Inspirations

The biggest inspiration for my guitars comes from Ken Parker. I have incorporated many of his design ideas into my guitars and I am grateful for Ken’s generosity and him agreeing for me to do so.

I never wanted to build a traditional guitar for the sake of tradition. Everything evolves. Would you like to ski on skies designed in the 50s? High-tech wooden tennis rocket anybody? There is a lot to draw from tradition in guitar building. Lloyd’s Loar L5 was such a revolutionary product. But the crisis in the 30s and electrified guitars killed archtop’s development too early. Traditional guitar design can and should be improved. Copying L5 with some esthetic changes was not an interesting subject to me. When I started to design my guitar and was looking for solutions, Ken Parker started to be my hero.

My guitars are a tribute to Ken Parker, my Master. Like Jimmy D’Aquisto, Ken has focused on the further development of the Archtop Guitar. Whenever Ken identified an inherent problem with traditional archtop design, he was not hesitant to break the tradition, “the rules”, search and find a new, improved, and sometimes revolutionary solution.  I am not copying Ken’s guitars thou. I make very different design decisions in a few crucial areas, boldly believing in them.

There are others, who inspire my work: Joseph Curtin, an American superb violin maker and innovator, Jim Woodhouse, a British violin maker and professor of physics author of an excellent online book on the acoustics of musical instruments https://euphonics.org/, Davide Sora, violin maker from Cremona, Italy, author of beautiful videos on violin making on YouTube, Helen Michetschläger, from whom learned the old way of bending plates for violas, Kim Walker, from whom I took courage to build the main beam into the box of my guitars, and many others.

Some of my inspirations are from old instruments.

For example, I have designed the tailpiece holder taking inspiration from viola da gamba (shown on picture). It is the same in principle, but new materials made it possible to make it smaller, stiffer, and lighter. Additionally, I added an option to change string angle after the bridge, which changes top loading and the way the guitar sounds.

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Hundreds of designing decisions, ideas to improve problematic structures, and esthetic decisions are embedded into each carefully designed and hand-made instrument. One may say metaphorically that the instrument designer and builder has embedded his/her DNA into the final product. Indeed this is true. One can forget, though, that this DNA is partially inherited from all the great builders that came before. It is easy to find Parker’s designs in my guitars, but I also took from Lloyd Loar L5 and Kim Walker’s Solo Novo, from Jimmy d’Aquisto, and others. The evolution of a good instrument is based on all previous successful generations of instruments. When innovating we all want to find a new, improved, and successful path and want to avoid evolutionary mistakes which could lead to perished solutions.  The DNA of the past is so important. 

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Through building a new instrument by hand, which is a long, exhausting hard work, there is another DNA in play. There is a lot of sweat to build a handmade instrument and it is not rare that a drop (or two) of sweat or blood is really shed and embedded, together with DNA, into the instrument for good. There is a builder DNA metaphorically and quite literally embedded into the instrument.