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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.
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.
Orfeo Magazine has published a feature article in their latest issue for Autumn 2015, taking a look into the workshops and at the work of master luthiers Andrea Tacchi, Luigi Locatto, and Lorenzo Frignani. Featuring interviews with the luthiers themselves, as well as highlighting some of the unique approaches these luthiers take when building their instruments, this issue is loaded with tons of great information for anybody interested in the art and craft of luthierie, as well as classical guitar in general. This issue also has some splendid photography, some nice shots of the luthiers and their workshops accompany the articles to give the reader a well rounded image of how and why these craftsmen do what they do. Click here to see the full issue of Orfeo. Also, check out some of the guitars we’ve had here at GSI as the exclusive retailers for these fine luthiers in the United States. You can see all of the guitars we’ve had from the workshops of Tacchi, Locatto, and Frignani in our store and in our museum archive.
Italian luthier Andrea Tacchi sent us some beautiful videos of the construction process shot by his son Giovanni Tacchi, accompanied by the playing of guitarist Flavio Cucchi. [The video is so lovely that I asked Andrea if his son was a filmmaker, but learned that Giovanni is learning guitar making from his father when away from school and is also a competitive kayaker who has competed with the Italian National team.] We are extremely pleased to announce that Tacchi has started work on a guitar for GSI which will hopefully be completed in 2015. Continue Reading
In 1980, I journeyed to Paris for the first time in my life, for a full week. This was an adventure I undertook to meet the great Parisian luthiers, and generally take in the guitar culture of this thriving city. This initial experience led to my traveling regularly there for many years afterwards. Before I continue with the highlights and some details of these experiences, I must first mention a little of the process required in advance of the journey.
In Paris, in the heart of Faubourg St. Antoine (the district traditionally populated by wood workers and highly skilled cabinet-makers), passing through a courtyard one finds the atelier of luthier Daniel Friederich. The large workshop, composed of a few rooms, is full of wood, a realm of silence. The high windows, which don’t face the street, have curtains situated in such a way that the even light diffuses following the rules with which the maestro has organized the whole studio. Everything appears arranged so as to minimize any possible distractions: the position of the workbenches, lighting, and above all, the optimal location of tools. No unnecessary loss of energy, especially mental.
Thanks to everyone who voted on our fun Valentine’s Day survey. We’ve been collecting the votes for the past week on videos nominated by our GSI team to find out what is the most “Romantic” classical guitar video on the GSI YouTube channel.Continue Reading
When GSI’s David Collett and JohnPaul Trotter went to MusikMesse in Frankfurt, Germany (Europe’s largest musical equipment trade fair) in spring of 2018, they met up with many of the luthiers we work with and also with Open Strings Berlin‘s Nicolas and Hendrick to shoot some great videos about their time at MusikMesse.
Orfeo Magazine has, as promised, published their next five issues (#6-10) in print format all in one captivating, quality book. Orfeo did not shy away from providing all of the quality content they deliver online into this one package, which, by the way, we think can make a nice gift during this season! As they did with their compilation of issues #1-5, Orfeo gathers their latest five publications and showcases top-notch, in-depth stories about luthiers the likes of Andrea Tacchi, Luca Waldner, José Luis Romanillos, Antonio de Torres and Eric Sahlin – all spanning various countries including Italy, Spain, Germany and the US, and all building in different styles.
You can find Orfeo’s compilation of issues #6-10 at the GSI Store, and also check out their full catalog of publications on Orfeo’s website.
We met guitarist Silviu Ciulei a few years ago when he came in to shoot some videos for us. He was in town again for the Parkening competition and we were very glad to have him back for some classical and some flamenco videos. Here he is playing Poulenc’s ‘Pastourell’ on an amazing Andrea Tacchi ‘Ommagio a Robert Bouchet’ model.