Tag Archives: vintage and rare guitars

OPorto Sound Shock Event in June 2014

In June OPorto Sound Shock will once again be opening the doors for their music market in Portugal. Sound Shock is an event where musicians and music lovers can acquire, promote or trade musical matter & material. It happens inside an old market at Oporto’s historic city center. Music can be explored in different ways and one will always find something inspiring to take home.

The event will consist of:

  • Music flea market
  • Workshops and showcases
  • Jam sessions / DJ sessions
  • Live music.

To read more about Sound Shock check out www.soundshock.pt


GuitarPoint Interview with Detlef Alder from GuitarPoint

Detlef Alder talks about the challenges of being a vintage guitar dealer, the oddest vintage guitars he`s had in his shop, his favorite guitars and his advice for players looking to purchase a vintage guitar.

Hi Detlef, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you please tell as a little bit about GuitarPoint? Where are you located?
We are located in the little town called Maintal near Frankfurt. I opened GuitarPoint about 10 years ago, GuitarPoint has quickly become a good address for guitar players, enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world. From the beginning we specialized in Highend-, Customshop and Vintage Guitars, from this year on we strictly deal with Vintage Guitars only!

What initially motivated you to set up a vintage music shop, and when was that?
We´ve always been dealing with vintage guitars, even though the High End & Custom Shop gear was our main business. My plan was to concentrate on the Vintage Business only, the last years before my retirement. As I decided this year not to sign any contracts with major brands anymore, it was close and the decision was easy for me to reopen GuitarPoint as a “Vintage-Only” store. We´ve already had the gear and we already had the knowledge.

What do you consider the biggest challenge for dealers of vintage music instruments today?
It is very hard to keep your Shop inventory always on a high level with instruments of excellent and mint quality. It was much easier in the past to call the distributer and order another dozen of Custom Shop instruments when you´ve sold them.
It’s also a challenge to make customers feel comfortable to buy vintage instruments.  A lot of customers would like to buy a vintage instruments, but are afraid of fakes, as they don´t have the knowledge to proof the authentic.

Do you play music yourself? If so, what do you play, for how long have you been doing it?
I´ve been playing music all of my life, I started playing clarinet in a marching band at the age of 6. Later I learned keyboard and finally I got stuck playing the guitar.

How do you choose what vintage guitars to carry?
I personally choose the vintage instruments for my store. There is a certain demand from our customers, which I have to serve, mostly for the classic Vintage Instruments such as Strats, Teles, Les Paul etc. But I’m always interested to stock some not so famous, but rare instruments nobody else carries. Sometimes if a not so desired vintage instrument is extremely clean (mint) and comes with an interesting story and complete documentation makes me buy it.

What is the oddest vintage guitar you’ve ever sold?
A ´70s Blond Rickenbacker doubleneck ? Maybe a ´60s Hofner Violinbass-doubleneck? We´ve sold a lot of odd stuff already …

Do you have any personal favorite vintage guitars in your shop? If so, why is said guitar your favorite?
Actually I´m a Les Paul guy, but the guitar for the lonely island would definitely be a Telecaster. There is a ´59 mint 6120 I could go crazy for at the moment, and that gold ´52 ES-295 I just bought as well …

Given that this is for a blog, what role has technology (the internet, your website, etc.) played in the success of your business?
Especially nowadays it is very important to show your gear to an audience worldwide. Many people don´t mind driving far to check a nice variety of Instruments, but they need to know it´s worth it. The WWW helps bringing your showcase out to the world.

Is there a general trend to the people who purchase from you, in terms of how skilled or experienced they are?
No, not really. There is the collector, there is the skilled player, there is the “normal” family guy who just fulfills a dream he couldn´t afford when he started playing. There is also the investor as well, most of them play pretty damn good by the way!

What advice would you give to somebody looking to purchase a vintage guitar?
It’s important to buy from a well-known source. Checkout the people who are selling the guitars, if you´re not experienced in vintage guitars, definitely have some expert help you checking the instrument of desire for authentic. Our company sells all instruments with a COA and a checklist of all parts. Furthermore we include a DVD with up to 50 detailed pictures of the instrument.

Famous Vinyls Covers: Guestblog by Vinylstall.com

Vinyl records have been popular during most of the 20th century. These recordings are played using a record player called phonograph. Vinyl recordings are once a favorite in the entertainment media. Over the years, the music industry has innovated and produced modern technology from cassette tapes to CDs and digital music players. Old types of music recorded on vinyl are now being revived with the integration of musical instruments. Audiophiles are into vinyl record collection because they love this vintage music format. Even the new generation musicians and music lovers are becoming interested in this old time disc recording.

Vinyl record enthusiasts have never ceased using and collecting this form of music medium. In fact, some artists and small label companies release their music using vinyl. DJs also play and spin these records in the clubs and bars because of the good sound quality. Vinyl has survived the innovation of technology and has influenced the music industry over the years. During the middle to the late years of the 20th century, there are a lot of famous vinyl covers that have been produced and distributed in the market. How can we forget the famous cover of the Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers? Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the legendary Beatles has been considered the best cover of all times. For decades, label companies have also integrated famous instruments on their vinyl record covers.

During the vinyl record era, covers are very significant to express the theme of the artist’s songs. Some use their personal profiles and pictures or musical instruments like guitars, piano and saxophones.

Instruments featured in Vinyl Record Covers:

a. One of the most acclaimed albums during the 50’s is the Saxophone Colossus by Sonny Rollins. The award winning album was recorded and released in 1956 by Prestige Records and was considered the best albums issued by this recording company. The cover shows a man playing his saxophone in a blue background. It is a jazz album containing five tracks, three of which are Johnny Rollins’ compositions.

b. Another remarkable vinyl record cover is the album “Eric Clapton Slow hand” by Eric Clapton. This album includes lyrics of all songs and some art clips and photos. The front cover photo shows neck, turning keys and head of a guitar. A body of the guitar being strummed by a man is illustrated in the back cover. The album was produced in 1977 by Glyn Johns.

c. Jerry Lee Lewis also known as “The Killer” pioneered rock and roll music through a distinctive style in piano playing. His album “Who’s gonna play this old piano” released in 1972  contains eleven tracks including the hit songs “She’s Reachin For My Mind” and “Who’s gonna play this old piano”. The vinyl record cover shows an old grand piano with some lyric sheets on top of it.

Vinyl record covers were of great help to market and sell albums. The concept depends on the genre and the performer’s type of music. Most of the covers show profiles and pictures of the singer or bands. Covers for vinyl records also show musical instruments used by performers. Albums with famous musical instruments like guitars, pianos and saxophones are incorporated in the back or front cover of the musician’s album.

Vinyl is one of the greatest medium in the music industry. There is a need for us to protect and promote vinyl records to preserve the music of the past generation. You can find rare vinyl records for sale online, with the free vinyl search on http://www.vinylstall.com/

Deimel Guitarworks Interview with Frank Deimel from Deimel Guitarsworks

Frank Deimel opened his guitar/bass-workshop in 1998 in Berlin. Some of his clients are Sonic Youth, Tocotronic, Nikki Sudden etc. We had a little chat with him about his work as a luthier.


Hi Frank, thank you for taking your time to speak to us. Could you tell us a little bit about how and when did you start your company? Where are you located?
I started my guitar-building company in Berlin during my study at the UdK Berlin, while I took the Industrial Design courses. I developed several designs of my guitars during that time, and besides that I got to known Berlin as a divided place. In 1998 I officially started the business, which is based in former west, called “red island”, it`s a place somewhere between Potsdamer Platz and Tempelhof.
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Rumble Seat Music – Vintage Guitar Dealer Interview

Rumble Seat Music was founded in 1993 and since then has focused mainly on supplying demanding customers with only the finest quality vintage guitars and used instruments.

We here at Vintage&Rare.com were lucky enough to catch owner Eliot Michael from Rumble Seat Music for a quick word.

Hey Eliot. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Could you please tell us a little bit about Rumble Seat Music and where you are located? How long have you been in the business?
We are located in Ithaca, NY approximately 4 hours north of New York City. We have been in business over 20 years.

What initially led you to set up shop, and when did you get started in the guitar business?
The desire to sell the best Used and Vintage Guitars to players locally and internationally.

Do you deal more in higher end vintage guitars or more recent issue used guitars?
We deal in both high end Vintage and recent used guitars.

How about amplifiers and effects pedals?
We have a large collection but we do not sell them as our main focus.

What are some of your personal favorite guitars and amps and why?
We love 1958-60 Les Pauls for their beauty, craftsmanship, and unsurpassed tone. Pre-CBS Fender’s, early Gretsch‘s and Rickenbacker’s are also some of our favorites. We also love the sound of early 70′s Marshall amps.

What kind of instruments and gear are you carrying in your shop?
We carry only the highest quality Used and Vintage instruments.

Are you a guitarplayer yourself?
Yes…..all of us in the store play guitar.

Are there a general trend to the people who purchase from you?
We sell to all types of players……..from beginning guitarists, collectors, and professional players. We have dealt with many top touring and recording artists.

How has the Internet impacted vintage guitar collecting?
The internet has opened many doors to buy, sell, and trade vintage guitars worldwide.

What advice would you give to somebody who would like to collect vintage guitars?
Only purchase guitars from dealers who have a solid reputation and sell quality instruments that they stand behind. Most importantly buy guitars that you like!

Great. Thank you again for speaking to us.

Check out Rumble Seat Music here, on their own site, on Facebook, and on Youtube.

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.

Interview with Dale Rabiner, principal and founder of DHR Music Experience

Hi V&R Friends
Thanks for tuning in on our blog here on VintageandRare and our interview with Dale Rabiner, the founder of DHR Music Experience. DHR Music is an unique company based in Cincinnati, USA, that specializes in retail and promotion of finest instruments from select American boutique custom shops, along with music related sculptures and photographs.

Dale Rabiner, principal and founder of DHR Music Experience. Photo by dhrmusic.com

1. Hello Dale, and thanks for talking to us!  Can you tell us about how you entered the business?
Like many guitar players of the ‘60s, I used to buy and sell guitars via local classified ads, music stores and pawn shops.While in college, I worked part-time for a local guitar dealer,player, and legend by the name of Glenn Hughes- what a character ! Glenn taught me the business from the inside out- he was generous to a fault and a true gentleman. Incidentally, when Glenn passed away, his heirs discovered a hidden cache of unopened boxes containing NOS Fender and Gibson guitars!

2. Can you tell us about what kind of guitars & brands you focus on having in your inventory?
We focus exclusively on what we consider to be the some of the finest makers including Collings Guitars, Benedetto Guitars, Grosh Guitars,and a few select other makers. In Amplifiers we carry Carr Amps, Genz Benz, Hendriksen Amps, 

Kendick amps, and several others. Keyboard brands we carry include Hammond/Suzuki organs, Kurzweil pianos and Moog synths.

3. Do you sell/ship a lot abroad?
Increasingly, international sales have become a large segment of our business. This is primarily due to the fact that while we are not the largest Left Hand dealer, we are considered to be the finest Left Hand dealer worldwide.In addition, many of our non-US clients tell us that we are easier to deal with than their local stores.

4. What makes the Benedetto-guitars so special to you?
Since Benedetto Guitars first began their Savannah Georgia shop, we have sold more Benedetto guitars than all other dealers combined.! No other jazz guitar maker has been able to offer their price/quality.More recently, we are finding a number of other makers that are strong competitors.

Benedetto Americana is just one of the few specialized brands, DHR Music is offering. Photo by dhrmusic.com

5. Your use of ‘music endorsers’ is a bit unusual. What were your thoughts concerning this way of advertising?
Our endorsers have been terrific spokespersons for DHR, especially our young lefthand players who serve as role models for other lefthand youngsters who are trying to cope with being forced to switch to righthand playing. In addition, we also have some terrific right hand players who are real comers in our opinion.

6. What are you looking for, when ‘recruiting’ music endorsers?
Energetic,talented, diverse players who share our passion for music ! We would love to find a talented female guitarist as well as a few select keyboardists.

7. How does this way of promoting your business help you as a dealer?
The use of endorsers is nothing new- it has  proven its marketing effectiveness for decades ! We simply have put a bit of a twist on the concept-most endorsers represent a specific brand, while DHR endorsers represent the brands we carry as a retailer.

Fender Stratocaster 1963 Jimi Hendrix owned

This Fender Stratocaster serial L14985 was manufactured in 1963. It  was owned  and used by Jimi Hendrix, and comes with a notarized letter from his brother, Leon Hendrix, which indicates, that Jimi had this guitar at his home in Benedict Canyon, L.A, in 1968, and that he used it in Juggy Sound studios in New York.

Check this incredible guitar out here

The package also includes an additional letter from Leon with more info: that the guitar was subsequently given to the studio owner and was used as an in-house instrument until the owner’s passing. Furthermore it also comes with photos of Leon holding and playing this guitar. This is a real “insider” guitar with an unique provenance, signed and notarized, from Jimi’s own brother, Leon Hendrix.

It’s the real deal!

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.

Fender 1949-1951 Prototype Broadcaster/Nocaster/Telecaster

Hi V&R Friends

Thanks for stopping by…

In nov. 2010 I took a roundtrip to guitarstores in New York City.

I landed in JFK and went directly to Chelsea Hotel.

One of the guitar stores I visited is Chelsea Guitars – located something like 2 meters from the hotel. And I didn´t know it was so close

Me and Dan had some very good conversations about collecting guitars and life around them, the international  guitar market in generel.

During one of these conversations – Dan, the owner, showed me a very rare and unique vintage guitar.

Fender 1949-1951 Telecaster Broadcaster Nocaster Vintage Gu - Prototype

It is a prototype Telecaster made somewhere in between 1948-1951, before we knew them as Telecasters (later name). And as I am sure you know the first models were called Broadcasters and Nocasters and then changed name to the Telecaster and Esquire (depending on pickup configuration)

When Dan opened the case all I could see was a red telecaster model in a newer case. I really didn´t think much of it in those few seconds until Dan started to reveil this amazing story.

I had no idea that this very guitar was one very first prototypes and furthermore that they were made in custom colours, as Dan explains. So I was very surpriced to know that I was looking at a very important piece of guitar history.

I hope you will enjoy the YouTube-vid and pics. Feel free to help us share it.

All the best and happy holidays.

Nicolai & V&R Team