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19 Jan 2013

Erez Perelman

Luthier Spotlight

After a long run of great flamenco blancas from Erez Perelman we’ve just received a new classical cedar-top from Erez. This also happens to be the 20th anniversary of the year Perelman started playing the classical guitar, and that fact inspired this instrument. Erez is not your typical builder – at least his background is quite different than that of many builders, so we asked him to write a little about himself and what has inspired his career as a luthier. What follows is what he sent us in response:

At heart I am an artist. As a kid, I would spend a lot of my spare time hanging out at my grandparents’ place. My grandfather, though he was a chemist by trade, had a passion for sculpting; especially with wood. I remember that he would find wood pieces in the forest and bring them back to his tiny workshop, where he’d lovingly sculpt them into inspiring artworks.

I think I was around ten years old when I picked up a log segment lying in my grandfather’s woodpile. As I examined it, I suddenly saw the hidden owl within the piece. I locked myself in his workshop for the rest of the day and carved out the owl that you can see in the picture below.

I couldn’t have imagined back then that, years later, this experience would lead me to discover my true passion: the art of building guitars.

In my mind I am an engineer. I have studied math, physics and computer science for years and attained a PhD from UC San Diego. Those skills have all become useful in guitar making. I have stripped away all unnecessary components from the design and have distilled the instrument to the pure essential elements. This resulted in lighter, more responsive guitars. An instrument’s geometry requires subtle engineering and precision to achieve a very comfortable action. The design of my headstock is a basic geometric inversion of the familiar Torres design. My background in Math has had a significant influence on the visual aesthetics of my guitars.

The stars you see in the rosette and tie block have a simple mathematical elegance. I had spent many hours researching ornamentation design in art and history books, and found it in the artwork of such ancient civilizations as the Inca, Maya and of tribes across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. I instantly connected with this design when I first saw it and have made it a centerpiece in this instrument.

The instrument has many mathematical harmonies throughout, and though we may be unaware of these, we find them naturally beautiful.

I made this classical instrument to commemorate my beginning as a classical guitarist over 20 years ago.

It has been a long journey, but over its span I have had the good fortune to study with some great teachers, including Celin Romero, Christopher Parkening, Paul Galbraith and numerous others. It was at the Romero home in Del Mar that I was first exposed to some of the greatest instruments ever made; classics such as the Hauser I and II, Rodriguez, and many more, which I was encouraged to pick up and play. Later on I had the opportunity to see the great collection circulating in GSI, and obtain a first-hand experience with Torres, Hernandez, Esteso, and numerous other greats from the founding makers of the classical guitar.

The guitar you see here is inspired by those instruments. Whilst the design is my own, I have absorbed and instilled the influence I have had from all of those great guitars into my own works. That is how I approach the guitars I create today; pursuing the traditional spirit of the Spanish guitar from over a century ago. I know guitar making is a lifelong journey, and for me that is a comfort.

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