Category Archives: Guitars

Why Bubenreuth? A brief look at a fascinating village #Germany #History

Bubenretuh

At first glance, Bubenreuth is just another small town near Nuremberg in Southern Germany. A closer look however reveals a town well known as an important centre of musical instrument manufacture.

Before World War II, Schönbach, Graslitz, Markneukichen and Klingenthal were part of the Saxon-Bohemian ‘Musical Corner’ or Musikwinkel, one of the most important musical instrument making regions in the world. When musical instrument production was revived after World War II, these instrument makers from Czechoslovakia were resettled in the Nuremberg area. The community council of Bubenreuth – then a village of fewer than 500 inhabitants – decided in October 1949 that about 2000 displaced luthiers, bow and part makers, string spinners, tonewood dealers, lacquer and rosin producers, and instrument manufacturers from Schönbach would be allowed to resettle there over the following ten years.

Thus, Bubenreuth was transformed from a small farming village into the main centre of German string instrument making. Violins, lutes, mandolins, banjos, zithers and guitars of all kinds (classical, western, archtop, semi-acoustic and electric) were made here. Among companies and luthiers active were Dörfler, Framus, Glassl, Hanika, Hannabach, Hirsch, Höfner, Hoyer, Klier, Mettal, Paesold, Placht, Pyramid, Roth, Sandner, Schuster, Teller and Wilfer.

Without this small village in Germany, the European and, in particular, UK music scene in the 1950s and 60s would have been very different. Both the ‘Beat Boom’ and the ‘British Invasion’ owed their sounds to Bubenreuth with most of the guitars and basses played originating here. Members of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Pink Floyd and guitar heroes Jimmy Page and Ritchie Blackmore, along with many others played instruments from Höfner and Framus, two of the biggest makers then in Bubenreuth.

Today Bubenreuth still retains its importance in the musical instrument making world and to honour this a museum was formed in order to maintain the cultural heritage of Bubenreuth.

To see the Museum website please click here:  http://www.bubenreutheum.de/en

Thanks to Dr. Christian Hoyer for the information on Bubenreuth

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Hutchins Guitars are proud to still be hand making guitars and basses in a town where so much musical history originated.

The Hutchins Workshops are in the old Hofner building, Bubenreuth.

We offer sales, set-up and repair services at our Bubenreuth workshops.

Please ring us to make an appointment or e-mail us using the contact sheet here

+49 (0) 9131 9085802

In unseren Bubenreuth-Werkstätten bieten wir Verkaufs-, Installations- und Reparaturleistungen an.

Bitte rufen Sie uns an, 09131 9085802, um einen Termin zu vereinbaren oder schicken Sie eine E-Mail mit dem Kontaktformular hier.

 

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#Bubenreuth CROWDFUNDING FOR THE HISTORICAL VIOLIN COLLECTION #germany

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The Crowdfunding project COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL VIOLINS has started!

In order to collect donations at all, the Bubenreutheum e.V.  needs 100 “fans” for the project “Stringed Instrument Collection” within 2 weeks.

Here you can register and become a fan:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

We need as many fans as possible to show the bank that the project is popular with the population and has success prospects. Therefore, we would like to cordially thank you for helping to start the project through your non-binding registration.

With your registration as a “fan” you have no obligations.

YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS WILL NOT BE USED BY THE VR-BANK EHH OR BY THE ASSOCIATION BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FOR ADVERTISING PURPOSES!

Please support us. Thank you very much!

Here in German:

Unser Crowdfunding Projekt Saiteninstrumentensammlung ist gestartet!

Um überhaupt Spenden sammeln zu können, benötigen wir 100 „Fans“ für unser Projekt „Saiteninstrumentensammlung“ innerhalb von 2 Wochen.

Hier können Sie sich registrieren und Fan werden:

https://vr-bank-ehh.viele-schaffen-mehr.de/saiteninstrumentensammlung

Möglichst viele Fans zeigen der Bank und uns, dass das Projekt in der Bevölkerung Zuspruch erfährt und Erfolgsaussichten hat. Deshalb bitten wir Sie sehr herzlich, durch Ihre unverbindliche Registrierung dazu beizutragen, das Projekt starten zu können.

Mit Ihrer Registrierung als “Fan” gehen Sie noch keinerlei Verpflichtung ein.

IHRE PERSÖNLICHEN ANGABEN WERDEN WEDER VON DER VR-BANK EHH NOCH VOM VEREIN BUBENREUTHEUM E.V. FÜR WERBEZWECKE VERWENDET!

Bitte motivieren Sie auch Freunde und Bekannte uns zu unterstützen.

Herzlichen Dank!

Speaking of Guitarists… #electricguitar

     Terry Kath was the guitarist in the band Chicago. They called themselves Chicago Transit Authority for their first album and then shortened the name to Chicago in 1970. He was a multi-instrument musician and singer who impressed me with his solid, well-rounded guitar solos. He not only played lead & rhythm guitar, but also banjo, accordion, electric bass, and drums.
     I sit here and listen to ‘Free Form Guitar’ from the first album. This seven minute instrumental guitar piece was recorded in one take. According to a 1971 Guitar Player magazine interview, the Fender Strat he played had a broken neck held together by a radiator hose clamp. Can anything keep a real guitarist from playing? Sharp fret ends, bowed necks, chipped paint, dented tops, scratched backs? 
     Imagine this: Wikipedia says he actually had 20 guitars at one time! Is that all? If he was still alive, he’d probably have 200.
     Yes, the sad fact: on January 23, 1978, after a party, Terry Kath put a 9mm semiautomatic pistol to his temple, said to his buddy, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded,” and pulled the trigger. He died instantly. He was 31 years old.

If you’d like to see him in action:

I’m A Man: 
 
25 or 6 to 4:

https://youtu.be/7uAUoz7jimg

The full Tanglewood  concert:

Friday #FlashFiction @lauralibricz

The Venom Club

“Try this,” I said. “Drink some.”

He shook his head no and kissed the blonde girl as she sat back down on his lap. I lit a cigarette and passed it to the girl, burning her hair as she flicked her ponytail over her shoulder to conceal her left breast.

“Stupid woman,” she spat at me as she stood up and marched away, stiletto heels uncertain in the thick-piled carpet.

I held the glass out to him again. “Drink. You promised. Otherwise I would have left you two outside.”

His green eyes were clear and alert, so he’d had nothing to drink and was not under the influence of any other substance. His skin was healthy. What a suitable subject. He leaned forward, defiant, distrustful, but rising to the challenge.

Good boy, I thought.

He took the glass from me. “Why do you want me to drink it? You drink it.”

“I’ve been drinking just this all evening.”

He sniffed at the simple glass tumbler, recoiled, coughed. He leaned forward, coughed again and I almost hit him in the head with the pitcher of water as I tried to top up his glass. The contents of the glass went cloudy as the water mixed with the amber-brown liquid of my own design. I approved with a proud smile and a nod of the head. Years of work perfecting my concoction. He saw my reaction. He narrowed his eyes like a trapped dog.

I set the water pitcher down, picked up my own glass and filled it once more with the same amber-brown liquid from the crystal decanter I kept by my foot. I sipped at the brew like it was the finest cognac.

“Why would I want to harm you?” I said.

By the door, I heard his girlfriend arguing with my brother. I needed her out of here. She could ruin everything. My brother seemed to have heard my thoughts. The door opened, the girl protested, the door slammed, all was quiet.

He watched me closely and showed no reaction to the girl’s exit. As he raised the glass to his lips, I did the same. He allowed the liquid, the whole glassful–watered-down, yes–to flow into his mouth and swallowed without flinching. I did the same.

Warm tingling spread a numbness from my feet up my legs. I knew I could not stand if I tried. My fingers gripped the plush arms of my chair and I willed my eyes to stay open. I looked at the clock. I knew I must allow for this initial dread in order for it to clear again. My tolerance was great but I had drunk more this evening than ever before.

He closed his eyes and leaned his head back into the brown-leather chair. His head nodded to one side. I needed to monitor his every move, check his vital signs, to record his reaction. If only I could get up out of this chair!

Feeling returned to my feet and I slowly wiggled my toes. Ten minutes had passed. Elation replaced the initial dread and I knew I’d raised myself up to the next level. I leaned forward and touched his knee. He stirred. I took his hand and asked his name.

“Lasse,” he said and closed his eyes again.

“Lasse,” I said. “You have passed your first test.”

“What test?”

“You’re still alive.”

He opened his eyes and stretched his legs. Fifteen minutes it took him to regain his composure. My brother could not even recover that quickly.

I filled his glass and held it out for him. “Drink.”

“No.”

“Drink it, I said!”

“No.”

“You have a choice, Lasse. You drink it now, you drink it every day, you stay here with me and work by my side. I know you have no job, you have no perspectives. I’ve been watching you. Your girlfriend will never speak to you again after this evening. She didn’t want to come in here in the first place.”

Lasse took one of my cigarettes and lit it.

“And,” I said, holding up his glass. “And, you build up a tolerance to this stuff like I have been doing over the past year. It’s biological and organic, untraceable. I’ve distilled hundreds of gallons of this stuff. Enough to poison the whole city.

“Or, you become trapped in my web, doomed like the others. I plan to tap into the water supplied to the Manufacturer’s Building on First Street next Monday morning. Fifteen-hundred people working in there on any given day! And that’s just the beginning.”

He drew on his cigarette and flipped the hair from his face with the practiced head toss of a real guitar player.

“Then, no one can stand in my way! I’ve already sent anonymous threats to the city and still I get no press. They won’t even investigate. They don’t take me seriously.”

He stomped out his cigarette and stared at me.

“I will not die in obscurity! I am the real Black Widow!”

Guitar Solos #electricguitar

     
     

     The Creator rested on the seventh day. On the eighth day, he woke up and heard the angels he’d created on the fifth day to keep him company playing on their harps.“Listen guys, this just won’t do. You can’t expect people to want to get into Heaven when they realize they’ll have to listen to that all day.”

     So, on that eighth day, the Creator invented the electric guitar.

     I love guitar solos. And top ten lists. So what better way to end the week than with a top ten list of guitar solos?

     I can identify with singers because I love words and lyrics. And they’re usually the cutest one in the band. I can memorize lyrics and sing a tune, but I can’t make one up. I’m more like a parrot and not really creative with a melody. Even when I was playing the piano, I could only give back the melody as I learned it from sheet music. Which brings me to the conclusion that the singers and the lyrics are the mind of the song. But the guitarist is the heart and the soul.

     I often listen to instrumentals when I’m writing. If I’m trying to think in words, lyrics get in the way. Guitar solos are brainstorming. Or speed on the autobahn, shifting gears and changing lanes. Or rain pounding on the window or snow sliding off the roof.

     I could expand my top ten list to maybe twenty or fifty. If I was talking about my favorite songs of all time I would. But I will only allow myself a top ten list of guitar solos this weekend. Otherwise I would spend all day searching my musical archives. My choices are in no particular order of preference, because I like them all the same. And there are, of course, many more but these come to mind first.

     
1a. 25 or 6 to 4 (the long version)—Chicago / Terry Kath

1b. So We’ve Ended as Lovers—Jeff Beck

       1b2. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat—Jeff Beck

1c. Alive—Pearl Jam

1d. Free Bird (live)—Lynyrd Skynyrd / Allen Collins

1e. Little Wing—from Sting’s band, don’t know who the guitarist is.

1f. Lenny—Stevie Ray Vaughn

1g. Do You Feel Like We Do (live)—Peter Frampton

1h. Eruption—Eddie van Halen

1i. Brighton Rock—Queen—Brian May

1k. Anything played by Jimmy Page.

     I only put Jimmy Page last for effect. He’s my Number One Guitar Player, which opens up new possibilities for other top ten lists!

     If ten people comment with their own top ten list, I’ll be able to compose a Top Hundred List. So your challenge for today is… 

 

Have a nice weekend!

Headless #mondayblogs #electricguitar

Eddie van Halen-behaving—Photo courtesy of jeffbabicz.com

 

Speaking of Guitars:

      In 1976, furniture designer Ned Steinberger and luthier buddy Stuart Spector got together in Brooklyn, NY and developed a new electric bass called the Spector NS2. The ‘concave / convex’ body form, designed by Ned, became the distinguishing factor for Spector Basses. After that, Ned’s interest in the music industry grew and he pulled out all the stops. He went on to develop some of his more innovative designs. The headless bass was born and the rest is history.
     The unique construction of the Steinberger L-Series headless bass and it’s design made it a real eye-catcher. The neck and body were one solid construction molded out of carbon fibers. The body was then covered with a plastic face plate that also housed the electronics. The neck contained no truss rod, that metal rod inserted in the neck used to adjust the curve of the neck. The curve, or relief, was built into the neck and optimized with the frets. Because there was no headstock, the tuning pegs were incorporated into the bridge and string change was a breeze using the double-ball stings.
     In the early 80’s, Ned got some cheap factory space in Newburgh, NY and moved shop upstate. Shortly thereafter, a six-string guitar version was launched and Ned’s ground-breaking transposing tremolo system, the Trans-Trem. It was at that time, in 1985, that I started working in the fret department. The necks were pre-formed in a machine so that we could install the frets with little or no top-levelling. This procedure for ‘calculating the deflection of carbon graphite necks as they were displaced by the cumulative effects of installed fret pressure’ was developed by Ned and Jeff Babicz.
     Other new models were released. I transferred into the assembly department and worked on the P-Series project: molded necks bolted onto wooden bodies. Guitarist Mike Rutherford of Genesis inspired the M-Series, a molded neck bolted to a more-traditionally shaped body, built by English luthier Roger Giffin.
     Steinberger never officially endorsed artists. The artists just played the instruments. At this time names like Eddie Van Halen, Rick Derringer, Geddy Lee and many others were touring with their Steinberger guitars and basses.
     But, alas, every story has an ending. On my last day, in the summer of 1987, the big blond guy from Gibson came by and bought the company. At that point, the NY company was producing over 25 guitars and basses a week. Eventually, the NY factory was dismantled and the operation was moved to Nashville. 

Here’s some links for more infos:

Ed Roman’s story: Ed Roman’s Steinberger Story 
Jeff’s Website: JeffBabicz.com