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About Teuffel Guitars

My great-grandfather was engineer, my grandfather was an engineer, my father is an engineer, my second grandfather was a cabinetmaker, my uncle is a cabinetmaker, my granduncle was a painter, so what can I say: becoming an accountant has never been my ambition. An inventor is a bit more my style.

After my highschool degree I began an extended apprenticeship in metalwork and construction at Mercedes-Benz. During that period I learned that you can’t name something “exact” if it isn’t down to one hundredth of a millimeter. Today I think that the figure is actually beyond one thousandth of a millimeter. But everyone starts out as a beginner.

A few years ago I had already built my first acoustic guitar (not the desktop-wood guitar which I made as a child) when I saw a book by Donald Brosnac which not only explained how to build an acoustic guitar but also showed gorgeous pictures of Steve Klein’s instruments. I started at once on building a Steve Klein Acoustic. The guitar looked more like a Canadian hunting lodge with carvings and a soundhole on it. So I skipped that sample, and the first real guitar I built was a hommage to Steve Klein. At least I tried to replicate the form because I had no idea of his construction plans, which the pictures didn’t show.

In the following years and especially after I had founded my company on June 1st 1988, I spent my time building electric guitars and basses. In those years I designed my first guitar series “Dr. Mabuse” and the bass line “JFK” which was based on traditional example: glued-in necks, Mahogany, flamed maple, quilted, brazilian rosewood, pickups, tuners, vibrato from wholesale suppliers, glossy finish – the usual things.

If you asked me about my most formative experience in guitar making, I’d have to say it was my study of industrial design from 1992 until 1996.

In the year before I started I was dissatisfied with my guitar work. The series had been developed completely, the results were good instruments, and today they are even collectable guitars. But I had been looking for a wider challenge which I couldn’t find in the realm of traditional guitar building.

From the distance of my design study I learned to look at my guitar work from the distance. At the end I resumed work structuring it with themes and concepts and came back with the birdfish guitar. Two years later I created the coco series, then the tesla series and late 2007 the niwa.
copyright by Ulrich Teuffel

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