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Albani  

Patrizio Barbieri

Italian makers of stringed keyboard instruments. At least four builders of this name were active during the 16th and 17th centuries, three of whom are known to have been members of the same Roman family. Documents show that from at least 1623 onwards Andrea Albani (...

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Albert  

Philip J. Kass

Family of violin makers and dealers. John Albert (b Liel, Baden, Germany, 24 June 1809; d Philadelphia, PA, 2 Jan 1900) began as an engineer and inventor. He came to New York from Freiburg, Germany, in 1854 as a refugee of the 1848...

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Ramón Hernández

Twelve-string instrument sharing some similarities with an acoustic guitar. Although its exact origins are unclear, the bajo sexto appeared in Mexico during the late 1800s and has gained popularity since that time. The instrument is tuned lower than a typical acoustic guitar, hence the bajo...

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Baschet  

Hugh Davies and Laura Maes

French sound sculptors and instrument inventors. Bernard (b Paris, France, 24 Aug 1917) and his brother François (b Paris, France, 30 March 1920) developed a variety of sound sculptures and new instruments under the generic name Structures sonores. Bernard Baschet trained and originally worked as an engineer, and then (...

Article

(b Naumburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, Jan 1, 1805; d Leipzig, Germany, May 26, 1871). German bow maker. He studied violin making with J.B. Fritsche in Dresden and set up his own shop there in the 1820s. About 1830 he moved to Dessau where he remained until ...

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Bazin  

Philip J. Kass

Family of French bow makers. François Bazin (b Mirecourt, France, 10 May 1824; d Mirecourt, 1 Aug 1865) worked primarily for the trade in a style much influenced by Peccatte and Maire. His son Charles Nicolas (b Mirecourt, 24 April 1847; d...

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Laurence Libin

(b Coleman County, TX, March 18, 1899; d at sea nr Los Angeles, CA, March 30, 1941). American inventor of musical instruments. He was co-founder of the National Stringed Instrument Corporation and the Rickenbacker guitar company. He played the violin and the lap steel (‘Hawaiian’) guitar in vaudeville before settling in Los Angeles, where he worked with John and Rudy Dopyera to develop an acoustically amplified guitar, probably inspired by Stroh models. An early model with a Victrola horn failed, but trials using conical aluminium resonators within a metal guitar body (a prototype of the three-cone Dobro guitar) proved successful and attracted investors. Production of metal-body guitars under the name National soon involved Adolph Rickenbacker’s nearby tool and die shop....

Article

Kenneth Sparr

(b Askersund, Sweden, 1717; d Stockholm, Sweden, 1763). Swedish luthier, active in Stockholm from 1736. He made bowed and plucked instruments and was inspired by Guersan and the old Parisian school, as was his apprentice Johan Öberg. Some of his instruments are stamped ‘S. BECKMAN’ and numbered. In ...

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Philip J. Kass

(b Naples, Italy, Feb 24, 1907; d Naples, Italy, 1979). Italian violin maker. He was the son of Riccardo Bellarosa, a professor of violin at the Naples Conservatory, and initially studied under Vito Vitantonio in Rotello. In the late 1920s he studied briefly in Mittenwald, and later in Rome under Rodolfo Fredi. About ...

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Laurence Libin

(b Bronx, NY, Oct 22, 1946). American luthier, notable for handmade archtop jazz guitars. In childhood he learned woodworking from his father, a skilled cabinetmaker, and music from an uncle, a violinist; his grandfather had worked for Steinway & Sons. A visit to the Gretsch guitar factory in Brooklyn fueled his interest in the instrument; he played a Chet Atkins model 6120 guitar from ...

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Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

(fl Como, Italy, c1758–89). Italian violin maker. According to his labels he was a pupil of Giuseppe Guadagnini (spelt Guadagnino on Beretta’s early instruments). Certainly his work follows the Guadagnini school and his better instruments share many similarities with the violins of Giuseppe Guadagnini, though the varnish, varying from brown to yellow, is markedly inferior. Some scrolls, possibly the earlier ones, have rather open turns and are not especially graceful. The workmanship, although adequate, shows a lack of finish. His instruments of the 1780s are usually valued the highest and are good tonally....

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Laurence Libin

(b Madrid, Spain, July 2, 1932). Spanish guitar maker. He became interested in guitar making while studying the classical guitar with Daniel Fortea, a pupil of Tárrega. He was apprenticed in 1954 to Ramírez and rose to become head of that famous workshop, leaving in ...

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Charles Beare

French family of violin makers. Auguste Sebastien Philippe Bernardel (b Mirecourt, 24 Jan 1798; d Bougival, 1870), known as Bernardel père, was apprenticed as a violin maker in Mirecourt before moving to Paris to work for Lupot and Charles François Gand. He opened his own workshop in Paris in ...

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Allison A. Alcorn

(b Elgin, IL, Dec 12, 1899; d Downey, CA, June 7, 1968). American guitar maker and inventor, known as the father of the electric solid-body guitar. Before World War I he was a patternmaker at a machine shop in Los Angeles. After the war he became a motorcycle racer known as ‘P.A.’, a nickname that carried into later life. During World War II, Bigsby designed parts for US Navy ships. As a guitarist, Bigsby played with an amateur country and western band, and in ...

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Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet

(b Soresina, Italy, April 2, 1929). Italian violin maker. Bissolotti was trained initially as a woodcarver and engraver in Castelleone, and subsequently learned marquetry and cabinetmaking in Cantù. He attended the Scuola Internazionale di Liuteria di Cremona (S.I.L.C.) from 1957 to 1961 and studied with Pietro Sgarabotto, Giuseppe Ornati, Luigi Galimberti, and Simone Fernando Sacconi. Shortly after graduating Bissolotti opened his own workshop in Cremona, constructing mainly violins and occasionally other string instruments including lutes and guitars. Sacconi shared Bissolotti’s workshop most summers from ...

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Jaak Liivoja-Lorius and Philip J. Kass

(b Mirecourt, France, Feb 10, 1851; d Lyons, France, 1912). French violin maker. He was apprenticed in Mirecourt to Auguste Darte, a pupil of Vuillaume, in 1865; thereafter, he worked for a number of shops, including those of Daniel in Marseilles and, after ...

Article

Philip J. Kass

(bc1707; d Paris, France, 1756). French luthier. He was born in a small town in the Champagne region. In 1725, assisted by his cousin, the composer Michel Pignolet de Montéclair, he bought the workshop of Nicolas Bertrand. He ran a successful business under the sign ‘à la guitare royale’, catering to clients for all sorts of instruments, but his speciality remained violins. He was master of the Violin Makers’ Guild in ...

Article

Allison A. Alcorn

(b Paris, France, April 10, 1898; d Crouttes, France, Aug 15, 1986). French painter, sculptor and guitar maker. Bouchet taught at the École des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and turned to lutherie relatively late, constructing his first guitar in 1946. He never took up the craft full time and was largely self-taught, beginning after observing Julián Gómez Ramírez (...

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John Milnes

(b Mirecourt, France, 1823; d London, England, 1889). French violin maker active in London. He is supposed to have served a three-year apprenticeship with J.B. Vuillaume and a further three years with Charles Gand, both in Paris. He came to London in 1849...

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Jaak Liivoja-Lorius

(b London, England, Aug 29, 1952). English bow maker. From 1967 to 1972 he was apprenticed to W.E. Hill & Sons, after which he worked with John Clutterbuck for five years. Bows made during this partnership are branded J.S. RAMEAU, with the initials SB or JC to signify the maker. In ...