Tag Archives: handmade

Boutique Guitar Showcase Copenhagen 2017 Gallery

On the 15th of oct. 2017 Vintage & Rare hosted the Boutique Showcase in Copenhagen. The event was held in Vibe Factory Recording Studios with unique and fine handmade instruments on display from Di Donato Guitars, Donovan Leah Guitars, Ergon Guitars, James Trussart Guitars, Kauer Guitars, Klein Community, Marleaux BassGuitars, McSwain Guitars, MOVGuitars, Sankey Guitars, Spalt Instruments, Tausch Electric Guitars, Teye Guitars, Wild Customs, Deimel Guitarworks, Diego Vila Guitarras y, Bajos Custom, Turnstone Guitar Company, AC Guitars, Leo Guitars.

Hope to see you again next year when we roll out a new guitarshow in Copenhagen with unique and handmade guitars.

Below is a gallery of pictures from the show.

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Vintage Vibe, Master Built Magic, and Cheap Cool

Vintage Vibe, Master Built Magic, and Cheap Cool

By Sophie Dockx

Three to go

At one time I had three Strats in my workshop: a 1963 sunburst worth 9.000 Euros, A 2001 white Custom Shop, master-built by John English, worth 5600 Euros, a 2004 Mexican ‘Buddy Guy’ signature strat, worth 600 Euros.

They all needed a fret leveling job, and they all needed new strings and a proper set-up.

All three are built to exactly the same design, and they all had alder bodies, and Maple necks. They were all fitted with three single coil pickups each, and sported a vintage-style Fender Synchronized tremolo bridge The Buddy Guy had a maple fretboard, the two others had rosewood fretboards.

Which one did I like the most? Not an easy question to answer, since I am four ‘I’s.

I like listening to guitar playing, I like playing guitar myself, I like teaching guitar, and I like working on guitars. To each guitar, I am audience, user, instructor, and caregiver.

Each guitar that comes in, gets plugged into the dry channel of my Roland Jazz Chorus.

It is not the most musical of amps, but it is plain honest. Tube amps are instruments in their own right, that is why I find it difficult to distinguish between the sound of the guitar, and that of the amp. It is like tasting a Frankfurter, wrapped in a bun, embedded in tasty Sauerkraut and with French mustard on top. You can say you had a great hotdog, but you can’t really say much about the Frankfurter inside it, that way, right?

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Video blog: Stevens Custom Guitars

In April 2012 Nicolai from Vintage & Rare had a great opportunity to meet Werner Kozlik at the Frankfurt Show 2012. Werner is owner of Stevens Custom Guitars and Munich Repair Shop. At the show they were presenting the whole range of instruments they do in Stevens Custom Guitars Company.

They are mostly focused on development and production of musical instruments, such as Steal String Guitars, Jazz Guitars, Irish Bouzoukis, Acoustic Bass Guitars and custom orders.

Here are some cool pictures and videos of that day. Enjoy!

Stevens Custom Guitars / 1 of 2 / Vintage & Rare / Frankfurt Show 2012

Stevens Custom Guitars / 2 of 2 / Vintage & Rare / Frankfurt Show 2012

Would you like to add something about Stevens Custom Guitars? Please leave a comment…

Interview with Baker Rorick from the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase

In Oct 2010 we had the pleasure of attending the Luthiers Invitational Showcase located in beautiful Woodstock, NY.

Here we met with alot of the greatest luthiers from US and had a splendid time. Here is an interview with show founder, Baker Rorick on the upcoming 2011 show.

Hi Baker, thank you for taking your time to speak to Vintage&Rare on the forthcoming Woodstock Invitational show in Oct 2011.

Could you give us a brief history of Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase, and how the show originated?
As a steel-string journalist, I was working on an article about Ken Parker Archtops in 2008. At the time, Ken’s shop was only an hour away from Woodstock, and he asked me to help him arrange a showing of his radical new guitars to the Woodstock musicians and builders community. Some other instrument makers asked to be included, and then we invited a few more, and assembled a small group, 8 or 9 luthiers. Cooperative effort, everybody pitched in a $100 each and we rented The Colony Café for a Saturday afternoon in October for a private party, show & tell, meet the makers, play some guitars, hear some music, fresh apple cider and pumpkin pie. The party was by invitation only, thus the Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase. We expected 40 or 50 people to come, over 100 showed up. Our local paper The Woodstock Times published a 2-page color article about it afterwards, and people started asking me if would be an annual thing, maybe with concerts and clinics and workshops and open to the public? With thirty years of experience in the guitar business, some connections and good will, and no real idea of what I was getting myself into, I decided to give it a try.

At January 2009 Winter NAMM Show in Anaheim I floated the idea around and met with potential sponsors. Michael Gurian introduced me to Tom Ribbecke, a founder of the original Healdsburg Guitar Festival, who said, “count me in!” Dick Boak of Martin Guitars encouraged me to join ASIA, the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans, publishers of Guitarmaker Magazine. In June 2009 I attended ASIA Symposium, four days of builders workshops and colloquia in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Ken Parker introduced me to Julius Borges, founder of the Newport Guitar Festival, and Linda Manzer and many other great builders I knew only by reputation, who were all supportive. I introduced myself to John Monteleone and asked if he would consider showing at a small event in Woodstock, maybe 20 exhibitors? He said “yes”! My thought was to try for something different, small, select, a party and celebration of the luthiers art and the music inspired by the instruments.

A few weeks later I attended a concert by Laurence Juber in Woodstock, and was telling a friend (a fine jazz guitarist with a fine collection of fine guitars by notable makers) about my plans and who was getting involved, and the woman he was sitting with said, “You’re doing what, with who? This is my life! How can I help?” And so I met Sharon Klein, a singer/songwriter, classical and fingerstyle guitarist who also plays lute and oud, with her own collection of handmade acoustic instruments by notable makers, and she became my Production Partner and Music Coordinator. Sharon has toured extensively in the Middle East, and she attracted the interest of Faruk Turunz, the master oud maker, and Suleyman Aslan, a maker of baglamas and flamenco guitars, who came from Istanbul, Turkey to show their instruments in America for the first time. With their participation we were able to get Ara Dinkjian and Haig Manoukian and other great American Middle Eastern musicians to play concerts, promoting musical diversity and setting the Woodstock Invitational apart from the other handmade acoustic shows that usually only feature fingerstyle guitarists and a little jazz. Sharon Klein’s wide-ranging network also brought in classical and flamenco builders and performers – including her old friend Vicki Genfan, and she also insisted that we present instructional clinics and workshops, and she made it all work. The Bearsville Theater seemed the perfect small venue, with room for a couple dozen exhibitors in the theater, and performance space in the adjoining Lounge, and we set the date again for the third weekend in October, 2009, resplendent in the full autumn color of the Catskill Mountains. Jeff Doctorow brought close to a dozen significant instruments from his large collection for a Special Exhibit, including vintage harp guitars and the multiple-neck 42-string Pikasso that Linda Manzer had built for the late Scott Chinery.

People came! They bought guitars! Faruk Turunz sold every oud he had brought. The music was fantastic, luthier mini-concerts and special appearances, high-points being Vicki Genfan, Ara Dinkjian Trio with Tamer Pirnarbasi on Turkish kanun, hard be-bop jazz guitar by Eddie Diehl and Ilya Lushtak, and Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams closing the Showcase Sunday evening with Happy Traum and John Sebastian sitting in, magic, and only in Woodstock. All the luthiers said “How are you going to make it bigger? Please don’t move it; we love the venue.”

So for 2010 we added a second venue next door in Todd Rundgren’s old Utopia Soundstage for vendors, sponsors and some overflow luthiers, and another Special Exhibit. Tonewood dealers and tool and parts suppliers did particularly well. We presented a “String Sampler” concert featuring Vicki Genfan, Ara Dinkjian Trio with Tamer Pinarbasi, Bill Keith & Mark Patton, and Vic Juris. We were able to get Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo to play for an hour Sunday afternoon, and they brought Julian Lage along with them and tore the roof off the place! Woodstock resident Steve Earle showed up and bought a radical new nylon-string flamenco guitar from Michihiro Matsuda. And once again, Larry & Teresa closed the show, this time with Happy Traum and Doug Wamble sitting in.

VintageandRare CEO Nicolai with master luthier John Monteleone at the 2010 show

What would you consider to be the shows focus and direction?
The Show’s focus is HANDMADE, ACOUSTIC guitars and stringed instruments, by only the best contemporary builders. No factory guitars, no solidbody electric guitars. The other main focus is the builders and players community, the music made that inspires the builders and the musicians who get to play their instruments. It’s about the hang and the vibe. We also try to provide musical and instrumental diversity; not just steel-string fingerstyle folk blues Celtic and DADGAD, but Jazz, Middle Eastern, African, Latin, and anything wonderful we can find that no-one’s ever heard before.

What do you envision for the future growth of the W.I.L.S?
I’m growing it slowly, learning by doing, taking advantage of opportunities presented more than planning ahead. It’s incredibly fluid. I’m gratified by the success so far; the venues and location and time of year and proximity are all factors, especially the intimacy of the thing. I don’t want to move it to a convention center or something to make it larger and destroy the vibe.

How many builders do you anticipate exhibiting at this years show? Please tell us a bit about the range of guitars that will be on showcase at the show?
We’ve got about 35 luthiers and 15 vendors and sponsors exhibiting this year; luthiers only in the Bearsville Theater, more luthiers and vendors and sponsors in the Utopia Soundstage, including The C.F. Martin Custom Shop this year, very exciting.

Archtops, Classical and Flamenco and steel-string flattops, hybrids, cross-over guitars, 12-string baritones, high-tuned unison 12-string mando/guitars, ukuleles, mandolins, claw-hammer banjos, African koras, mbiras, ndungus, and cookie-tin diddley bows. I’m hoping that Michi Matsuda will bring his radical, experimental Cubist-deconstruction ukulele. Oh, yeah, and harp guitars, Michel Pellerin from Quebec, and Linda Manzer, whose 42-string Pikasso made for Scott Chinery will be there.

Any special attractions you have planned for this years show?
This year we’re hosting Kinobe & The African Sensation. Kinobe is a young Ugandan kora player and maker, and an international touring artist. David MacCubbin, a fine steel-string flattop guitar maker from Maryland, has been co-building some contemporary koras with Kinobe while Kinobe and two of his brothers are in the USA . We hooked up. Kinobe will be playing as part of our String Sampler kick-off concert, with Frank Vignola & Vinny Raniolo Guitar Duet and The American Guitar masters – Larry Pattis & Peter Janson. Plus, he and his brothers will be showing and playing some of their instruments (the brothers make and play n’dungus, mbiras and other traditional African stringed things) at the Showcase itself.

And there is always a “Special Exhibit of Significant Historic, Vintage and Contemporary Guitars and Stringed Instruments”, loaned by collector and authority Jeff Doctorow and other collectors and institutions: North American guitars from the early 1800s to the present, including harp-guitars, Sympitars, cello-guitars, oddities and innovations, plus antique and vintage lutes, ouds and stringed-exotica.

What has the public attendance been for past shows? What do you anticipate for attendance at this years show?
Miraculously, we had close to 1500 paid attendees last year. I expect the same or maybe more again in 2011.

Three Tom Ribbecky guitars on display

Thank you Baker for taking the time to talk to us. Hope all goes well with this years show.

Ruokangas Guitars – interview

Next one up in our series of interviews with luthiers is Juha Ruokangas, who for the last 16 years has been an increasingly inspiring player on the guitar building-scene. Vintageandrare.com had a chat with Juha about the qualities of their unique wood and Ruokangas way of advertising for themselves.

Juha Ruokangas – Photo by Ruokangas.com

1. Hello Juha, and thanks for wanting to talk to us!  What made you enter the business?
As a teen I was supposed to become a rockstar – what else! My musician career didn’t pick up the way I hoped so I was kind of drifting around for a couple of years. This was in the beginning of 1990′s – no internet or even cellphones yet invented. I had been repairing guitars a bit since I was a young guy but it just never occurred to me that this could be a profession – until I accidentally heard about this small school in Finland where you can learn to be a luthier / guitarmaker. I applied and got in – and I knew immediately that I had found my true calling. This is my labor of love, truly. And now more than ever I feel I’m on the right path, as the company has grown to a very comfortable size, we’re 5 persons all together and everyone of us enjoys what we’re doing.

2. How did you come up with the idea for your very clever online guitar builder?
I started making guitars for a living in 1995, and I noticed very soon that one of the biggest problems was how to communicate with the customer about all possible options we can offer – and once the option lists were presented, in many cases the result was that the customer was literally paralyzed – so many options, how can the customer be sure to pick the right combination when there’s no chance to even see how it will look like. So I did like everybody else, kept building guitars, and my early website photo galleries grew slowly bigger. And of course I noticed that players are ordering guitars many times on basis what they saw in the galleries – and this was bugging me, cause I knew they would order a wider variety of colors and other specs – if they just knew that they could! So I started a huge website project in 2002 with a great graphics designer and he built me the Mark I of the guitar builder. It was nowhere near as complex a system as what we have now, but it did give us a head start. Now we have the Mark II guitar builder online and it works beautifully. We even published a little iPhone app guitar builder sort of as a teaser of the fully blooded system on our website.

3. How was the first guitar you ever made?
I was told by my teachers that a good start in learning this profession is to learn building what’s already out there. That way you learn the basics, the existing techniques, constructions etc. So I started with a strat replica. I’ve built quite a few of various kinds of replicas in the early days of my career. Stratocasters, Telecasters, Les Pauls etc.

4. Which instrument has made you most proud?

There are so many. Every one of them still feels quite special to me, but of course every now and then there’s something that’s pops out. I’m very proud of the first Unicorn guitar I built. Not only the guitar, but the whole documentation of the design process in the YouTube videos we made. It enabled me to show in detail why my guitars are special. I hadn’t realized the power of videos before that really. Nowadays we do a lot of videos, it’s a great way to be transparent to the clientele.

Ruokangas HQ – Photo from Ruokangas.com

5. What has been your biggest challenge?
I would say that the whole process of starting the business and striving to be the best I ever can – now there’s a big challenge! I’m such a hopeless, romantic idealist that sometimes it drives everybody at the shop crazy. I love to finetune endlessly the whole concept of what ‘Ruokangas Guitars’ is about – and sometimes this happens at the expense of forgetting that we need to sell guitars all the time to survive financially!

6. What made you pick the Arctic Birch for some of your guitars? What is it’s features?
This was a coincidence. I got a piece of beautifully flamed birch from a friend and it was laying around at the shop for quite a while. Then I ended up using the piece on one of the Duke guitars 1999. I completely fell in love with the tone and the unique looks – flamed but not in the same way as maple. Since then I’ve come a long way. The birch we use is quite difficult to find since it’s not such an organized business as revolves around maple in the North America. I can’t call any wood broker for AAA flamed birch tops. I need to go to the sawmills, pick the trees standing up and so on – all totally from scratch. The use of Finnish Arctic Birch has become our most distinct trademark on the market, and I’m really proud of it. Structurally, Finnish Arctic birch is very close to maple. The weight and color are similar to maple as well. The flamed figuration is usually “wilder” than maple. I prefer the birch tone over maple, especially when used in a combination with our other trademark wood, the Spanish Cedar.

The raucous Ruokangas rockers – Photo by www.ruokangas.com

7. Do you feel it as an advantage having so vast amounts of beautiful timber close at hand, being Finnish?
I feel really proud of being able to offer some domestic wood species in my guitars. In some ways it’s an advantage, but also a challenge, knowing how conservative the business is. It’s not so easy to break through with a non-traditional material in this business. I’ve worked on it for nearly 16 years now and only during the last few years I feel the work has started to pay off, as the guitar enthusiasts have seen me around long enough doing what I do.

8. What is your favourite stage of manufacturing a guitar?
The devil is in the details. I love working on the intricate details and to make everything perfect. I don’t mean necessarily an inlay work or anything as striking as that. It could be just the fretboard edge, fret end, nut bone – or whatever detail. Building guitars can be a very “therapeutic” profession – you start building a guitar, and one day not in the too distant future you get it ready – it’s a very rewarding process mentally.

Juha and his work – Photo by www.ruokangas.com

9. What are your ambitions on behalf of Ruokangas?
It’s interesting that even though Emma (my wife) and I work together in the company, we also share our hobbies – so we’re basically never apart! 🙂 We’re both music enthusiasts – we have a rock band called Tadalang – I play the guitar and Emma sings. My brother plays the bass and we have also another guitarist and of course drums. We’re gigging locally and having fun. I love motorbikes too. Rest of the time is more or less family stuff, nice and cosy.