Posts from ‘Luthier Spotlight’
In Memoriam: John Weissenrieder (1964-2017)
by Andrea Tacchi
My friend John Weissenrieder and I had the pleasure of knowing each other, as well as time spent working together and later, harvesting the work of those years. And now – unexpectedly and with great sadness – the time has come for me to share some of my memories of John and the work we did together on guitars.
Check out this video about Edmund Blöchinger’s Dome guitar, so named because the wood for the top came from the dome of the Munich Frauenkirche, or Cathedral of Our Lady, which was all but destroyed in Allied bombing in 1945. Wood from the dome was salvaged by Franz Fuchs, who determined that wood with this pedigree should be used for stringed instruments, and it was Fuchs’ son, Gerald, who made the wood available to Blöchinger. It’s a great story that has resulted in some amazing instruments, and another reminder of the passion that guitar makers bring to their search for the best materials in the world. You can also read more about the history of the wood here.
This is the second of two instruments that Edmund Blöchinger built nearly side-by-side, using a flitch set of CSA for the back and sides, but using two different (and equally ancient) tops for each one. A couple of weeks before this instrument arrived, we had received the first of these, his “Dome” guitar with the sister set of back and sides to this pine, which itself has its own incredible back-story that you can read here. But let us turn to this pine-topped instrument, which is an entirely different marvel unto itself also with its own compelling background.
Edmund Blöchinger’s “Dome” guitar has a very intriguing back story, so we thought it would be a great piece of information to share with everyone. Among the fascinating details about this instrument, it is notably interesting that the soundboard comes from the spruce beams that resided for over 450 years in the roof of the Frauenkirche in Munich, Germany – probably the most iconic structure in that city that tourists today flock to with their selfie sticks and zoom lens cameras. From these antique spruce beams is where the story of this guitar begins…
Our friends at Orfeo magazine have just published the English translation of a speech given in 1998 by the great luthier Daniel Friederich to the French Society of Acoustics Congress, held at the Cité de la Musique, Paris. One of Orfeo’s readers, Cristiano Borges, translated the speech. This article by one of the titans of 20thy century luthiery, entitled “The classical guitar soundboards and their bracing: The luthier´s dilemma – symmetry or asymmetry in the structural design of the soundboards”, will be of great interest to luthiers, but also to anyone who loves the guitar and its history. You can read the entire speech, which features many illustrations, photos and diagrams, by clicking here.
A while back we were contacted by two direct descendants of Antonio de Torres. They were making a film about Torres and asked if they could use some of our videos and photos of the many great Torres guitars we’ve had come through GSI over the years. We were of course more than happy to help, and now they need your help to finish the film. Check out their modest Kickstarter campaign and help them finish what looks to be a fantastic film about the man who developed the guitar as we know it.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Torres, and it is the perfect time to celebrate all things Torres. His instruments constantly astonish us with the quality of their sound and even the volume they produce. You can see some of the great videos we’ve shot on Torres guitars here, and you can read a bit about the man himself here, but be sure to watch the video below then click here and consider contributing whatever you can to this film about the man who contributed so much to the instrument we all love.
We had the chance to sit and talk with Amalia Ramirez about some of the new Ramirez models and a bit about the current state of Ramirez Guitars in general and the future of the shop. Amalia tells us about the new Antigua, Guitarra de Tablao, Guitarra Del Tiempo and Auditorio Trio models.
As you can imagine, over the years we’ve recorded more than a few great videos on guitars by Jose Ramirez – everything from brand new guitars to guitars from the middle of the last century and of course the 1969 Ramirez that was owned on played by Andres Segovia for ten years. Players have included Scott Tennant, Adam Holzman, Irina Kulikova, George Sakellariou, Tavi Jinariu and many more. We’ve complied a playlist of all of the videos we’ve produced featuring Jose Ramirez guitars and you can see them all here, or simply watch the video below and you’ll be on your way.
Here’s a great and very in-depth interview with Amalia Ramirez from Roseta Magazine, the magazine of the Spanish Guitar Society. Javier Suárez-Pajares discusses the history of Ramirez, Amalia’s personal involvement in some rough transitions during the 1980’s, and her vision for the future of the Ramirez brand. You can click here to read the article in Spanish, or continue to read the full article in translation below.