Frankfurt Music Fair 2011 – classical guitars

Today is the last day of the Frankfurt fair but I just got home and can share some news already. This year my schedule was so tightly packed with meetings that I did not get out of the halls 4.0 and 3.0 and 3.1 at all. The latter is what should interest classical guitarists. Hall 3.1 is usually dedicated to ‘quiet’ and ‘classical’ instruments. Classical guitar is among them and besides instruments you always find tonewood suppliers and music publishers from there.

So what did the classical guitar makers show this year? First of all, you should know that mostly factories and mass producers come with their own exposition and booth. But you can still meet the ‘good’ luthiers there, as they often pay a visit to see what’s up. I had a meeting with Mr. Armin Hanika, the man behind one of the Germany’s most respected classical guitar brand Hanika Guitars. We were talking about his production and my work as a guitarist and teacher. I think his approach to making the guitars is very healthy and I’m sure we will have a fruitful cooperation in future. I will order a bunch of his guitars and will try them out.

The Spanish brands were out as always and of course many Chinese makers. Everybody tend to ignore the fact that most of the classical guitars up to a 500 EUR retail price come from China. Sometimes we even don’t know that because one of the trends is that the Chinese made instruments get reworked in Europe and sold as local brands.

As I am often playing with dancers and need to amplify my guitar, I have always been interested in new developments in this field. And I found something this year: Hanika guitars have joined AER to create a new bridge pick up and preamp combination. They say that although picking up the vibration of the string does not give the correct impression of the sound, there is no better way to pick up the sound from inside the guitar than this and process the sound later. What is different is the placement of piezo elements – there are separate controls for each string and from the preamp you can control the characteristics of every single string. Actually, this is something that I have always done – my technician has built also separated string piezos. But I cannot control them separately. Well, here is the preamp:

Among other pictures you see a man playing a Hanika guitar through this system. Sounded just great!

Also, Magma strings were out. I should talk about those another time for this is an interesting topic and I have tested those bass tuning Magma Transpositors with a few guitars.

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