Hermann Guitars Interview

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.

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.

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.

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.

​​Show us some photos of your favourite Weissenborn builds……

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