Let me introduce to you a luthier from my hometown Augsburg, Germany. His name is Stefan Sonntag and he is one of the finest luthiers in Germany. He is not only able to build excellent guitars but he is also very actively organizing workshops with some great guitar players.
Typically he organizes an autumn workshop in France and this year for the second time a spring workshop in Italy.
I just received the invitation for the workshop in the south of France from October 21. – October 25. 2014. This year Stefan invited Mimi Fox from San Francisco and Ulrich Hoffmeier from Berlin.
The spring workshop in Bolzano, Italy might also be quite interesting for vocalists. Jazz-vocalist Jeanne Gies and Jazz-guitarist Howard Alden from New York together with Helmut Nieberle, a long-time friend from Stefan, are the instructors at this workshop which takes place from April 25 to April 28 and there are still seats available.
During the workshops you can also play and try out Stefan Sonntag’s instruments and if you are interested on playing a real “classic”
archtop Jazz guitar, excellently constructed and built, with a perfect acoustic and electric sound then this is the perfect opportunity.
I am a lucky owner of one of Stefan’s guitars and I’m very happy with this instrument. Stefan is able to fulfill many different ideas and visions and he is capable to build an instrument according to your specifications.
I wanted to have an archtop guitar (“archtop” means that the top of the guitar is arched) with a 17″ size body and a floating pickup. I tried out some guitars but I always found one or more things to complain about the guitars I tested, so in the end I had a list of things which I didn’t like and a vague idea of how the guitar should look like and went to Stefan Sonntag’s factory and tested some guitars to find the right size of body and neck.
The picture here on the left shows the model I ordered. It is a J17 Standard guitar which is his “more elaboratly decorated version of the solid built Sonntag archtop”. The guitar has a full acoustic sound, can be very loud even without amplifier and produces the perfect Jazz sound. I had to wait for some months to get the guitar to be built, but the waiting was worthwhile: I got my perfect guitar.
If you want to read more about Stefan Sonntag please check his website under:
There is also a nice video (in German) where you see Stefan explaining how to build a guitar. For those of you who do not understand German here is the summary: “Take a tree and cut away everything that is not part of the guitar.”