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Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015

 

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Larsen Guitars (formerly Girl Brand Guitars)

One of the reasons why I visit the HGGS, is the story telling going on all over the place. And apart from being a master guitar builder, Chris Larsen is also a master story teller. But let's focus on the guitars.

While clearly taking the shapes from a classic electric, Chris Larsen's graphic style is, equally clearly, his own.

 

Close ups of the graphics.

 

Les Instruments Du Sud

 

This acoustic by luthier Nicolas Wilgenbus, has a few very interestig attributes. It also looks kind due t its "smiling" bridge.

 

It has the deepest arm countour I have ever seen on an acoustic.  

 

The placement of the sound hole(s) is also quite unique.

 

 

 

Lottonen Guitars

The Leadbelly 12-string model from Juha Lottonen. I never could get along with 12-string guitars until I played a Lottonen at last years HGGS. I don't know what he does, but I like it!  

 

Lutherie Antoine Prabel

From France comes Antoine Prabel and he brought these nice instruments.

 

Mr Prabel obviously has great woodworking skills. This psycedelic checkerboard top looks multidimensional.

 

I just love the way the wood choises complements each other in the different details. I think the soundhole is neat while he kept the binding and the cutaway construction is new to me. Fretboard inlays looks nice too. All in all, a very pleasant instrument to look at.  

 

Malinoski Guitars

 

I have seen some guitars by Peter Maliniski on the Internet so when I heard he was coming to the HGGS, I was very excited about seeing them for real and the possibiliy of trying his guitars. But everytime I passed by his table he was either away or talking to someone else, who most likely was as happy as me for the possibilty to speak with the man himself. So, unfortunately, I never got to try the guitars, nor speak with the man. Maybe next year?

 

I honestly don't know what I think about this design. So far, I've decided I like the pickup covers a lot.  

 

Manzer Guitars

 

Linda Manzer was, once again, at the HGGS and, once again, she brought one of her beautiful creations for us to admire.

 

Many luthiers I have met mentions MS Manzer whan I ask about sources for their inspiration. Seeing this guitar makes it really easy to understand that.  

 

Melo Guitars

I saw a picture of a Melo in a broschure many years ago and Joseph Melo I Valls was already then making some fabulous arch tops.

If I were to describe the looks of these guitars, I would with great respect, use "fat and fabolous".  

 

 

This archtop is an archtop to dream about.

 

This is a close up of the soundhole of the guitar above. Please note that you can open up the soundholes and let more sound out.  

 

Mervyn Davis Guitars

These astounding guitars come all the way from South Africa together with their creator Mervyn Davis.

 

I can honestly say that, in my 33 years of reporting from musical instrument shows of different kinds, I have never been as surprised by an instrument as I was by Mervyn Davis' guitars.

 

I tried this nylon string guitar and it was almost like playing anoth instrument as the tonal color felt different.  

 

This must surely be the most extreme cutaway ever.

 

Mirabella Guitars

Christian Mirabella from the USA graced us with two full bodied and sumptu archtops to lust for. I know I was allowed to play it, but I choose not to. If I had played the one to the left, there was great risk that I would take out a second mortgage on our house to get it.

 

Neubauer Guitars

 

No less than three of my unofficial prices go to Andreas Neubauer of Neubaur Guitars.

First and most obvious is "Best Dressed Exhibitor". With a vintage suit, bold tie and a fitting hat, Andreas wins this easily. I honestly wish I wore a suit and hat as elegantly and effortlessly as Andreas.

Second price is "Best Alternative To An ES-335". This slightly smaller hollowbody is a very comfortable fit.

 

Third price is for "Best Sweet Treat". Both guitars in the pictures are indeed very sweet instruments but the treat I'm referring to, are the wafers below. Thanks, Andreas!  

 

Nick Page Guitars

Nick Page's guitars are always pleasant for the eyes. The second one from the right is a favorite.

Here it is! Such a great stage guitar, it would probably even make me look good on stage. :-)  

 

Here's an anatomical theme on a guitar where I can see influences of Les Paul, Zematis and Michael Spalt.

 

 

Nik Huber Guitars

I remember seeing Nik for the first time many years ago at a Frankurt Musikmesse. We got talking and I noticed his dedication to his craft and his contagious enthusiasm. Since then, I always make a point of having a chat with Nik at every show I go to, and I learn something new every time.

Orca inlays. I'm not a fan or ornate fingerboard inlays, but this is very tasteful.  

 

It feels like you could drown in the depth of the waves in this curly/wavy maple top..

 

 

A new and nice take on block inlays.

 

The man behind the guitar (literally and figuratively), Nik Huber.

While I love the guitar Nik is holding and appreciate the craft of it, it's still the more basic Krautster that calls out my name.

 

 

Orn Custom Guitars

Gunnar Orn Sigurdsson is the first luthier from Iceland I have ever met. In my ignorance, I wasn't even aware that there were botique builders in Iceland. To rectify my lack of knowledge, I did spend some time with these nordic looking instruments.

I like this metallic style finish.  

 

Is this perhaps a viking symbol?

 

 

Pagelli Gitarrenbau

I know of nobody, who so continuously reinvent themselves, while still being easily identifiable, as Claudia and Claudio Pagelli. For more years than I care to count, I have been looking at Pagelli guitars at different shows. And I always wonder how enormously rich and famous they would have been, if they had chosen an art form more accessibly to a broader audience. As it is, we can count ourselves lucky that they did chose guitars and keep enjoying their art for years to come.

  How to turn functionality into beauty.
Pagelli style arch top excellence.  

  Claudio Pagelli posing for another photographer, so I snuck in a picture of my own.
Two of a series of smaller acoustice called Les Petites Naives. Very much influenced by Picasso if my art studies serves me right.  

 

 

To quote Hughey Lewis: "It's hip to be square". Yes, Sir!

 

 

 

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