Otto Vowinkel (Holland) 2015GCC

POSTED ON 2017-05-05 21:50 | BY GCC

He was born and raised in the old centre of Amsterdam from a family of tailors. When he was 19 he went to Mallorca, Spain, where he worked in a bar for 2 years. Back in Holland he starded his own bar and restaurant. It was only during that period that he started playing classical guitar. His guitar teacher, Carlo Mell, also did some repair work on guitars. Otto found this very intersting and that triggered him to start making guitars himself. He stoped with his restaurant work, bought the book “Classical guitar construction” by Irving Sloane, a saw and a chissel,a pile of wood and began making his first guitar in the attic of his house on an old pool table. This was in 1984. This first guitar was realy a disaster! But, he made an other one and an other one showing his instruments to all people who could give him some kind of comment. This proved to be a very good method. In 1989 he met guitar player Esther Steenbergen as well as the Dutch, but living in Andalusia, guitarmaker Alex van der Horst, known as “Alejandro” (1959-2009) He married Esther and started working toghether with Alex on a regulary base during the periods Alex is in Holland. They share their ideas about the qualiy of the ideal guitar”: flexibility of tone, a quick respnse and the quality of the sound as carrier of the volume. He develops as a guitar maker with eye for details and a strong preference for traditional buildt instruments. Slow but sure he becomes a houshold name in the classical guitar world with clients all over the world. All his concert instruments are french polished, an old fashion method of polishing with shellac. He made an intense study of this art and gave lectures and workshops about this method and about guitar making in Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, South America and South Africa. He uses the “normal” materials for his guitars like German spruce and Canadian cedar for the top and different kinds of rosewood for the back and sides. Lately he also uses Coco Bolo for the back and sides as well as maple. In his rosette he procecces the flag of the city of Amsterdam. Besides “normal” concert guitars he also makes flamenco guitars, quart guitars and fift-bass guitars, an instrument tuned a perfect fift lower that a standard guitar. This guitar has a wider body and a scale of 72 cm. This instrument is used in ensembles but is also very suitible to play cello music in the original score. Musicians playing Vowinkel guitars include “The Amsterdam guitar trio”, Sanel Redzic, Denis Azabagic, Tariq Harb Leonardo Amuedo, George Sakkelariou amongst others. Besides his concert models he also designed and developed 3 different “student” models. These instruments are made in Spain in small workshops under his supervision. He is still maried with Esther Steenbergen. Togheter they run the “Masters of the guitar” concert series in the world famous “Concertgebouw” in Amsterdam.

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