The apprenticeship as a guitar maker is in GermanyPlucked instrument maker called. You first learn something in general about all plucked string instruments such as the zither, the dulcimer, the harp, the mandolin, the ukulele, the theorbo, the lute or the guitar. Within the companies, however, one usually specializes in the production of one or two types of instruments within this category. In the case of guitar construction, a distinction is made between different types of guitar, e.g. the classical guitar, flamenco guitar, western guitar, jazz guitar or electric guitar.
The question of who is the best luthier simply cannot be answered. It is not for nothing that the great virtuosos of our day play on very different products. In Germany in particular, numerous smaller workshops enjoy an excellent reputation (also internationally) and have established themselves in niches that large global companies cannot serve.
A selection of guitar makers has been put together for you here, which also illustrates the broad and long-standing tradition of this musical craft:
Worldwide positioned guitar manufacturer
Fender Musical Instruments Corporation was founded in 1946 by Leo Fender and his partner George Fullerton under the name Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Company. Even if Fender produces almost all kinds of electric and acoustic stringed instruments, his fame is mainly due to his electric guitars. This company did pioneering work in the 1950s and 1960s, for example, when it created the "Telecaster", the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar in the world.
Gibson Guitar Corporation, now based in Nashville, Tennessee, was founded in 1902 and is one of the oldest and best-known American manufacturers of plucked instruments such as banjos, mandolins, guitars, electric guitars and basses, as well as guitar amplifiers. The instruments are also sold under the “Gibson” brand. The company has mainly done pinoning work in the field of electric guitars and produced the first industrially manufactured series, the ES-150 model, in 1936.
Godin Guitars is a Canadian guitar manufacturer that has handcrafted acoustic and electric guitars in Canada and the USA since 1982. Robert Godin made his first guitars in 1982 in La Patrie, Québec. The company is headquartered in Montreal, but Godin guitars are built in six factories in four different locations, including Québec and New Hampshire. Godin Guitars produce various guitar series, including Norman, Simon Patrick and La Patrie.
Karl Höfner GmbH & Co. KG
Founded in Schönbach in 1887 by master violin maker Karl Höfner, Karl Höfner GmbH has advanced to become Germany's largest manufacturer in the field of string and plucked instruments. When the two sons Josef and Walter Höfner entered their father's business in 1919 and 1921, the acoustic guitar was already an integral part of production. Even then, Höfner concert guitars set standards in a market that was determined by the "wandering guitars" of the 1920s and 1930s. In the decades that followed, the demand for Höfner instruments increased even further. To date, more than two million string and plucked instruments, from student to master instruments, have been produced.
The Ibanez company was founded in 1908 as a sales company for musical instruments under the name Hoshino Gakki. From 1929 guitars were imported to Japan from the workshop of the Spanish guitar maker Salvador Ibáñez. In 1935, Hoshino Gakki finally set about building stringed instruments himself. When Ibáñez's workshop was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War, Gakki bought the rights to his name, later called Ibanez for short. The instruments are largely made by hand.
Martin & Co.
C. F. Martin & Co., Inc. is a US based instrument maker. Their company history goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. It is still run as a family business today. In the 1840s, C.F. Martin Sr. the X-Bracing, which enables increased stability and resilience of the ceiling.
The first dreadnought guitars were made in 1916, and in 1929 Martin built guitars, among other things, the neck of which only merged into the body of the guitar at the fourteenth fret. In addition to a number of high-quality series, the company also produces the "Little Martin" for the small budget.
The company Yamaha Corporation, a Japanese stock corporation headquartered in Hamamatsu, offers many products primarily in the fields of electronics and the musical instrument sector. In 1942, Yamaha made the first acoustic guitar. The company now produces a wide variety of guitar types and manufactures different series, including - belonging to the acoustic guitar category - the GC series, the DG series, the CS series and the C series.
Smaller master workshops
Brunswicker & Apelt
The Frankfurt master workshop for concert and flamenco guitars Brunswicker & Apelt has been run as an independent master workshop since 1989. The company produces concert guitars, flamenco guitars and steel string guitars, as well as accessories such as the “ergo bella” guitar support.
Matthias Dammann was born in 1957. Already during his studies at the Musikhochschule in Frankfurt he devoted himself to guitar making. Although he never trained as a master guitar maker himself, he is one of the most important representatives of his guild today. Over many years he acquired the necessary know-how and manual skills. Matthias Dammann mainly builds guitars with cedar tops.
Paulino Bernabe, born in Madrid in 1932, is one of the oldest active and at the same time most popular guitar builders in Spain. He has been working independently since 1969 and built the first 10-string guitar for the Spaniard Narciso Yepes in 1973. The famous Spanish guitar virtuoso Andrés Segovia also played on a Bernabe guitar, among other things.
Deerbridge Guitars is the brand name of a German guitar workshop from Hersbruck in Middle Franconia. The workshop was founded in 2006 by Martin Wieland. The master guitar builder specialized primarily in the construction of high-quality acoustic guitars by hand. The instruments are made exclusively by his hand in Hersbruck and usually only made to order. Each Deerbridge guitar is unique. That is why only 12 to 15 instruments leave the workshop every year.
Frank-Peter Dietrich - Markus Dietrich
The Dietrich family has been building guitars and lutes since 1904, today represented by the plucked instrument maker Frank-Peter Dietrich and son Markus in the fourth generation. The workshop produces handcrafted concert and solo guitars (six, seven, eight and more strings), octave, third and fifth bass guitars, flamenco guitars, double guitars, romantic guitars and replicas of renaissance and baroque guitars.
Georg Gose has been making plucked instruments for over 50 years. In 1976 he started his own business in Vallendar. For many years he worked as an expert and volunteer in the master craftsman's and journeyman's examination committee. Robert Gose started his apprenticeship in his father's company and passed the journeyman's examination in Mittenwald in 2002. He dealt intensively with Spanish and modern guitar making. Georg and Robert Gose manufacture instruments according to an old artisan tradition: exclusively by hand and using the finest materials, such as B. hide glue and shellac hand polish. You also benefit from an extensive wood store that is over 50 years old and only contains air-dried wood.
Armin & Mario Gropp
The master workshop Armin & Mario Gropp has been dedicated to the artisanal and artistic construction of high-quality concert guitars and lutes as well as the restoration of historical plucked instruments for several generations in an uninterrupted family tradition. The master guitar and lute maker Armin Gropp can look back on more than 50 years of professional experience, which he has been passing on to the guitar making students at the Markneukirchen University of Applied Sciences since 1993. Mario Gropp has been working as a guitar maker for over 20 years. The workshop focuses primarily on the construction of high-quality student guitars and historical plucked instruments. The wood store has stocks that are up to 80 years old.
Today, the name Hanika is closely linked to the construction of high-quality classical master guitars. Son Armin took over the company, which was founded in 1953, in the second generation from his father Helmut Hanika, who has earned a reputation as a world-renowned guitar maker. He has long been known in the scene for good sounding, solid guitars. Hanika arranges its model series in different classes, e.g. in the master, upper, middle and basic classes.
The Hauser Guitars company was founded in Munich in 1875 by Josef Hauser. Above all, his son Hermann Hauser occupies an excellent position worldwide as a German guitar maker. He specialized in building lutes and guitars and produced a variety of different guitar types and designs. His third, prime and the very rare fifth bass guitars are of the highest quality and are still considered to be sonically unsurpassed. Only carefully selected wood is used for guitars from the company Hauser, which is subject to natural drying in the company's own wood store. Around 17 instruments can be completed per year.
The name Hopf appeared for the first time in instrument making as early as 1669. Since then, the profession has been passed on from father to son over the generations. Dieter Hopf, who alone has more than 40 years of experience in guitar building, has constantly endeavored to further develop the concert guitar. In this respect, the freely swinging ceiling system or the rosette bridge should be emphasized. All Hopf master models are individual one-offs, and experience guarantees consistently high tonal quality, the finest workmanship and good playability.
Walter Kraushaar was born in 1963. After three years of professional training and initially freelance work at esh GmbH, he founded his own craft business in Aachen in 1989. In 1993 he passed the master's examination to become a plucked instrument maker in Mittenwald.
A. D. Marvi
Andrés D. Marvi, born in 1956, took part in the guitar making course of the famous master guitar builder José Romanillos in Zurich in 1984. Just one year later he was able to successfully complete his apprenticeship examination to become a guitar maker in Erlangen. Marvi has lived in a small village not far from the guitar metropolis of Granada since 1987. He builds his instruments there in the Spanish climate of Andalusia. Together with the guitar specialist and dealer Norbert Giebel, Marvi developed a concert model that is played by the guitar virtuoso Aniello Desiderio, among others.
Inspired by the Spanish masters, Karl-Heinz and Falco Römmich have been building classical guitars for over 30 years. At the same time, the romantic guitar is made in her workshop and thus kept alive. The traditional methodology as well as the very best wood are important components that make up the quality of your classical guitars. Only naturally dried and thoroughly oxidized woods are used. All components of the guitars are processed with hide and isinglass. Shellac is the only varnish used.
Joachim Schneider & Sons
Master Joachim Schneider and his sons Steffen and André are now the fifth generation to produce handcrafted instruments that range from solid concert guitars with a rosewood body to top-of-the-range Rio rosewood models with selected spruce top and shellac hand polish. Schneider guitars are highly valued by guitarists from home and abroad. An important prerequisite for achieving such high quality is the tonewood, which has been well seasoned over decades, and which is selected with the greatest care.
08258 Markneukirchen / Vogtland
Christian Stoll, born in 1959, runs a workshop in the Taunus, where guitars are handcrafted by four employees. While Stoll initially focused on building electric guitars and basses, he has been concentrating on perfecting acoustic guitars since the early 1990s. Its extensive spectrum ranges from the student guitar to the soloist instrument.
Nicolaus Wollf has been building guitars since 1966. He completed his apprenticeship as a guitar maker with Dieter Hopf, among others. From 1971 to 1994 he built guitars and mandolins for the company before opening his own guitar workshop in Oberneisen (near Limburg) in 1994. In summer 1999 he relocated his workshop to Niederbruch. The construction of the Wollf guitars corresponds in principle to the traditional Spanish construction method, but they are characterized by a particularly light construction.