Behind the Bar

EGB Symposium Oct 2016

Written by Bill Quinn

The EGB is an alliance formed by professional independent European luthiers.

They are dedicated to support each other by sharing knowledge, resources, and experience in order to preserve and innovate the art and craft of guitar building in Europe as a vital part of our musical culture.  The EGB are the organisers of the Holy Grail Guitar Show.  Prior to each show the EGB hosts a Symposium where knowledgeable industry folk present and discuss aspects of Luthiery. This year the Symposium ran over 2 days, 6th/7th October.  The themes covered are briefly described below.


Fabio Ragghianti

talked about what he believes is the finest source of soundboard spruce.  Picea Excelsia grown in the Latemar Forest.   The best wood is harvested from trees at around 1500m on the North Side of the Hill.   More on this later.



Pierre JournelPierre Journal

gave a lecture on how to increase your impact on the internet during a guitar show.  Pierre created La Chaine Guitare (The Guitar Channel) and is passionate about promoting all things guitar related.



Rauno_Nieminen_1626Rauno Nieminen and Professor Alexander Pfriem

discussed the thermal treatment of wood for instrument making.  I’ve written a longer article about their findings.




gary-southwellGary Southwell

gave a talk on the great luthier, Johann Georg Stauffer, covering his innovations and designs and how they influence guitar making today.




Cem Ocek

Cem Ocek

took a scientific look at how to “measure” tone.  He is interested to see if subjective opinion about tone can be replaced by techniques such as interferometry, resonance accelerometry and modal analysis.



Ulrich TeufelUlrich Teuffel

explored the use of Cad and CNC in bespoke guitar making.  While Ulrich is a firm believer in the craft of hand making he appreciates the scope to produce amazing designs that cannot be formed by hand.  Take a look at some of Ulrich’s incredible guitars.


Jamie GaleJamie Gale


took a look at how to be a Happy Luthier.  His experience in many aspects of the music business enable Jamie to comment on the boutique guitar market and how to be happy working in this business.

Round Table Discussions.

EGB Panel

There were several sessions of round table discussions.  The EGB fielded a panel of “experts” who offered their perspective on the world of luthiery.

One discussion was about how to make a living as a luthier.  As you may imagine this was a lively discussion with lots of audience participation.

The second session looked at where the profession is going in the future with contributors from the world of Media, Retail and Luthierie.



Outside of the formal sessions you’d find groups of luthiers in animated discussions about the topics being presented.  It is a brilliant place to share opinions, learn from other’s experience and to establish ongoing friendships in what can often be a solitary profession.

About the author

Bill Quinn

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