Posts Tagged ‘luthier’
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.
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.
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.
There is no doubt that the workshops of José and Manuel Ramírez played a central part in the history of guitar making in Spain. Apprentices trained here would go on to become some of the most important makers of the century. And of course, many students of these apprentices, such as Francisco Simplicio (pupil of Enrique García), would also continue to carry on the legacy marked by his predecessors in his own, masterful way.
Yuris Zeltins was born in Latvia and came to the United States as young child. Initially, his interest in classical and flamenco guitars was stimulated by the music of Agustín Castellon “Sabicas”. Unable to afford a suitable instrument, in 1960 Yuris decided to build a guitar of his own, based upon a design he saw pictured on a record album cover. The rest is history. In succeeding years he performed with different flamenco groups. His passion for the guitar led him to devote his lifetime to the construction, repair and restoration of stringed instruments, especially the Spanish classical and flamenco guitar.
At 77 years old (at the time of this interview), Marcelino Lopez continues to build his own classical guitars while, in between his own models, also restores and repairs historical instruments such as violas, vihuelas and violins, of which he has an extensive personal collection, for his clients around the world in Japan, the US, Belgium, France and Spain. Lopez spends most of his time in his workshop, dedicating his nights to studying the guitar, which he plays everyday and upon nightly investigation, he recently learned that it’s possible that the classical guitar could have roots dating back to the 2nd century B.C in Roman times, which dismount the popular theory that the classical guitar has Arab origins. Marcelino’s hobbies include opera, the singing artform that he practices regularly for many years now and an artform which is the subject of many of Marcelino’s paintings.
Manuel Reyes Maldonado was born in Jayena, Granada, Spain, but he has long been associated with the beautiful neighboring city of Córdoba, where his famed workshop was established and is now run by Manuel Jr. Reyes was born on July 18, 1934 and just recently passed away on November 10, 2014. We would like to express our admiration for both his life as a lover of music and for his masterful craftsmanship that we were priveledged to experience over many years of playing and selling his passionately-inspired guitars. His instruments, to us, have always been the epitome of the true flamenco sound – one of boldness, snappy attack, great balance, percussive yet creamy qualities (when necessary) – overall, instruments of Spanish character. Manuel Reyes was a first-class luthier, and we feel very fortunate to have known him so well for the last few decades of his life.
We discovered Ariel Ameijenda on a recent trip that David and JohnPaul took to South America in 2014. The GSI duo found some great gems in the area, some which they brought back to the US, and while in Uruguay, they were most-notably enthralled by the works of Ameijenda and the reputation that preceeds him to this day. Find out more about guitar-maker Ariel Ameijenda and his life with the classical guitar.
Please welcome François Leonard as the new luthier working in collaboration with GSI. As part of a powerful French force of guitar-builders (Daniel Friederich, Dominique Field and Jean-Noël Rohé), we believe Leonard fits right in with the group, and he has learned a lot from his contemporaries, which allows him to produce instruments of great structural quality and beautiful sound. To learn more about how Leonard is building in-step with other French masters, read below.