Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Inspired: Novacorda and Pablo Massa at Holy Grail Guitar 2016


I just followed Stu and Hobs aka SBC Guitars to the Holy Grail Guitar Show because I wanted to go to Berlin. I didn't truly think I'd spend much time at an exhibition of independent guitar designer makers. I said I'd come have a look (as I'll likely be helping out if SBC get a stand there next year) and then I'd leave to explore Berlin by myself. It was actually so inspiring that I only left a couple of hours before the guys. So much beautiful use of wood and colour. So many fantastic luthiers.

But the stand outs to me were Novacorda Guitars and Pablo Massa.



Novacorda is based in Istanbul and uses local wood to make beautiful designs. I adore the clean simplicity of the „34“ and the Barbaross bass. My absolute favourite thing about these guitars was that if the wood had flaws, little holes/woodworm, it was filled in with beautiful gleaming colour. I'm not sure what it was filled with....but it was beautiful. Taking a flaw and making it wonderful. I love that. I love that the flaw is not hidden, it is stated and it is decorative and elevates the whole design. To me, this was the highlight of the show. Perhaps Novacorda don't particularly wish to draw attention to this, or don't see it as important as I can't see any mention of it on the website, aside from a brief reference to not wasting wood. Anyway, I love the ethos of not wasting materials and of working with flaws to create something so beautiful.


On a related note, it  reminds me of an art installation by Susan Collis I saw at the V&A quite a few years ago, which I loved for similar reasons. She took ordinary, easily over looked objects - screws sticking out of the wall, a paint splattered broom - and made them secretly precious. The screws made from gold, the paint splatters from mother of pearl. Pictures can be seen here.


Pablo Massa was displaying a family of guitars. A big guitar, a middle size guitar and a baby travel size guitar! All made from a single piece of wood, carefully cut to avoid any wastage. All in one magical carrying case! They are beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Crisp shapes and colour. One family was gleaming turquoise. My favourite was clean, glossy white. He was telling us about the guitars and explained that he had just had a son and that the family of guitars literally represents his family. I found this adorable! The guitars are beautiful though, cute story or not.


I definitely think SBC should try for a stand next year. In my eyes, they are ready. They build neat, natural little guitars that showcase their love of wood. And they've made one bass, which is now MY bass! I started learning bass at the weekend (with help from youtube) and I'm pretty excited about it! Even though all I'm doing is fingering exersises and some major scales (C and D) so far. It's a heavy beast but it will be my beast. Wish me luck!

Have you been inspired by anything unexpected lately?


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