13. Berlin

Thoughts on the aesthetics and fashion of acoustic guitars …

Carolan Guitar

Time for  break. A change from the norm. A trip to Berlin and a visit to the Staatliches Institut für Musikforschung – that’s the Berlin Musical Instrument Museum to the likes of us – and what a wonderful experience. A striking and wonderfully lit building populated with all manner of historical instruments, including a collection of early guitars.

berlin museum insideWhat is eye-catching about some of these early guitars is how richly and beautifully decorated they are, covered in intricate carvings, inlay and sometimes flowing patterns*.

Such designs offer a striking contrast to today’s more minimalist aesthetic where acoustic guitars tend to follow classic and simple lines. Indeed, it sometimes almost seems that the more expensive the guitar, the more minimal its decoration.

This observation is reflected in recent feedback from luthiers and retailers about our project to the effect that the high-end or professional sectors of the market are unlikely to be interested in heavily decorated guitars. There…

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