Leonardo Guitar Research Project
Welcome to the first quarterly letter of the new academic year. Highlights of the quarter include the project board meeting and student workshop in Newark, UK, and the Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin, Germany.
Lutherie students from Belgium, Finland and England sharing there knowledge
In early October we ran the LGRP Workshop in Newark College, UK, where students from Ikata, Finland and from Cmb/CVO Belgium came together with the Newark students for a one-week workshop focussing on the workability and physical properties of our non-tropical woods. In addition the students also received talks from Thomas Holt and Chris Larkin on their approaches to the guitar lutherie business, and made a visit to a wood supplier. Newark proved to be a delightful town, and the school is of a high standard with excellent facilities. The students were warmly received, and considered the workshop a success.
The workshop findings will form the basis of an Intellectual Output document on Workability and Physical Properties.
As usual with these workshops, we took the opportunity to run a LGR Project Board meeting at the end of the workshop week where we reviewed progress and updated the action plan to achieve the committed project goals. All aspects of the project are on track. The Phase 2 guitar building is now well underway with all guitars targetted for completion by January 2017 latest to allow the testing program to commence.
All Intellectual Outputs now have an ‘owner’ in place. The partner luthier work placement programme has commenced and we have aligned on attendance numbers from the 3 schools. The next workshop will take place in Cmb Belgium in May 2016; details of this workshop will become available early in the New Year.
The Multiplyer event, where the results of the project will be disseminated, will take place via a special LGRP/Cordefactum Guitar Festival in May 2017.
The Holy Grail Guitar Show, Berlin 2015
Project guitars on display
For the second year running, the LGRP was invited to take part in the Holy Grail Guitars Show (HGGS) that took place in Berlin at the end of October. HGGS is the annual international guitar show of the European Guitar Builders (EGB), an alliance formed by professional independent European luthiers dedicated to support each other by sharing knowledge, resources, and experience in the art and craft of guitar building in Europe. The EGB promotes sustainable development, ecologic awareness and economic growth in an ethical way, and as such has a keen interest in the development of the LGR-Project.
The 4 guitars: Beech, Chestnut, Plane, Rosewood // Stephan Dolgener playing the guitars // The 'blind' audience
Panel dicussion about the use of alternatives for tropical timber:
Andy Manson, Adrian Lucas, Jacky Walraet, Jean Yves Alquier, Jutta Molterer, Fred Pons, Chris Larkin/ Brian Garston, moderator
This year we gave a public lecture on the project, and had a display stand to exhibit a few of the project guitars. For the luthier symposium day we gave a lecture together with an audience test and ran an
‘expert panel discussion’. Our presence at the event was very well received, and the luthier audience test
was particularly revealing.
The LGR-Project has clearly become the right project at the right time. With increasing trade restictions on tropical woods (CITES, EU regulations etc); increasing pressure from environment action groups; and increasing amounts of illegally sourced tropical woods, all leading to increased prices and scarcity of supply, the need has never been greater to search for alternative woods. The tide is beginning to turn, the future will undoubtedly move towards local, sustainable woods. Most luthiers can see this coming and are supportive. How fast it moves depends on the guitar buying public, but move it will.
Invitations coming thick and fast
Last year we were asking event organizers for the opportunity to present the LGR-Project and have a stand at their event. This is all changing now. In addition to us receiving an ‘open invitation’ for future HGGS events, we have recently been invited to have a presence at the following events:
- A World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reception evening with the European Commission in
November where the WWF will lobby the EU to strengthen implementation of the European
Union Timber Regulations.
- The first Salon de la Guitare exposition for luthiers in Paris in December.
- The annual Musicora event in Paris in February 2016. This is a French music industry event
for professional and amateur musicians and consists of concerts, workshops and cultural activities.
We certainly have a busy period ahead.
Finally, a word of thanks to all those members of the participating schools who volunteered to carry out various support tasks at the HGGS event. These folks really helped to ensure the successful running of the event and their contributions were highly valued by the EGB organizing team.
The LGRP Team
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