Luthiers and/or instruments that should not be forgotten....
There is something special about the guitar. No other instrument has taken so many forms or generated so many manifestations. Over the years much of this wild tapestry of inventions has been overshadowed by the dominance of a few models and types in the pantheon of the public mind. A single moment in the approximate middle of the last century has become the point of reference of guitar-historical orthodoxy, with Leo and Ted as both its prophets and saints. But lurking beneath this veneer of a few, mostly American-made models which have come to signify the final embodiment of the guitar, there is a parallel universe full of color, full of wonderful diversity. A world well worth exploring and discovering.
While The Holy Grail Guitar Show is all about presenting the newest developments and achievements in the field of lutherie, we should not forget about the guitar makers who have come before us. We build on their shoulders, taking advantage of the breakthroughs and discoveries they have made, and we want to honor them and remind ourselves that much of what we accomplish today would not have been possible were it not for what they have bequeathed on us.
The EGB Historical Project shines a light on guitar makers of the past who have contributed to the development of the guitar, who have excelled at their craft and who should be remembered. As an EGB project, the focus also lies on reclaiming the history of the guitar in Europe.
Each year, the EGB Historical Project Table at The Holy Grail Guitar Show will display examples of one such guitar builders’ work.
Johann Georg Stauffer (1778-1853)
Around the beginning of the 19th century Vienna was a major center for both guitar composition, performance and for the craft of lutherie. A veritable guitar-craze fueled a lively scene of guitar makers, with Stauffer emerging as one of the most inventive and skilled, certainly as the one with the greatest historical impact on the development of the modern flat-top guitar - his legacy was carried on and amplified by his apprentice C.F. Martin. Many of Stauffer's beautiful and original designs still carry a high level of relevance today and can be found on many modern instruments. We are very pound to be able to show a selection of original Stauffer instruments at this year's EGB Historical Project Table.
Dr. Stefan Hackl , guitarist, teacher and researcher, is the co-author of the book Stauffer &Co, a massive tome about the Vienna guitar maker's scene of the time. He presented his book along with Stauffer guitars he has generously agreed to share with us, and also gave a lecture about the redoubtable guitar maker.
Antonio Wandrè Pioli (1926-2004)
There have been a lot of colorful characters among guitar makers, foremost among them Wandrè. Guitar maker, artist, architect and visionary, he built his experimental round factory in Cavriago, Italy, based of his ideas about workflow and social interactions between workers. He developed a unique aesthetic approach to guitar making, subsequently translating it into singular manufacturing processes and designs. His whole life is a “Gesamtkunstwerk”, the boundaries between his art, work and life remain blurred and indistinct. Wandrè is a true original – he owes almost nothing to his predecessors. His instruments are the unique expressions of a fertile imagination striking out into virgin territory. It is surprising that his instruments, which today would never even make it into the market due to their idiosyncratic construction and appearance, had such a successful run and were widely accepted. Marco Ballestri, author of the wonderful book “Wandrè, Artist of the Electric Guitar”, has kindly provided us with some of Wandrè’s fabulous instruments for the historical table display. Marco’s passion for all things Wandrè and his knowledge and research have contributed greatly to a resurgence of interest in, and appreciation of Wandrè’s genius – Marco presented a lecture about Wandrè, and his book was available at the EGB Book Club Table.