At the NAMM show in Los Angeles in January I had the privilege of joining Peter Henriksen and his team in their Henriksen Amps booth at the NAMM show 2017 in Anaheim, CA., displaying two of my guitars, a J17H Elektra as well as Bruce Forman's own J16H Ballade. I'm very grateful for the opportunity to exhibit at their booth, as Peter Henriksen's amps target the same audience as I do, namely jazz guitarists. Henriksen Amps have been showcasing their products at the NAMM for years, and their booth will attract renowned jazz musicians from all over the West Coast and beyond. So I had the pleasure of reuniting with established players such as John Pisano, Mimi Fox, Sid Jacobs, Bruce Forman or Ron Jackson, as well as meeting younger musicians like John Storie and Will Brahm, every one of them an accomplished guitarist and musician.
Over the course of the show I had the chance to hear the Henriksen amps being played by a whole number of different guitarists. I was greatly impressed by all three models, the Bud, the 310, and the 312. They all display grand transparency, brio, and dynamics, lending three-dimensional ambience to the sound of the guitar. The 5-band EQs operate very delicately and effectively without obtrusively pushing the frequencies.
Of the three, the Bud can be considered the most versatile. It features two channels, both equipped with 48 volt phantom powered XLR/1/4″ combo inputs. Also, the handling benefits from 9x9x9 dimensions and 17 pounds of weight, and 120 watts provide for ample volume. These features should make the amp suitable for covering 80% of gigs.
The two larger models' bigger speakers naturally provide a somewhat wider frequency range. A defeatable tweeter even makes them suitable for piezo-fitted guitars without compromising the warm jazz tone.
Due to the 12“ speaker, the 312 model may even double as a bass amp.
Being impressed as I was by the Henriksen amplifiers, I am thrilled to now have the new 310 JazzAmp in my showroom for demonstration purposes. If you're interested in Henriksen gear I strongly advise you to come by and check out this amp. Absolutely worth it! In addition to that, of course, there are those handsome Sonntag guitars waiting for you, singing beautifully over that JazzAmp...
For those who make it to NAMM in January: You will find my guitars and me at the Henriksen booth, Nr. 1537, Hall E
In January '17 the next NAMM is going to happen in Los Angeles. I will pack two of my guitars and display them there. See how American guitarists will fancy them.
The dudes of Henriksen Amps are friendly enough to make some square inches available for me and my guitars. It shure will be a nice win-win situation. They've got guitars for their amps, I've got amps for my guitars.
And Bruce Forman will lend me his Sonntag J16 "Ruby" for the show. I am positive he will stop by for some demonstrations.
We are back from our Jazz Workshop in Bolzano/ South Tyrol on Hotel Schloss Korb.
As every past year our nostalgia is big. Not for home, but for our Schloss where we have spent a fantastic week full of music.
Our instructors Helmut Nieberle, Paulo Morello and Jeanne Gies did a great job. The students will be busy with digesting the input they have got in the lessons for months.
The owners of Schloss Korb, Ruth and Fritz Dellago, their chef Stefan Unterkircher and their castle ghosts made our stay an unforgettable experience.
Soon there will be a review at this place, plus pictures and video.
I am glad to announce the next Jazz Workshop for guitar and vocals: We will meet again on Schloss Korb in May 2.-6. 2017 with the same line up like this year.
I am looking forward to Joe Krieg's new cd! I am excited how it will sound, he recorded it with my guitars, a J17X Standard and a J18H Brigit.
Check this out: Bruce Forman teams up with Scott Henderson for real guitar porn. Talking guitars nonstop every Monday for quite an hour.
Great views inside the experiences of seasoned pros...
Finally done and my customer was happy to pick it up eventually: His new seven string J18X Augsuta with fan-fret fingerboard.
The fanned frets result of two different scale lenghts used for each the highest and lowest string. The e'-string has a lenght of 64,4cm/25,35", the A'-string has 70cm/29,16".
This order was prety much a challenge since I had to design a completely new headstock in order to match the geometry of the strings to the angled end of the fingerboard.
Furthermore we needed a special design for the pickup, which Harry Haeussel luckyly enough could provide.
According to some feedback of my customer, he already got some very inspirational ideas out of his new guitar. Have fun swinging with it!
The second edititon of the HGGS will take place soon in Berlin on Oct. 31 - Nov 1. There will be about over 100 luthiers from allover the world to display high end guitars of all genres.
I will be there too with some of my inventory guitars and together we will make this an unforgetable happening.
The German archtop scene will meet, finally again. A bunch of archtop enthusiasts have gathered to put up a meeting of all and everybody who is into archtop guitars in Germany. On Nov. 21 we meet in Kandel near Karlsruhe, in the southwest of Germany. ther will be a guitar show on which I will be displaying all of my inventory guitars. they will be demonstrated by Wesley G., in a little concert and during the show at my booth.
there will be lots of music going on, workshops will be held.
So, stop by and make this meeting a ball!
An unfearful customer ordered this J18 Augsuta with fan fret neck. I could convince him of the benefits of a longer scale lenght for the bass strings. The sound gains power, becomes more concise and direct, which has a very postiv impact ont the seventh string. With a regular scale lenght the seventh string often lacks tension.
But it looks weirder than it feels. You can grab your chords and voicings like usual, it is just optic wise deranged. At once the modified geometry of the neck necessitated a new design of the headstock.
But, I think it looks not too bad, does it?
The new category "Media" is online. Here you find a list of cds which are recorded with the participation of Sonntag guitars.
On the one hand my own demo cds. Unfortunately they are out of stock but can reordered as hard drive copies for a service charge.
Furthermore you will find cds of professional artists who used my guitars on their recordings.
Another main part of the media site are videos.
You can watch a documentary of the Bavarian tv company on my workshop.
And you can watch clips, recorderd with professional guitarists demonstrating my instruments live.
This collection is ment to grow in the course of time.
Three beauties back from finishing. In a week's time they will be completed and their new owners can stop by to pick them up.
From left to right: J18X Augusta(honey blond), J18H Brigit(Cognac-sunburst), J17X Standard(honey blond)
Almost gone to South Tyrol. Looking forward to hanging out with great people, lots of music and easy living at beautiful Schloss Hotel Korb.
Sonntag guitars on the road again: I will attend the guitar fair in Paris and display m ymodels to the French guitarists.
I hope they show up numerously.
All information on the show here:
Sonntag player Joe Krieg has recorded a beautiful demo clip with four of my guitars. Joe has composed an original neamed "Lukas".
Here are the guitars and how they are used:
Intro/Outro solo: J15 Weltklang
1. Jazz-Solo: J17H Elektra
2. Jazz-Solo: J17H Brigit
Accompanyment: J17X Standard
I believe Joe did a great job in playing those guitars so that you can hear the particular sound qualitiy of each guitar. Apart of that he composed wonderful music. I am almost hypnotized when listening to this piece of music.
I highly recomment Joe's website and his work: www.joekrieg.de, check it out!
Soon a new column will be installed on this website on which you can find audio/video clips with sound samples of my guitars, played by professional guitarists. "Lukas" wil be there too.
Click on the link below to hear "Lukas"
Finally, the new Weltklang model is back from laquering!
I will have it and other new models professionally photographed. Then those new guitars will be listed in the model page on the website with accurate characteristics.
New models are:
Vinnie Bass (not yet finihed)
As of now the Weltklang is an official inventory guitar and ready for being tried out.
The first version of the Holy Grail Show in Berlin was abig success. About 110 exhibitors got together at the Estrel Hotel to celebrate a fest of the handmade guitar.
Organized by luthiers for luthiers, that was the motto of the show. No industry made guitars were allowed at the show. Exclusively boutique guitar builders were accepted who focus on the highest quality of material and sound. This resulted in a gathering of top level guitars which is to date unique in Europe.
The audience appreciated that. It was big fun as exhibitor to work with an audiance who is aware of quality of handmade guitars and who can estimate the efforts of the guitar builders.
Kudos to the team of organisers. They managed to put together a tremendous guitar show with enormous personal performance.
If the word spreads out on this years guitar show where the creme de la creme of guitar builders is presented, a much bigger audience is to be expected for the Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015.
The first Vinnie-Bass has left my shop.It is constructed of solid spruce and maple and has a sustainblock inside the body. This construction provides a dry, growling, vintage sound with lots of mids. Therefore I named the bass Vinnie.
This paticular example is equipped with a short scale neck, 76cm/29.92". But you can also have it with a 86cm/33.85 scale.
Haeussel-humbucker produce a direct and finely nuanced sound very lively and dynamic.
By splitting the humbuckers you can choose between transparent and clean to fat and mean.
Back from the 10th Workshop in Maussane, we are full of great impressions and inspirations. Our team of instructors Mimi Fox and Uli Hoffmeier did a tremendous job.
For all who missed it here is a selection of pictures which hopefully reproduce the nice and easy atmosphere of the workshop
Up to date there was no other chance to purchase a new Sonntag guitar but directly from my shop. As of now my guitars are also available at Musik Müller in Bern/Switzerland.
I am happy that this small but nice shop is courageous enough to add guitars from a small guitar manufactory to their programm. It is great to see a dealer stands the ground and offers other archtops to the customer which does not bear the usual name on the headstock.
At this point many thanks to Stefan Kunz, head of the guitar department at Musik Müller. He convinced his boss to try other paths beside the mainstream road.
This initiative was rewarded immediately: Recently I delivered their first J17H Brigit. The next day Stefan Kunz called me and told me the guitar is sold and he wants to order another one!
Tommy Müller was kind enough to play some notes on the unfinished semiacoustic bass.
It produces a mean vintage sound. But unlike the ones of former times it is made of solid woods, spruce and maple. This results in a very lively and direct attack and long sustain. But dry like dust and growling like a wolf.
My list of basses expands dramatically. Right now a new unfinished bass is ready for playing.
The top is made of spruce, the back is maple, just like my guitars. The construction is identical to the Weltklang model.
It has a short scale, 76cm/29.92", the pickups are made by Haeussel. They produce a Jazz bass sound. EBM has custom tailored the bridge unit, thanks a lot for that!
Thanks to the hollow body the bass sounds real smooth and plays like butter due to the short scale.
It was ordered like that. I am curious how my customer reacts when he touches it for the first time.
Now I've got to find a name for it...
There is a change in the business structure of Calton Cases: In 2013 the production of the cases has been moved completely to Austin/ Texas, U.S.A. . There they are being built exclusively now. According to the EU distributor in England several improvements were introduced :
"The top gelcoat is of a much more professional standard, the seals and bumpers have been revised and improved and all catches come with individual rubber protectors. All cases now come with embedded ID chips."
See, even in case construction digitalization has found it's way into. But after all the cases can be tracked down then...
Unfortunately prices have risen considerably too.
Information on prices on request. At least the cases still can be customized to individual measurements.
In the course of prehistory evolution took some time to improve the species. Same in my workshop: After being completed new models need adjustments and I try new details occasionally.
I have lightened the bridge of the Baron now and behold, the attack immediately became more dynamic, the sustain got extended and the sound is more transparent now.
From Palaeozoic to Mesozoic, see what other improvements will happen...
Now you can listen to the Blusette and the Baron bass. There are sound samples of a concert which Dietmar Liehr on guitar and Oliver Bosch on bass were playing. They asked for borrowing the instruments for their gig which I happyly did.
I was curious about the sound how it turns out in a live situation. I think both the performance of the musicians and the sound of the instruments are very good!
Recently the Liehr-Bosch-Zeitner-Trio played in a pub in Augsburg. Dietmar Liehr did me the favour to give my new J16 Weltklang a chance and played it on the gig.
They played a nice concerrt!
And I think the Weltklang plays nicely too. Fat tone with lot of wood and a nice smack which can do the Scofield too if necessary.
Check it out!
On November 15./16. 2014 the first guitar convent of the European Guitar Builders will happen in Berlin.
I am looking forward to be displaying there as a member of the European Guitar Builders.
This show will gather an exclusive list of luthiers who committed themselves to produceing handmade guitars only.
Therefore this convent will be an highly interesting meeting and an illustrious show of exquisite guitars.
All kinds of guitars will be on display, from classical to solidbody to archtops.
Stop by, you won't regret it!
Christian Lederer, rhythm guitar player and singer in the "Zugspitztrio", could check out his new unfinished J16H Ballade. He was thrilled after strumming the first few chords, "super", was his commentary. Chrsitian Ledere is one of the best rhythm guitar players I know. In his hands the guitar blasted like a rocket. As you can see on the picture, his eys were gleaming!
Ideally he would have taken the guitar with him. But unfortunately the guitar must sent to being finished first. Just six weeks sleeping yet, Christian, then the guitar will be completed.
We are back from wonderful days at the Workshop 2014 at the wonderful Schlss Hotel Korb near Bolzano/Italy. I was very glad to welcome many new participants and according to the feedback everybody was more than satisfied after the course.
Soon I will publish a review at this place. For a start here are some impressions which hopefully illustrate the pleasant athmosphere during those days.
A new inventory guitar is ready in the shop: The J17H Brigit.
The name is derived from (Hy)bri(d) Guit(ar). Hybrid means the construction of the top, which is arranged in two zones: A thick part underneath the pickup and a thinly elaborated part underneath the bridge.
The goal of this construction is to get a warm, midranged electric tone without losing the powerful and clear acoustic sound.
The pickup is a topmount humbucker which provides the typical jazz sound. But still the guitar sounds acoustic enough to easily cut through in jam situations.
Those who want to check if this concept can convince are warmly invited to visit my workshop for test playing.
Damn, something went wrong, but what is it?
Hell no, fun aside. The modification of Uli Hoffmeiers seven string J16h Ballade turned out pretty well. He wished to try a new neck with fan fret fingerboard, which means high e-string and lowest bass-string have different scale lenghts. Here it is 63cm/24.8" and 70cm/ 27.55". Thus results those fan like arranged frets.
What looks rather frightening on the first sight is not too bad to play on the second. you can use your normal and usual hand positions. I.e. you can grip a bar chord rectangular to the fingerboard, like usual. It is just that you have to get used to the different optical appearance, but that works out pretty fast.
This fan fret system is a big benefit for the sound of the bass strings, particularly for the seventh string. Due to the longer string lenght this string has more punch and sounds clearer, rounder and more dynamic. That applies for the other bass strings as well.
Therefore I figure this system could work pretty well on a regular six string guitar too.
The pick up is custom made by Haeussel Pickups
Recently I had the chance for 15 min fame, like Andy Warhol once postulated.
The Bavarian TV company filmed in my workshop to make a nice feature. Unfortunately the broadcast is in German, but you can watch some nice pictures and hear some music anyway.
Sad that the show is only 3 min long, so I need to gain the remaining 12 min extra.
Once again, here are three links to videos on which a J17X Standard is nicely demonstrated. Andreas Schulz from Akustik Gitarre magazine produced them accompanying to a review on the guitar for that magazine.
The guitar realy sounds nice on those videos...
Currently a new model is under construction in my workshop: The new guitar is a solid body like a ES 335. But with the difference that my model is constructed from solid wood, alder and maple top. The body remains solid underneath the hardware. Around it a cavitiy is machined away. This construction results in a woody and dry sound.
The scale lenght of 64,4cm/25.35" provides a solid twang to prevent the guitar from sounding muddy.
The pickups are a set of Andreas Kloppmann. A 59er is mounted in bridge position, a 62er at the neck. The sound of those pickups are pretty lively with a good dynamic range, which makes them react very sensitiv to the pick.
The 62er has strong low mids which you like in a jazzy sound. The bridge pickup cuts like a knife so that you can really rock'n roll.
circuit offers a nice feature: The idea was to split the pickups from humbucker to single coil. According to Andreas Kloppmann the pickups lose sound when constructed like this. Therefore a Bass-Cut-control is included which cuts off the ultra deep bass frequencies. This makes the pickup sound like a single coil without altering the pickup.
Now the guitar will be send for finishing. In few weeks it will be back in the workshop and ready for being tested.
We are back from the 9th Workshop in Provence, which again was hold at the georgeous Hotel Val Baussenc.
It was lush life, with lots of music and swing. The instructors Anthony Wilson and Uli Hoffmeier did a great job by teaching and passing on their ideas. So the students were richly fed with information on how to improve their playing. Which keeps them busy practicing at home for plenty of time.
For those who could not join in I arranged a picture album, which hopefully gives you an idea of the good mood we were in during the days in Maussane.
Click on the picture to read the comment.
Tiny and small, but hopefully with a big impact: The "Bargains" are brought to the surface from the deepness of the menu.
As of now you find those guitars meant for direct sale with the button in the headline of the staritng page, see picture.
From top left to low right:
- J17X Standard, Antique Sunburst
- J16X Ballade, Nature, Direct Sale
- J16H Historic model
- German model, 1950/60?
- J17H Elektra, Cognac Sunburst
- J18X Augusta, Antique Sunburst, Direct Sale
- J17H Standard, Cognac Sunburst
- J17H Allegria, Nature
- J16H Ballade, Wine Red
- J17X Standard, Honey Blond
- J17H Standard, Black/Red Sunburst
And here's another newy: A J17H Standard with a P90. Which does not appear so special on the first sight.
But the pickup has a very unique mounting method: It is not fixed to the top but sits on a foot which is an extension of the neck block. That leaves the top vibrating freely so that the acoustic sound of the guitar is in no way limited. And still the pickup has its full power without frequencies being deleted by the vibration of the top.
Thanks to my customer who came up with this idea!
There are situations where you wish to have a handy bass, which is not too bulky but has yet a real deep tone.
Currently I am producing such an instrument which should meet those demands.
This bass has a body size of combined 17" and 18", and real deep sides in order to produce the low frequencies with this big volume inside the body.
The scale lenght is 78cm/30.7", roughly shortscale. The neck is fretless but with marking stripes inlayed.
When designing this bass I had me inspired by the Mexican Guitaron. This produces a hell of a bass tone which is loud and projecting, even if it has a very short scale but a huge body.
Besides bass players I want to adress guitarists with this instrument, who do not want to struggle learning double bass and to whom a double bass is too big to park in an apartement.
Soon the body will be completed. I am excited to hear how this big box will sound...
...that's it, it's done.
Meanwhile I exchanged the bridge to a one piece maple bridge. Which makes the more direct and present.
The bass sounds round and full. It completes the band in the low registers and supports the sound very nicely.
Some prominent guys were recently visiting my workshop: Martin Spitzer and Diknu Schneeberger from Vienna had to spend an off day. So they took the chance to stop by and check out my guitars. Martin Spitzer was particularly interested in my hybrid models. Those are constructed as a mixture of electric and acoustic.
After a spontanous session he realised that this hybrid model is exactly what he needed and ordered a wine red J16H Ballade with a pointed cutaway.
And along the way I could enjoy a relaxed version of "Autumn Leaves" in the midth of the afternoon.
Bavarian guitarist Christian Lederer with his band "Zugspitz Trio" and his J18X Augusta had the pleasure to be invited to a luxury stay at the Plaza Athénée Hotel in Paris for the second time. There they performed Bavarian style to swing music their way, which means marching from table to table, playing unplugged.
Among the guests where famous actors Alain Delon, Mario Adorf, John Tood and Pierre Brice.
Christian Lederer puts it like that: "For this way of making music the Sonntag J18 Augusta is suited like no other guitar".
Thank you Chrtistian!
There is a new workshop for jazz guitar coming up in April 2013: Helmut Nieberle, Howard Alden and Jeanne Gies will team up at a gorgeous country house hotel near Bolzano/South Tyrol-Italy. The class will take four days. Jeanne Gies will master a vocal group.
It is the perfect place for hanging out and playing music all day long.
You will find all information on the course in the announcement.
From top left to bottom right:
J16H Allegria/7-String, building shell
J16H Elektra, blue, sale on commission
J16H Ballade, cognac
old German model, maybe 50s?
Heritage Sweet 16, sale on commission
J18X Augusta, antique-sunburst
J17H Ballade, nature, sale on commission
Jazz Uke, body shell
J16H Ballade wine red
J16X Allegria, body shell
The Realist piezo pickup is now installed on a spec guitar and ready to go.
This pickup is perfect for amplifying the real acoustic sound.
It consists of two piezo elements, laminated into copper foil which is just placed under the bridge. This has to advantages:
The piezo elements not only pick up the strings but also the vibration of the top. Thus provides a much more round and colourful sound.
The second advantage is, no altering on the guitar is necessary.
The foil can be placed under every bridge and can even be ordered to individual measurments.
Check out these links to videos where you can see and hear Sonntag guitars.
Thanks to my customer Dolf Schaller for providing:
And thanks to those employees of a big German TV-company for making this film about my workshop. It is their trainee project which I think is very well done and hopefully interesting and informative
to the film
There is a change of tutors to be announced for the workshop in Provence 2012. Unfortunately John Pisano had to cancel his participation at our Workshop on short notice. This is uttermost regrettable because John is one of those guitarists who where around when Jazz was about to develop. He surely could have given the attendees many of his experiences and treasurable tips and tricks to take with them. It is very sad that we must relinquish such a tremendous guitarist.
For good luck the search for a substitute did not take long: Anthony Wilson, also from Los Angeles, agreed to step in and he even was free to come to our workshop week at Maussane.
We are very happy to have him as a help. But help is not the right expression. Anthony already had agreed to join in at the future workshop in 2013. So we just antedated his appearance.
In addition he is a master of his trade. This is proofed by the list of musicians he already had played with. A quick glance on his webseite tells us that Anthony Wilson not only feels at home in Jazz but he has an open view for various stiles. We are excited what he will deliver out of his musical treasure chest
For those who are ready to go on short term, we have two spare seats in the workshop due to cancellations. So do not hesitate and get a chance to join in at our workshop in Provence
Recently I completed a custom made guitar, built to special demands of my customer. It is a J18H D'Aquisto with an 18 1/2" body and two topmount Lindy Fralin P90 pickups.
This guitar is biiig! It is built for amplified use and with the two P90s it makes big fun to turn up the amp and kick ass. That is what my customer has in mind, he is playing Rockabilly.
On the other side you can also produce a deep jazz sound, clear like a single coil shoud do but with enough smoothness to feel jazzy.
It made big fun to make this guitar since such a special order does not come in often. I am curious on the feedback of my customer, when he eventually will have broken in the guitar. He will take it on tour to Spain in July...
With this picture I open a coloumn which offers a view on my wall of inventory guitars in my showroom.
In periodical intervals guitars are done or interesting repair work comes in. By showing a picture of the "Wall of the Month" I want to give an impression of such guitars and inventory guitar.
The pictures will be updated as necessary.
On this picture you se from top left to down right:
Jazz Uke, old German Archtop, J16H (my very first archtop I sarted out with),Gibson L3, J16H Ballade, J18H D'Aquisto, J17H Elektra, J18X Augusta, J17X Standard, J17H Allegria, Heritage "Sweet 16"
When an instrument has eventually been given to the customer after completion, it is always a good sign when you never hear again from him. Because then you know everything is okay with the guitar.
But every once in a while it makes me happy to read such lines like these, from a pleased customer from the U.S.A:
It has been a few years, but I am sure recall the Augusta you made for me.
I want you to know that I have enjoyed your beautifully crafted instrument that sounds better with each passing year. If you recall, I am fortunate to possess a fine collection of high end jazz guitars made by Gibson and several of the most highly regarded luthiers today.
Most of my instruments have pickups, but I wanted a top notch acoustic for classic rhythm work and as an instrument to play solo when no amplification is needed.
The guitar you made for me is my “go to” guitar when I play by myself. It has by far the best acoustic tone and projection of any of my instruments. You do marvelous work and I am so pleased that I commissioned this fine instrument from you.
There are news from my former guitar teacher:
Fred Norman, the best mainstream jazz guitarist in Augsburg at that time, in the mid 90s, has released a cd with nice live recordings. You can get it through his website, see link below.
Unfortunately Fred Norman has left Augsburg a long while ago and moved back to Ohio, U.S.A. .
I congratulate the friends of jazz guitar there. Since then they can please themselves with listening to Freds profound and tasteful playing and can benefit from his teaching.
All the best, Fred!
Currently a gigantic Version of my J18 D'Aquisto model is waiting for completion: A customer ordered this model with a 18 1/2" body. This size was also produced by John D'Angelico, so alas, I do it too.
My version is equiped with two Gibson P90 pickups so that the guitar can also be used in an Rockabilly environment.
The neck pickup sounds round, fat and very jazzy. The bridge pickup adds sharp highs and a lot of twang. Both ones have this very nice single coil transparency which leaves this special airness to the tone .
Due to the heavyly built body the pickups provide a full sound and a lot of sustain.
Now the guitar has to be finished and then, when the guitar will be completed in a few weeks, I am excited how my customer reacts when he can lay his hands on the guitar for the very first time...
Now it's done: Finally Helmut Nieberle could lay his hands on his newly completed, seven string J16H Ballade. He checked it out immediately during a weekend guitar workshop at Augsburg.
At this occasion he was very pleased with sound, playability and handling. I hope he still will be after having played gigs, where it really counts. I am cofident...
Rythm guitar player Christian Lederer from Bavaria played a great job at the five star hotel Plaza Athénée in Paris. On the occasion of Werner Küchler's 40 years of leading the restaurant, there was a big party being hold with many proms and illustrous guests.
Christian Lederer was booked with his Zugspitz Trio + Clarinet to do what they can do best: Playing at tables, entertaning guests with songs played in situ acoustically. As you can tell from the picture, actors Mario Adorf and Alan Delon were very pleased by that performance.
Christian Lederer states "...that's the situation for which the Sonntag J18 Augusta was made for, where it works best..."
(I wish that he will book me as his guitar tech one day for an occasion like this, sigh...)
What the hell, does Grammy Award winner John Pzzarelli play Sonntag guitars now? Unfortunately no.
But when he was playing a gig at Berlin he took the chance to play some bars on a Sonntag J17X Augusta sevenstring.
Sonntag player Malibu Gordes was sitting in the audience and lend his guitar to John Pizzarelli for playing some tunes.
I feel that this Augusta suits him all right...
Recently Armin Bonner from Austria was visiting my workshop for checking out his new J17H Standard.
He ordered it with the option wood binding, which was done on this particular guitar with Ebony. Looks very stylish! And even better when it will be finished with the colour "Cognac".
Apparently Armin has fun playing the guitar already. And even Max Raabe, the singer of the famous German "Palastorchester" (where, by the way, another Sonntag J18X Augusta serves its duty, played by Uli Hoffmeier, the tutor of my popular South of France guitar workshops) who watches him over the shoulder, is well pleased...
The German jazz guitar organisation "Archtop Germany" held its regular meeting at Castle Almoshof near Nuremberg.
It is a meeting of everybody who has got to do with archtop jazz guitars in Germany and the German speaking area. So there gather guitar players, professionals and amateurs, luthiers and guitar dealers to hold a convention which is quite unique all over Europe.
There is a guitar exhibition where a great number of notable archtop guitar makers display their guitars. There are concerts all over the day and workshops for guitar playing, guitar manintainenance and demonstration of guitar gear.
Some of Germanie's leading guitarists could be seen strolling through the halls. Among others Sonntag workshop tutors Michael Arlt and Helmut Nieberle, his duo partner Helmut Kagerer, Alex Jung and Philipp Stauber. Thomas Brendgens-Mönkemeyer was performing an afertnoon concert which can be seen on YouTube: http://youtu.be/9skcF_6FmRQ
We are looking forward to the next Archtop Meeting.
Recently Sonntag player Helmut Nieberle from Regensburg/Germany was visiting my workshop to check out his new 7-string J16H Ballade.
The shell construction was done and it was ready to be rang for the first time. It rang exquisitely!
At the moment the guitar is being finished, Helmut wanted to have it finished in the classic colour wine red. We can look forward to hear Helmut play the Ballade soon on stage. Maybe together with Howard Alden at the Kemptener Jazzfrühling in Southern Germany on May 2nd. I am excited...
Here are links to some nice videos where Sonntag Archtops can be seen and heard:
Mark Whitfield is booked for a guitar workshop in Germany. It will be held at the Musikschule Laemmle at Kerpen/Sindorf near Cologne on 21.1./22.1.2012. In addition Mark Whitfield will play a solo concert.
Congratulations to Thomas Lämmle, the boss of the Musikschule, that he managed to invite this exceptional guitarist to Germany.
More infos and application on www.musikschule-laemmle.de
Sonntag Guitars will be displaying his instruments.
The Jazz Guitar Workshop 2011 with Howard Alden and Uli Hoffmeier at Maussane/Provence is over.
You will find a review at this point in a few days. Pictures are available already, click in the link below.
More pictures are available in the archive of my webmaster Dietmar Liehr.
An audio file of the final concert is avaiable on request, please send me a message. Thanks to Dietmar Liehr at this point for the recording!
On order of a customer I have built a "quasi" solidbody guitar, alternating the orders for my regular archtops: Following the design of my customer I created a guitar with a massiv body made of ash and maple, the neck made of cedro and ebony.
The sides of the body are holed, the middle part remained solid. The maple top was arched like my big archtops.
Due to the hollow chambers the sound of the guitar is enriched with woody, hollow frequencies which remind of an ES 335, but dont' get too strong. So the whole thing is an interesting mix of a semi-acoustic and solidbody guitar.
The electric sound is generated by two Haussel Pickups. The neck position sounds very fat, which you definitely can use for jazzy playing, the neck pickup makes a nice twang without becoming too brash. The middle position produces a smooth sound, clear enough to contrast the two single positions.
Check out the sound of the guitar, click here and here. The samples are played by the owner himself.
A new Haeussel pickup for acoustic Archtop guitars is available. It is a floating humbucker with a double row of pole pieces. With these twelve pole pieces you can do very fine adjustment of the strings.
The pickup is available in gold, nickel and black.
Rolf Mach from the German town Nieder-Olm has gotten his new J17 and writes:
"...meine beiden Bläser waren in der Probe vom Sound der Gitarre begeistert - und alles ohne Amp.
Die Selmer wird es ab sofort schwer haben. Deine hat mehr "Muskel" und scheint fast lauter.
Danke noch mal für das wunderschöne Instrument!!!"
"...at the rehearsal my two horn players were stunned by the sound of the guitar- and all without amp.
The Selmer will have competition. Yours has more "muscle" and seems to be even louder.
Once more thanks for the wonderful instrument!!!"
Thank you Rolf for the comment!
Bruce Forman's Western Swing band Cow Bop was in the studio, the new cd is available on iTunes or on Cow Bop's website now: "Too Hick For The Room".
Absolutely recommendable, cowboys play bebop..!
The CD features some guest musicians such as Roger Kellaway, Allan Mezquita, Andy Martin and Joe Bagg
On Easter Sunday a splendid trio met at the club "Alte Mälzerei" in Regensburg/ Bavaria: Howard Alden, Helmut Nieberle and Helmut Kagerer gathered up for a meeting on the stage and played a wonderfl concert. Watch some videos on YouTube
Recently I was happy to welcome Berlin based guitarist Torsten Goods. He was in search of new possibilities to amplify his archtop acousticly. I offered him a Realist pickup. This is a piezo foil put between bridge base and top. Torsten liked this pickup very much so I installed it on his guitar then. I am excited if the Realist will please Torsten on his gigs.
By the way, on the picture Torsten tries Helmut Nieberle's 7-string, which was in my workshop for some service work. Maybe Torsten takes a fancy to it...
Watch this video about the production process at Hiscox Cases
Here is a link to a video which shows Howard Alden and Helmut Nieberle. The video was shot during a rehearsal for their new cd in October. They play a wonderful Musette-waltz, "Valse Gazeuse", which was previously recorded of Helmut for my demo cd Vol.1 some years ago. Unfortunately this cd is out of stock.
There is good news for all fans of jazz guitar duos, especially 7-string jazz guitar duos: The second week of November Howard Alden and Helmut Nieberle met up at Bobtail Studios in the little town of Abensberg in Bavaria to record their first cd. It is needless to introduce these guitarists. If you are listening to jazz guitar music you will have heard of them.
Since they started their cooperation in 2009, that teamwork peaks in this cd project. I was lucky enough to be there on the last day of the recording session, and I can ascertain that Helmut and Howard played very relaxed and they have recorded more than enough good music. You may look forward to this cd!
In addition to that I am very pleased with the fact that Howard Alden played his new J17X/7 Standard on a few tunes. This guitar was not yet finished but playable and Helmut and Howard were very delighted by the sound of the guitar.
The release of the cd will be duly advertised on Helmut Nieberle's webite.
Very sad, the Jazz Guitar Course 2010 in the Provence is over. It was a tremendous week with many nice people who shared the passion of playing jazz guitar. Our tutors Uli Hoffmeier and Bruce Forman gave a convincing and inspiring performance and supplied the participants with lots of information, deep background and many tips on playing jazz guitar.
We felt immediately at home and very cared for the second time we spent the week at the wonderful Hotel Val Baussenc. The staff cried for us after we left since not only we miss the sessions and the music which was going on all day and all night long.
This week is documented in Pictures (File "Maussane Masterclass 2010", click on the picture to read the full subtitel) and Music. Check it out, there are georgeous impressions and a download of the recording of the public concert.
For all who missed the course or are intrigued by this review, date and tutors for 2011 are already set: The course will take place on October 25th-29th, the tutors are again Ulrich Hoffmeier, guitarist of the famous German "Palastorchester" and the fabulous 7-string player Howard Alden from New York.
We are looking forward to a new workshop at the Val Baussenc with many nice participants.
My models are available with improved wood binding with immediate effect. Until now this option was only available with wood stripes around the body. But now it is possible to bind fingerboard, headstock and even the f-holes with wood.
This is a nice optical alternative to the classic white plastic-, or Celluloid-binding and gives the guitar a very classy look!
Sonntag Guitars has launched the new 14" model. With immediate effect the new Sonntag J14 with the handy size is listed on the model site. The pictures show a seven-string J14 owned by Ulrich Hoffmeier.
After 16 years at the Hans-Adlhoch-Strasse, which was meant as a " stopgap solution", Sonntag Guitars will move to a new venue. This used to be a former cabinet maker's workshop which was purchased and renovated and is situated just some streets away from the old address.
The new adress of Sonntag guitars is:
Färberstr. 40a, 86157 Augsburg/Germany
Phone, fax and e-mail will be retained.
Sonntag Guitars is looking foward to meeting you at the new workshop.
Watch Robin Nolan and his Sonntag J17H"Standard" jamming with Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings.