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Review: Guitar Voicing Class with Ervin Somogyi

Review: Guitar Voicing Class with Ervin Somogyi

Originally published in American Lutherie #95, 2008



I’m a hobby builder making two or three guitars a year. I learned to make guitars six years ago by taking a two-week, one-on-one course with an experienced luthier. I went on to make seven more guitars exactly the way I was taught, just following the numbers for top thickness, brace height, brace profile, and so on. I didn’t want to make changes, only to have the guitars not be as good as I knew they would be if I just followed the “recipe.” They sounded good, but I was missing out on how much better they could be. I learned the mechanics of how to build a guitar from my first teacher. Ervin Somogyi’s class taught me the why and encouraged me to grow. Ervin gives you a starting point, and then the knowledge and the challenge to move beyond that starting point with your soundboards.

Ervin is a fun, patient, and exceptional teacher, passionate about guitars and life. He enjoys being challenged and everything is fair game for further discussion. He does not come across as a know-it-all with canned responses for each question. He would often ask what we thought and then built on that with his own knowledge and experience. And he was not above saying, “I don’t know.”

The class has a 4" binder of handouts. Ervin follows a syllabus that builds methodically from the ground up, but we tweaked the syllabus as we went along to delve into areas that we, as a class, wanted to pursue.

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