The North American Guitar | Unit 9, Waterside | 44-48 Wharf Road | London | N1 7UX
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Talking Guitar: Ulrich Teuffel

We recently got together with the master luthier and electric guitar icon Ulrich Teuffel to chat about his latest models, new designs, the history of Teuffel Guitars and our brand new Antonio model in Dark Brown that's just arrived at our London showroom.

Ben Montague: Hi Ulrich, tell us what's new in the world of Teuffel?

Ulrich Teuffel: I am working on a new version of the niwa model.  The guitar will be made from swithenia mahogany (Cuban Mahogany) with a translucent finish.

BM: For our reader can you tell us a little about where engineering and design background comes from?

UT: I love to research on how things and objects are made and how they were culturally been created when their time has come. I don't like to work in terms of drive by sight and to reenact objects.  I try to understand as deep as possible how things work in order to enrich myself with intellectual tools which give me the freedom to start guitar projects from the bottom.  After several years of working as a guitar builder, I decided in the 90ies to study industrial design to learn more about creative processes and cultural history. 

BM: Design is at the forefront of your brand, please tell us a little about the inspiration for such an iconic instrument as the Bird Fish?

UT: The inspiration came from my experience as a guitar maker.  Since Leo Fender's approach, an electric guitar is a modular guitar. The modularity of Fender's instruments follow the demands of an industrial production but modularity could as well follow several other paths such as visual convertibility or tonal convertibility.  My bird fish follows the path of tonal convertibility.  Tonal changes can be made easily without guitar making expertise.

 

Primarily I am a fan of the consonant tone of a Stratocaster. I love the percussive attack of these instruments as much as I love Steward Copeland' rimshots. I don't prefer particular genres played on my guitar.  As a music listener I do but as a luthier, I don't.

BM: Your Antonio model is regarded as one of the finest jazz instruments in the world, can you explain the role of having both hidden and visible resonance chambers on the guitar?

UT: I use sound chambers to give the tone a percussive attack.  The sound chambers can be placed where no wood fibres which are responsible for the bass response will be cut through.  This is the lower body bout and particularly for the attack, the place behind the bridge where much leverage can act.  The sound chambers could be all invisible but I decided to design the sound chamber behind the bridge as the five bracings quoting Antonio de Torres.

BM: The pick up on the Antonio is housed inside a sound hole-shaped piece of Ziricote, what effect does this have on the tone?

UT: I did this design to have enough access to the sound chamber of the lower body part but the design statement is the quote of the soundhole of a Torres guitar.

BM: How long did the design process for the Antonio take? And where did you draw your inspiration from?

UT: The inspiration came from the guitar history.  I wanted to design an electric guitar by going back deeper in the history than the retro guitar role models.  So I put a hundred years on top and picked the guitar of Antonio de Torres.  The design process took about one and a half years.

 

BM: Being one of the founding members of the EGB, you must take a huge sense of pride in the success of shows such as The Holy Grail and the support the network provides. 

UT: The pride is not on my side because I have been involved more deeply only in the initial phase of the EGB. I am really proud on all the others who made the rocket launch.  I am very proud of them.  I think no-one expected the impact of the EGB. The main aim in the beginning has been to establish an own guitar show after our needs and of course to own the intellectual and legal property of it.

After a few years the community aspect of the EGB became more important to me than commercial aspect.  Last year we had a symposium in vienna without a guitar show and this has been one of the most inspiring luthier events for me.

BM: Do you have any new designs you are working on?

UT: I am working on a flattop design. Flattops is where I started building guitars in the 80s. Now I turning my head back while I am getting older.  It will take a few more years until I will have finished the project.  The benchmark is high. 

BM: Am I correct in thinking you recently moved into a new workshop? How was this move for you?

UT: I am still in the proces of reconstruction.  The workshop won't change much -  but my family and I will move out from the city to the place of my workshop to spend more time together.  It is a historic cabinet maker factory.  Plenty of room for a family but some work to be done until the picture in my mind is printed 3D in bricks and wood and plaster.

BM: We have just taken delivery of an absolutely stunning new Antonio in a dark Brown Burst. Can you tell us a little bit about this guitar?

UT: This Antonio has a kind of hidden burst.  It is so dark that you have to look close to see the mahogany through the painting.  I love this second view kind of an understatement.

BM: Ulrich, thank you so much for your time, I know how busy you are. We are so excited about representing you immaculate instruments and look forward to catching up at the Holy Grail Guitar Show in May.

Teuffel Antonio Electric Guitar

An incredibly inspiring hybrid instrument, the Teuffel Antonio will handle any acoustic/electric styles beautifully. With the cutting edge build techniques and inspiring sound and response that only come from a Teuffel guitar, the Antonio is a rich canvas for your playing.

  • Genuine Mahogany body with visible and hidden resonance chambers
  • Ziricote fingerboard
  • Xiricote pickup
  • Glow-in-the-dark side markings
  • Ziricote bridge with an aluminium base
  • Wagner stainless steel frets (size 6150)
  • Teuffel two-way truss rod
  • Humbucking AlNiCo2 pickup
  • Split switch
  • 24.75 scale length
  • Includes custom hard shell case

For more information on this stunning Teuffel Antonio Dark Brown please do contact us on 0207 835 5597 or emial us on hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com 

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