It’s been hard to keep up with the platform’s rapid growth and expansion, but if you’re already on their email list, you’re up on the latest additions to their artist rosters. (And if you’re not, it’s easy to sign up at tonebase.co; their newsletter is free.)
Recently, tonebase has taken great strides to better serve guitarists internationally, expanding its presence in a number of new markets and even tailoring content to those regions. In China, for example, tonebase is working with Hanson Yao and Altamira Guitars to customize content for that huge, emerging market. Igor Lichtmann, lifelong guitarist and co-founder of tonebase, tells us, “We’re working on translating the [English-language] content, which is surprisingly easy these days using technology, and also working with a native Mandarin-speaking team to check it over and make sure we’ve got it correct. Initially, to test the waters we’re using subtitles. Then, if that works out, we might eventually have a dubbed version of the videos.”
The company also now has managers working in Russia, Spain, and Italy, with representation in Germany and Latin America soon to follow. “Those people locally manage the representation of tonebase in communities and at festivals, to expand the reach and to onboard artists who might not be well-known in the U.S. market but are known in other regions,” Lichtmann says. The goal, he notes, is to “internationalize the instrument by facilitating cultural exchange, so someone in Texas can learn from someone in Italy, and vice-versa.”
In both the short and long term, however, Lichtmann says, “The question will be how do we serve schools, how do we serve organizations, how do we serve people who may not have access to teachers—to make sure our platform has an impact beyond the guitar festivals and guitar competitions, and into the larger community of anyone who wants to play guitar?”
The recently unveiled tonebase Version 2 (V2) begins to address some of those issues: “We will have a ‘Community’ section which is effectively like a forum,” Lichtmann says, “where we will have certain initiatives, where societies can present themselves, and luthiers can engage with people in a meaningful way. It will be curated and facilitated by teachers and passionate users. It will be a great place to exchange ideas.”
Clearly, there is no shortage of ambition at tonebase. So far, though, they’ve been able to deliver on their own lofty expectations.
And you can check out their extremely impressive roster of artists here. —Blair Jackson