Thank you for taking the time to talk to ‘The Weissenborn Information Exchange’ and all the best for the future.
Thank you for creating such a wonderful website for Weissenborn enthusiasts.
One of Europe's most popular and affable Weissenborn luthiers, Italian Ermanno Pasqualato has a solid and well earned reputation for building beautiful affordable instruments that sound every bit as good as they look. Never one to be constrained by convention his creations are as varied as they are eye catching as his imagine and creativity allow. Having had my first ever custom made koa Weissenborn built by Ermanno back in 2012 and having the recent honour of an 'Aron Radford' signature model being introduced to his product range recently I thought it was high time I officially inducted him into the TWiE fold.
What other instruments to do build as well as Weissenborns?
I build biscuit and spider bridge cone resonators, acoustic finger-style guitars as copies from the original plans, lap steel guitars, cigar-box guitars, and almost all slide accessories as well as footdrum stomp-boxes.
When was the first time you ever saw and played a Weissenborn?
I was already in love with pedal steel and lap steel guitar sound and one day i discovered on the internet that an acoustic version of a lap steel guitar existed called a Weissenborn. I had stumbled cross some plans on how to build one, so you could say i saw first a Weissenborn as plan on the internet.
So why make Weissenborns at all, you would make more money building and selling normal guitars would you not?
Weissenborns are perfect for me, the sound, the construction, the satisfaction of building an almost unknown instrument (as it was back then), the curiosity, the culture, the history and no problem of set up of course if i send an instrument abroad.
I was a very proud man when i was informed by you that you were making an ‘Aron Radford’ signature Weissenborn model. What made you decide to do this? tell the readers what the ‘Aron Radford’ signature model is made of and what woods and decorations does it have?
As i said before i listen to my customers' suggestions (your suggestions in this case) so one of my best customer saw your Weissenborn and wanted it with the same specifications such as: high gloss shellac, indian rosewood binding, sitka spruce bracing, upgraded open gear tuning machines, rosewood pins, abalone dots, and amazing simplicity. So I decided what you originally asked for could become a real model in my product range.
Hello Ermanno, thank you for talking to “The Weissenborn Information Exchange”
What year did you start your company?
I started the company in the beginning of 2000 but had been making guitars before that as well.
How did you learn to build guitars and specifically Weissenborns?
I never went to any school or workshop. I learned by trial and error and through experimenting. As i made each Weissenborn i got better and better, each instrument was an improvement from the last. My father was a joiner, so i knew all about wood since my childhood. My job now is like jumping into my past as i grew up around wood working.
Are you a player yourself?
Yes i am, i play and endorse my own instruments when i play live. I love the sound of every Weissenborn i build and often i fall in love with some of my instruments but the pleasure it gives me to send them around the world is a greater pleasure.
Your FaceBook page is always full of lovely photos from guitar shows around Europe.
I think good quality photos are such a simple way of advertising. My new website ‘www.weissenbornguitar.com’ is completely new and furthermore a lot of gorgeous photos, the models will have the price under the picture so people can have a clear idea of the look and the price of each instrument.
Pricing policy; What prices do your Weissenborn guitars start at?
For € 650,00 and you can get a solid mahogany Weissenborn teardrop. The building method and quality is exactly the same for all guitars, from my cheapest to most expensive Weissenborns. My price policy allows anybody with some small savings to own a genuine hand built guitar made entirely by my bare hands and not an industrial mass built instrument.
How long would it take you to make a Weissenborn if i ordered one today?
I usually build rough bodies for stock and i keep for when i recieve new orders, so if you order today you can get an instrument in 1 or 2 months depending on your specifications.
Show us some photos of your favourite Weissenborn builds......
Please talk about your aluminium topped Weissenborn. Why did you make it and what does it sound like?
I think aluminium has great acoustic characteristics but aluminium alone for an instrument is a bit cold. Another reason is because i don't build metal instruments, so i thought to match the warm wood with the cold metal. The aluminium gives lots of full harmonics while the wood makes all warmth in contrast. When i build i always think in contrast of characteristics of different materials this creates interesting and richer sounds in my opinion.
I understand the Weissenborn player 'Faris’ now owns this aluminium topped Weissenborn?
Yes, he loves this kind of sound. His style of playing suits the instruments sounds, they are a good match.
Have you ever made a brass Weissenborn?
As I told before I don't build full bodied metal instruments but a brass top could be a good idea.
What is the best thing about being a Weissenborn luthier?
The best thing is to listen for the sound when it is first strung up, they are all different and unique.
What instruments you would still like to make?
I would like to make an archtop mandolin, a traditional electric guitar with carved top and aluminium top.
Shellac or lacquer on your Weissenborns?
For my acoustic bodies instruments i use only shellac as French high gloss finish, matt sprayed shellac and oil finish. Lacquer only for solid bodies and Dobros because the soundboard has less importance in the vibration.
What Weissenborn accessories to you make and sell?
Lots. I-spira weissenborn pick ups (www.i-spira.com), made on my specifications by Luca Villani, the best in Italy. Porcellaine bottlenecks, brass nut risers for traditional acoustic guitars to be converted to a slide guitar, moveable capos, ergonomic wood and brass tonebars, porcellaine bullet tonebars, d'orazio Weissenborn, dobro and baritone strings, footdrums stompboxes. I build Weissenborn tone enhancers which can boost your volume by upto 20%. Made in Italy hardcases, pins in different materials, different upgraded tuning machine heads, stone nuts, armrest.
Tell us about your short scale Weissenborn I saw recently.
I think you mean the tenor. It is a deep body shorter Weissenborn which suits melodies in open position mixed in with some slide. Faris owns one and i know he likes this sound for his particular playing technique. I suggest to anyone who plays in open positions to try one out.
Tell us about your weissenborn bracing system and what wood you use for that?
I use the traditional ‘X’ bracing pyramid scallopped system. The wood is usually our alpine Italian spruce ‘val di fiemme’ and lately for my koa weissenborns i use sitka spruce as Hermann did himself.
Go visit the Herrmann Guitars Website @ http://www.weissenbornguitar.com
What different woods have you used in making weissenborns apart from koa?
I begun to discover Weissenborns through initially using ‘local’ and new woods to show there was a way to be innovative with this instrument. I love to be different to all the others, to have my own way. Only years later did i start using Koa wood on my Weissenborn builds.
Other than koa what is your favourite wood to build weissenborns from and why?
My favourite woods are local european woods such as Italian alpine spruce, European walnut, European cherry wood. My preferrance as a player is curly maple which has the same compression and attack as koa but richer in the harmonics and it is quite a lot cheaper than koa. I think if Hermann Weissenborn had lived in Europe he would have used European woods of course and not nesacarily Koa.
What countries have you posted to finished Weissenborns to over the years.
I have sent several weissenborn to France, Germany, UK, and all around the rest of Europe. Also USA and Australia and India.
What is the most popular country for your Weissenborns?
France without a doubt.
How many Weissenborns do you make a year, and how many do you think you have made in total over the years?
I am getting near to my 200th build. No. 200 Weissenborn will be an earlier model, normal body style 4 sitka spruce top, koa back and sides, high gloss shellac French finish. I build around 25 instruments per year.
How did the Weissenborn stand and Weissenborn arm rest you build and sell come about?
Giovanni Bailo asked me to build a Weissenborn stand for him, so i designed it and i made it for him. Also the armrest that i make is his idea too. The best ideas come from my customers they tell me what they want and i design and build them for them.
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