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  #1  
Old 01-11-2017, 11:00 PM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Default What are the sourcs of guitar building lnfluence for acoustics?

Here is a question that intrigued me. The way I see it there are a few centers or locii of guitar building influence that have generated significant and unique strains of luthierie and thhat have resulted in different sounding and looking acoustic guitars.

The first and the greatest locus has to be the head waters for steel strings - the Martin factory in Nazareth. The very form and tone of the steel string guitar is exemplified by the Martin guitar. From them has flowed the X braced top and the distinctive building methods that have resulted in the Martin sound and reaching out to influence virtually every maker of steel string guitars in the world. Another old time source of influence is the Gibson factory. Most of the luthiers and small shops have made it their objective to reproduce the Martin and Gibson sounds and even the exact shapes and techniques used by them in their heyday, or to at least use them as their inspiration. Huss & Dalton, Santa Cruz, Collings, Merrill, Schoenberg, and so many others. Individual luthiers like TJ Thompson, Kim Walker, Circa, Franklin, Borges, Henderson, and too many to number.

Then there is the Larrivee factory that has resulted in a distinctively Canadian expression of luthierie and that has produced small shops and many luthiers of international class and status like Laskin, Manzer, Wren, De Jonge.

There was also the newer guitar design paradigm that was begun by Kasha and Klein and that is still seen in the guitars of Boaz Elkayam and Kauffman.

Across the Atlantic, George Lowden's unique guitars birthed a Northern Irish type guitar sound and we have Lowden, Avalon and McIlroy shops that have come out of that with even the influence going as far as Micky Uchida in Japan.

In England, we have the very unique guitars of Stefan Sobell that took as their starting point a Martin prewar archtop, and which has influenced NK Forster and Taran Guitars as well as Laurent Brondel in the USA.

Apart from the distinctive guitars of such makers as Fleishman, Brook and Fylde, are there any other globally significant sources of steel string acoustic guitar luthierie?
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:08 PM
jzach46 jzach46 is offline
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You seem to be considering only steel string guitars and therefore leave out Torres and the variations of Spanish design. Also, Martin's guitars were designed for gut string until the late 20's. And where are the Australian designers? Lots to discuss here.

Jon Z.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:40 AM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Gallagher Guitars...Don Sr. and Don Jr....and Mossman Guitars...Stuart Mossman...really begat the Boutique...small shop...guitar builder emergence and prominence.

Michael Gurian, Gurian Guitars is really one of the absolute founding fathers of North American Luthierie...along with Jean Larrivee.

Ervin Somogyi...really began, along with perhaps David Russell Young, the iteration of the very high end/high art/craft luthier, and his work on the super responsive fingerstyle guitar design was and is industry defining, along with his many noteworthy apprentices/protege's.

James Olson...the refining of the SJ body style...and elevating the highly intensive use of maching work/tooling and jigs in a very small shop, meticulous production method...to a high art form...honorable mention here again to Michael Gurian.

David Russell Young and John Greven for introducing the highly stylistic and highly artful "landcaping" use of all hand made decorative pearl inlay on the modern steel string guitar...especially in headstock and fingerboard inlay designs...long before Wendy Larrivee and Grit Laskin et al...

duff

Last edited by mcduffnw; 01-12-2017 at 12:53 AM. Reason: Add content
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:52 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcduffnw View Post
Gallagher Guitars...Don Sr. and Don Jr....and Mossman Guitars...Stuart Mossman...really begat the Boutique...small shop...guitar builder emergence and prominence.

Michael Gurian, Gurian Guitars is really one of the absolute founding fathers of North American Luthierie...along with Jean Larrivee.

Ervin Somogyi...really began, along with perhaps David Russell Young, the iteration of the very high end/high art/craft luthier, and his work on the super responsive fingerstyle guitar design was and is industry defining, along with his many noteworthy apprentices/protege's.

James Olson...the refining of the SJ body style...and elevating the highly intensive use of maching work/tooling and jigs in a very small shop, meticulous production method...to a high art form...honorable mention here again to Michael Gurian.

duff
Of course, you are completely right - how could I forget to mention Somogyi as perhaps the most influential school of Lutheran for steel string acoustics at present next to the Martin/Gibson school? He is the direct influence on not only all his ex apprentices of whom there are many of the rising forces of Lutheran today, but also many luthiers who have attended his classes and read his books.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:53 AM
rogthefrog rogthefrog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitarro View Post
There was also the newer guitar design paradigm that was begun by Kasha and Klein and that is still seen in the guitars of Boaz Elkayam and Kauffman.
Begun by Kasha and Schneider, then broadly shown to be bunk, but it still inspired a few builders like Steve Klein, Boaz Elkayam, Steve Kauffman, Tom Bills, and a few others. Klein is back to building, btw. The post-Kasha "school" has led to a very distinctive sound, and some of the very best guitars I have heard and played.

As someone mentioned, Somogyi has been a fount of knowledge, inspiration and training for some of the very best builders around--Beauregard, Gaffney, Buendia, Kostal, Kraut, Matsuda, Ebata, Fredell.

A bunch of very talented builders have been associated with the Santa Cruz / SCGC crowd.

We're very lucky up here in the SF Bay Area. There's more talented luthiers than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:54 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Somogyi is not the only california school of Luthierie though his is the biggest in number of adherents.

There is also the stream of luthiers who can be traced back to Santa Cruz guitars and Richard hoover principally where it concerns the FS model - which led to traugott, shanti and Ed claxton guitars.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:56 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Great minds must think alike for both of us were typing the same things at the same time!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rogthefrog View Post
Begun by Kasha and Schneider, then broadly shown to be bunk, but it still inspired a few builders like Steve Klein, Boaz Elkayam, Steve Kauffman, Tom Bills, and a few others. Klein is back to building, btw. The post-Kasha "school" has led to a very distinctive sound, and some of the very best guitars I have heard and played.

As someone mentioned, Somogyi has been a fount of knowledge, inspiration and training for some of the very best builders around--Beauregard, Gaffney, Buendia, Kostal, Kraut, Matsuda, Ebata, Fredell.

A bunch of very talented builders have been associated with the Santa Cruz / SCGC crowd.

We're very lucky up here in the SF Bay Area. There's more talented luthiers than you can shake a stick at.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:59 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jzach46 View Post
You seem to be considering only steel string guitars and therefore leave out Torres and the variations of Spanish design. Also, Martin's guitars were designed for gut string until the late 20's. And where are the Australian designers? Lots to discuss here.

Jon Z.
Who would be the most influential Australian luthier for steel strings who has influenced othrrs luthiers there? I note that trevor gore and gilet have won many accolades with their book.
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:46 AM
Mr. Scott Mr. Scott is offline
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I think jzach46 made the most important contribution in mentioning the development of Torres on the design of the "Spanish" guitar. Most, if not all early guitar (and I emphasise Guitar, not its relatives) design took place in Europe, not the Americas. Admittedly a lot of later development took place in the US, especially in the case of steel strung instruments, but originally guitars were taken to America, not invented there.
However, to my mind at least, the best steel strung guitars abvailable today come from the USA.
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Old 01-12-2017, 03:45 AM
Bill Yellow Bill Yellow is offline
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And dare I suggest Charles Kaman/Ovation, looking at marrying wood with new man made materials, using modern scientific measurement as a starting point for design, moving away from traditional soundhole/x-bracing, making pickup and electronics a core part of the design rather than an add-on, etc...
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Old 01-12-2017, 04:00 AM
gitarro gitarro is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Yellow View Post
And dare I suggest Charles Kaman/Ovation, looking at marrying wood with new man made materials, using modern scientific measurement as a starting point for design, moving away from traditional soundhole/x-bracing, making pickup and electronics a core part of the design rather than an add-on, etc...

Can ovation be said to be the predecessor which made possible CA and Rainsong and all the carbon fiber guitar makers later?
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Old 01-12-2017, 05:35 AM
Bill Yellow Bill Yellow is offline
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I would say that in one direction, Ovation set the environment from which today's carbon fibre guitars would develop. In the other direction, they established the electro-acoustic +cutaway environment which Taylor has so successfully filled with their traditionally made instruments.
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:15 AM
mcduffnw mcduffnw is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Yellow View Post
And dare I suggest Charles Kaman/Ovation, looking at marrying wood with new man made materials, using modern scientific measurement as a starting point for design, moving away from traditional soundhole/x-bracing, making pickup and electronics a core part of the design rather than an add-on, etc...
Hi Bill...

GREAT point...YES! Absolutely Charles Kaman/Ovation. He definitely helped changed the acoustic guitar industry in a big way. You have to be "of a certain age {;-)" to remember how popular Ovation guitars became in the early/mid 70's. For a period of time, they really became the "go to" guitar of a significant number...a majority perhaps even...of professional musician's and entertainers.

duff
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:46 AM
Aping Leo Aping Leo is offline
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Interesting post. I recently saw a piece on Antiques Road Show where Mark Walberg visited Gryphon instruments. The focus of the piece was The Larson brothers. They immigrated from Sweden to Chicago in the late 1800's and began building guitars after buying Mauer guitars in the 1920's. According to Walberg they never built under the actual name of "Larson", using different names instead. Anyway not to get into a long winded history lesson, the point Im getting to if memory serves, is that they were credited as being the first to develop the steel string strung guitar. I always thought this was credited to Martin but the guy from Gryphon didn't say anything to detract from the statement.

Last edited by Aping Leo; 01-12-2017 at 08:50 AM. Reason: another thought
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Old 01-12-2017, 08:50 AM
merlin666 merlin666 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Yellow View Post
I would say that in one direction, Ovation set the environment from which today's carbon fibre guitars would develop. In the other direction, they established the electro-acoustic +cutaway environment which Taylor has so successfully filled with their traditionally made instruments.
And in a similar vein they also pioneered guitar mass production as we know it today with modern quality control measures, CNC technology, bolt-on necks, carbon fibre truss rods etc.
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