The European Guitar Builders Association (EGB) was founded with the goal of organizing the independent luthiers as well as people related to the field of guitar building all across Europe.
The tradition of lutherie is a rich legacy. Methods tempered, and knowledge accumulated over centuries. We want to preserve this, but also carry it forward, expand it through innovation and the exchange of ideas and culture. We want to foster a sense of community among practitioners of our craft. Most builders are faced with similar problems and challenges. There is enormous potential in joining and helping each other, sharing experiences, cooperating and advancing the craft in a spirit of amity.
Europe has a long and varied tradition in the field of guitar building. Some countries have their own luthiers’ organizations, and several countries have great events and communities, but to date there is little international cooperation. Our aim is to promote cross border contacts and to foster the building of a community, reflecting the increasing cohesion Europe is undergoing. As the regulatory impact of the EU is growing, we find that having a European clearinghouse for information, as well as an advocate for our interests and concerns, is becoming more and more important.
We stand for responsible conduct in regards to the environment and the social fabric of our communities, and for a sustainable way of creating instruments of enduring value. In our increasingly global economy the pressure to satisfy the consumer with ever cheaper merchandise and to continue feeding the disposable lifestyle is enormous. This runs counter to what we stand for, and ultimately it is not sustainable. The depletion of resources, exploitation of cheap labor, disregard for the environment, the fomenting of a throw-away mentality, all are aspects of this issue. As luthiers we are facing some of the consequences on a daily basis - the decreased availability and quality of woods, the difficulty of making a living in competition with international corporations producing in low wage countries. These are issues which concern us greatly. We want to contribute to a life of entirety, instead of participating in the ruthless exploitation of resources and people for the sake of profit margins.
The way an instrument is made is central to how we view the builder - for us the intention and philosophy embodied in the builder’s approach is what counts. We are driven by passion and love for our craft - it is the vehicle allowing us to pursue our art, to create instruments, which, in the hands of musicians will in turn become vehicles for their art. The personal interaction with the musician and customer is a big part of this. In partnership with the musician we strive to refine and expand the musical heritage we build on.
Some of the principles in classical lutherie are the concepts of repairability and reversibility, of longevity and quality, of individual attention to the instrument and the musician’s needs. Due to the fact that producing in such a way in Europe is expensive, our instruments also tend to be seen as expensive, compared to cheap imported products. We are competing in a marketplace dominated by a business model very different from ours. Our instruments however are viewed and evaluated by the media and the public as though they were produced that way. This is not a fair comparison, even though in general it is acknowledged that a handmade instrument is superior in quality and value. Our intention is to educate the public about what differentiates a handcrafted instrument from a factory product, and why the expense of buying such an instrument is justified. We want to raise public awareness about the impact their purchase has on issues regarding the environment, endangered woods, fair wages and the fabric of our society.
The EGB is a luthier organization. We want to gather members among the luthiers from all across Europe. We are looking for the individual builder who works in the traditional format - handwork, individual attention to the instrument and the client/musician, with a focus on quality and value. One of the criteria we are looking at in our membership acceptance process is the issue of outsourcing. Most large and many smaller brands have instruments built or pre-built in low-cost factories around the globe. The instruments built (meaning the actual making of the instrument) by our members should originate within Europe. There is certainly a large grey area between the individual builder working by hand alone in his shop and the small factory putting out high-quality instruments with a few employees and machinery. Both approaches may fall within our criteria for membership. But at a certain point the focus may shift from attention to building the individual instrument to optimizing the fabrication process and maximizing output. At this point we believe the criteria for full membership are not met anymore.
The EGB also wants to welcome sister organizations, lutherie schools, and people working in all guitar-related fields, such as designers, suppliers of parts, woods, writers, musicians. One of our goals is to help expand the infrastructure available to guitar builders in Europe by networking, identifying needs and helping to create a clearinghouse for ideas and resources.
Ours is a grass roots effort. We expect from everybody who wants to join our association a willingness to pitch in, to participate in working for the community.
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The European Guitar Builders association welcomes you to join our growing community!
The European Guitar Builders was founded with the goal of organizing the independent luthiers as well as people related to the field of guitar building all across Europe.
We offer various benefits for members - free literature, access to our forum, knowledge base and much more!