The bespoke hand made guitar has emerged as a strong alternative to the factory made instruments widely available. The instruments presented at The Holy Grail Guitar Show range from expensive and exclusive guitars and basses by today’s foremost builders to rugged working musician’s tools, designed for daily use on the stage or on the road. Spanning the gamut from historically inspired and classically constructed guitars to fanciful inventions embracing new technologies and approaches, the Show promises to yield something for even the most discerning visitor.
Meet the maker
This will be the place where you can meet the makers and see and experience firsthand the extraordinary work being done today in the field of lutherie, ask questions, and learn about the latest developments in the field. Some of the builders present hold almost legendary status and exciting new faces and discoveries await the visitor as well.
A relaxed and friendly environment
Browse the aisles, chat with the luthiers, visit a Lecture or a Demo Concert, sample the instrumental offerings at your leisure. Maybe find the guitar of your dreams – there are enough attractions to make a weekend spent at the Show a rich and rewarding experience for any guitar lover.
The concept for the Show drew its focus from the intention to provide the best possible setting for the presentation and promotion of the handmade guitar. The creation of a community of luthiers spanning borders across Europe, as well as retaining the artisanal character of the Show, are important considerations guiding the decisions about the organization of the Show.
- A showcase for professional luthiers. Handmade instruments crafted individually with excellence and dedication.
- An invitational Show. Exhibitors are selected. Originality and quality are important criteria for selection.
- A rotating exhibitor roster. There are many more luthiers deserving to be shown than we can possibly accommodate in any given year. For this reason it was decided to rotate exhibitors – some may exhibit one year, and not the next – so as to give more builders a chance to be seen.
- An international Show, with the main focus on Europe, with no country having more than 25-30% of the overall table number.
HOW did the show come to be?
In 2012, after intense discussions at the Montreal Guitar Show about the lack of a comparable event in Europe, several luthiers decided to get together and change this. In October of that year Frank Deimel, Frédéric Pons, Juha Ruokangas and Ulrich Teuffel came to Vienna to meet with Michael Spalt and Andreas Neubauer with the goal of founding a Europe-wide luthier’s organization as a vehicle for putting on a world-class guitar show.
Based on their own experiences at various shows around the world they developed a unique concept, tailored to present the instruments of the small independent luthier to the interested visitor in the best possible way.
» If you want to know what great guitar making can be, you should not look at the ads. Here’s to everyone who thinks that the world of guitar industry is a flat disc: ours isn’t. Ours is a sphere, and it’s got a golden gleam. «
– Ulrich Teuffel / EGB founding member
The Holy Grail
It was decided to name it ‘The Holy Grail Guitar Show‘. The quest for the “perfect guitar” has driven builders from all over the globe over the years. It has spawned countless interpretations, variations and approaches to an instrument of unparalleled versatility. While the term has a certain narrow currency among guitar aficionados, this Show aims to redefine the paradigm, to broaden the horizon and acquaint the guitar lover with the musical and technical possibilities inherent in the instrument.
» In the past few decades there has been an explosion of passionate craftspeople producing what is certainly the greatest variety of designs at an ever increasing level of quality. To celebrate this golden age of guitar building we now bring you The Holy Grail Guitar Show. «
– Michael Spalt / EGB President
The Long Road
In May 2013 the registration of the association was confirmed by the German authority, to be called The European Guitar Builders, e.V. (EGB), located in Berlin. A press conference in November of 2013 at the nHow Hotel in Berlin introduced the EGB to the world, and announced The Holy Grail Guitar Show. Numerous luthiers came from all over Europe and joined the intimate little event, expanding the small group of EGB members and planting the seed for what would become the exhibitor roster for the first Show.
Work on the Show commenced, exhibitors were invited and confirmed, a venue was selected. The Show quickly grew from the original goal of 50-80 exhibitors to 115 confirmed attendees – in other words, all the possible space at the chosen show site sold out, with many luthiers still on the waiting list. Internationally well-known names joined with relative newcomers to exhibit – many of them never seen before in Europe.
Much effort and sleepless nights culminated in November of 2014, as the first edition of The Holy Grail Guitar Show opened in Berlin. None of this would have been possible but for the dedicated and voluntary support and work by Emma Elftorp, Kora Jünger and Tania Spalt, who stepped up and took on the organizational tasks necessary for the realization of this ambitious project.
The First Show
The 2014 Holy Grail Guitar Show surpassed our expectations and greatly fulfilled our ambitions – thanks to the tireless work of the HGGS team this labor of love was felt by both exhibitors and visitors to be an unqualified success! A positive and relaxed atmosphere pervaded the floor, the concerts and lectures were filled to capacity, and visitors and media thronged the aisles. We are grateful to all the visitors, sponsors, volunteers, and to the builders who took the plunge with us and made the Show possible through their support and participation! Without all of you this would not have been such a success!
The Holy Grail Guitar Show also sparked a sea change in the European scene – luthiers from various countries met for the first time and struck up friendships, visitors were able to meet builders never before seen in Europe. Many luthiers went all out and built exciting new instruments especially for the Show. A sense of shared passion and love for the guitar and the art of lutherie manifested with both visitors and builders. With a strong international presence, this Show is already well on track to become one of the major yearly events for guitar lovers from all over the globe.
The Continuing Quest For The Holy Grail!
This wonderful festive atmosphere is what we now strove to maintain as we headed into the second edition of The Holy Grail Guitar Show in 2015. Expectations were running high and we had to reach for the bar we so successfully raised. The volunteer effort that made the 2014 edition possible needed some adjustments to ensure the sustainability of this enterprise. An expanded team of volunteers joined the originators, and is was working hard to bring you the 2015 edition. We were very proud and happy that the second edition continued with its success and that is was again very well received by exhibitors and visitors alike.
We hope you will come and join us in Berlin for a new and exciting experience!
The program for the concerts and lectures will be regularly updated as the latest information becomes available.
As every year, a full-color catalogue will be available at the show, with all the individual luthier profiles and images of their instruments.
Click the button below to see the archived content from 2014 and 2015. You can find the Exhibitor listing, our Sponsors, download the catalogue and more.