Recently I had the pleasure to attend the 2012 Montreal guitar show held during the Montreal Jazz festival at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Montreal. I would have to consider myself a very amateur player and I am usually very intimidated when around other guitarists who, in my opinion, can actually play. However I do love guitars and have always been intrigued by those who choose to make a living creating beautiful one-of-a-kind musical instruments.
I really had no idea what to expect from this show as I had never been before so when I got there I was pleased to find the registration process to be well organized and friendly with a very reasonable $18/ticket.
I had originally planned on spending about 3 hours at the show but when I walked in the door of the electric section I realized that I had seriously under estimated how much time I would need.
The first room I went into was the Electric guitar section with over 40 luthiers from all around the world. I was literally blown away. Although I was incredibly impressed with every luthier at the show there were a few that stood out in my mind.
Peter Malinoski http://www.petermalinoskiart.com from the USA builds finely crafted electric guitars and basses of his own unique design and featuring his own hand-made electronics. He uses traditional and non-traditional guitar-making materials and techniques to create shapes and forms that blend with the rich sonic qualities of guitar electronics. The instruments made by Peter MalinoskiArt Guitars look, play and sound unlike any others.
Ulrich Teuffel http://www.teuffel.com from Germany established his company in 1988. After completing his studies in industrial design in 1995, he came out with a new conceptual line of instruments such as the birdfish, tesla and niwa. Despite their modern appearance, these guitars still follow the construction principles of Leo Fender, Ulrich’s idol. His instruments are showcased in several museums, as well as in the hands of artists like David Torn, Kirk Hammett, Bill Gibbons and Hans Zimmer.
Daddy Mojo Stringed Instruments http://www.daddy-mojo.com from Montreal was born in 2005 as a little experiment in cigar box guitar (CBG) building by visual artist Lenny Piroth Robert. Lenny was soon joined by fellow artist Luca Tripaldi, and together they revived the tradition of using cigar boxes to build guitars, until then played by poor musicians in the deep southern United States. Daddy Mojo has brought the CBG into the 21st century by handcrafting versatile and fully playable quality instruments.
Michael Spalt http://www.spaltinstruments.com from Austria has made an international name for himself as a designer and builder of unique cutting-edge instruments. After successfully completing his move from Los Angeles to Vienna this year, he is back building his Totem guitars, Hybrid models and a wide variety of custom creations.
The friendliness of each electric luthier was overwhelming, I had expected to be given very little time by them, but found each luthier to be super-friendly and willing to discuss their guitars and methods of construction and personal philosophies. To the point where when I looked at my watch I had spent 3 hours already just on the electric side of the show and had to hurry on to the acoustic side.
When I got over to the Acoustic side I realized that I had made a huge planning mistake, there were at least 100 luthiers on the acoustic side and I had run out of time to give these incredible artists the time they deserved. I was so overwhelmed and rushed for time that I had to rush though this section which made me realize that next year I would have to split the show over 2 days to give it the energy that it deserved.
My overall opinion of the Montreal Guitar show was that it was a great way to spend a day or two surrounded by incredible and dedicated artists whose passion for music and stretching the limits of the traditional styles of the luthier are second to none. If you have never been to this show put it on your calendar for next year and make sure that you don’t make my mistake and plan enough time!
REVIEW BY: Eric Gregor-Pearse
Further to Eric’s words the Montreal Guitar show is a must see for anyone who is interested in instruments or craftsmanship. As well a fine addition to a buzzing Jazz Festival. Please take the time to visit both galleries and be sure and check out the Montreal Guitar show online at: http://www.montrealguitarshow.com/default-en.aspx