Hawaiian guitar history

History of Weissenborn Style Hawaiian Guitar

History of Hermann Weissenborn Guitar










Hermann Weissenborn is regarded as the originator of the hawaiian-guitars which bear his name until this day. Born 1865 in Thüringen/Germany, Weissenborn emigrated 1902 to the United States. He first settled in New York, where he built and repaired pianos and violins. In the year 1910 he moved to Los Angeles, California and expanded his works on building guitars - focusing his craftsmanship mainly on building Ukuleles and Steel Guitars. With hawaiian musics upcoming popularity also the interest of professional musicians in instruments for this musical art rose up - this was the hour of birth for the Weissenborn guitar.
By the time Hermann Weissenborn developed his instrument and gave the Weissenborn its characteristic details: While using Koa, the hawaiian origined Acacia, he also gave the guitar a hollow neck. Getting the Weissenborn-typical sound was only one result of this special neck construction. The resonance body - which had more space now - made it possible to reach a more voluminous sound. An absolute novelty for the non-amplified instrumentalists of the early 20th century! This concept was very successful until the first resonatorguitars by companies like Dobro and National came up in the 1920s.
Anyway, Hermann Weissenborn set himself a historical monument with his instruments. Many aficionados are eager to play on his few existing guitars. A huge demand - regarding that only a few Weissenborns of an approximated total number of 5000 different instruments built in the luthiers workshop, survived until today. Also a lot of modern artists like David Lindley, Ben Harper, Steve Dawson, Jerry Douglas, Colin John and Xavier Rudd do use this beautiful instrument - and help the Weissenborn getting in bloom again.

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