Annette Stephany became fascinated with luthery at the age of 14 when she met a violin maker, and her father who was very handy introduced her to working with wood. At the age of 21, after high school and some travel, she enrolled in the Luthier School in Mittenwald (Kathrin Hauser happens to have been there at the same time) and completed her course three years later. While at school she worked for the harp maker Eric Kleinmann, from Rangendingen near Stuttgart, and as soon as she finished school she went to apprentice with Italian luthier Lorenzo Frignani in Modena, Italy. She had met Frignani at the Frankfurt Music Fair while at school and had immediately fallen in love with his instruments. She worked out of Frignani’s shop until 2013 (with a one-year interruption, during which she did a restoration course in Bernhard Kresse’s workshop at Cologne). This Spring she moved to Cologne where she now shares a shop with Kresse.
The guitar she has built for us is her 31st instrument, completed on her 31st birthday. This date also marked her 10-year anniversary as a guitar maker, so we feel very fortunate to have this special instrument on offer here. It's a lightly modified Manuel Ramirez model (the original, from 1910 is owned by Lorenzo Frignani), the bracing is a 7+2 symmetrical system copied from the original guitar. Whereas the original is rosewood, Annette's has beautiful flamed maple for the back and sides. Her familiarity with the original instrument has proven advantageous since she has done a great job of capturing the spirit of the Manuel Ramirez - a very natural, earthy quality of sound. But she also brings to the guitar great clarity/separation of voices and a surprising amount of volume. This is a very versatile instrument which would be suitable for any style of music, for solo playing, or in ensemble. GSI is very pleased to be working with this fine maker in the US, and is proud to offer this instrument as our first.