Posts from ‘Luthier Spotlight’
Check out this beautiful film about Felipe Conde and his children, Felipe and Maria, who are the fourth generation in the Conde dynasty of luthiery. Not only is the film beautifully shot, it also features some really lovely musings about the art of guitar making, the decision to take this path in life, the relationship between builder and player, and more.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Teodoro Perez‘ career as a luthier, and he has created some extraordinarily beautiful instruments to mark the occasion. Unlike so many luthiers who began as sons of luthiers (and a few daughters in the current generation) or as frustrated guitarists, Perez started his apprenticeship in Franco’s Spain in the mid 60’s because he needed a job (times were very tough), and his father saw that the Ramirez shop was hiring. By 1970 he was qualified to build guitars for Ramirez and his guitars were stamped GPM. In 1991 he and fellow Ramirez shop veteran Mariano Tezanos teamed up and built under the Tezanos-Perez label until 2005. Currently he builds with his family – Son Sergio, daughter Beatriz and son-in-law Marco Tejeda.
Andy Culpepper grew up in a musical family with two brothers who are both accomplished musicians. He fell in love with the guitar as a teenager, shifting his focus from playing the Delta blues to playing classical music, and after discovering flamenco, he was hooked on the latter two styles for life.
German luthier Dominik Wurth made a pilgrimage of sorts when he found out we had acquired the Russell Cleveland Collection – he came to from Germany to GSI to play and study as many of these historic instruments as he could to see what he might learn from them. As you’ll read, one guitar in particular made a deep impression and has even influenced his construction method. We’ll have new instruments from Dominik very soon.
We’ve just received our first guitar from German luthier Florian Blochinger, who happens to be the son of the great luthier Edmund Blochinger. Florian not only brought us one of the best guitars we’ve ever seen by such a young luthier, he played the guitar beautifully, too. This comes as less of a surprise when you learn that in addition to his regular lessons Florian has been having regular master classes with family friend Pepe Romero since he began playing. In any case, this is an impressive debut and GSI is very happy to now represent both Blochingers in the US.
Here he is playing Tarrega’s Lagrima and Torroba’s Romance de Los Pinos on his new guitar.
Have you ever wondered how rosettes are made? Fernando Moreno just sent us some great photos of the entire process from design to completion of the rosette he made for the new guitar he’s finishing up for GSI. It’s a great look into one of the many painstaking tasks that luthiers undertake in order to create guitars that look as good as they sound.
Andrea Tacchi was born in Florence, Italy in 1956 into a deeply-rooted Florentine family with a rich artisan heritage in both jewelry-making and wood-working. At a young age, he took interest in creating musical instruments, building his first guitar at age 15. While at university studying mechanical engineering, he met and began an apprenticeship with Argentinian luthier Ricardo Brané, ultimately leaving university to pursue a career as a professional luthier. After Brané’s death, Tacchi traveled extensively to Spain, England, France, and the United States to study with the top masters of the day; in 1981 he went to Spain to meet with Paulino Bernabe Sr., José Ramírez III and Francisco & Gabriel Fleta to get their critical opinions and advice on his development as a guitar maker. He also traveled twice to England to consult with José Romanillos. The most important of these meetings however took place over several trips throughout the 1980s to France where he was able to receive advice and encouragement from both Robert Bouchet and Daniel Friederich in their workshops. To read more about Tacchi’s experiences in Paris click here.
We currently have two guitars from the Manuel Contreras shop that happen to span 48 years of Contreras guitar making – a perfect 1968 Manuel Contreras peghead flamenco blanca and a brand-new 2016 Manuel Contreras II “10th Anniversary Premium Series” – and this got us thinking that one of the constants in the Contreras shop for over 25 years now has been Victoria Velasco. If you visited the Contreras shop in Madrid while Manuel Sr. or Pablo Contreras were alive chances are you’ve met Victoria.
Vladimir Druzhinin was born in 1983 in Novosibirsk, Russia into a family of scientists. In 2000, he graduated from high school with an emphasis in physics and mathematics, and subsequently successfully passed his entrance exams to Novosibirsk State University, where he enrolled. Not surprisingly, Vladimir graduated from Novosibirsk State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Physics in 2004, and then in 2006, he continued with more success in receiving a Master’s degree there, specializing in Accelerator Physics. It is a rare thing to encounter luthiers who have such extensive and focused training in a scientific area, let alone an area like physics that truly provides a deeper understanding into the natural underpinnings that occur in musical instruments; (guitar makers who come to mind are of course Greg Smallman and Simon Marty, two Australian luthiers who are known to study the physical nature of sound in relation to guitar construction to improve upon their designs, and I’m sure there are others) however, this seemed like a natural course for Vladimir coming from a scientist breeding ground since birth. From 2002 to 2008, he solidified his scientific training while working for the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics.
Jake Fuller’s passion for making classical guitars stemmed from an interest in both working with wood and playing the guitar. His Cornish grandfather was a wheelwright and made almost anything he could imagine that involved wood such as carts, wheelbarrows, gates and furniture. The working table Fuller currently uses, as well as a few of his treasured tools, were passed onto him by his grandfather, so he cherishes them dearly to this day. He actually never met his grandfather, since he lost a leg at Ypres during World War I, and subsequently died fairly young; nevertheless, grandfather Fuller left an essential mark in young Jake’s everyday life as well as his work life. Fuller remembers hearing that his grandfather had made his own wooden leg shortly after losing his live limb. The name “Purnell” is Jake Fuller’s middle name; however, it used for his guitars to pay tribute to his grandfather, whose name was Purnell.