The HGGS 2016 Local Wood Challenge




The recipe for a great guitar consists of many ingredients – and there isn’t one single path that is right while others would be wrong. That is the beauty of our craft – there are countless ways to make fine guitars. As an annual gathering of luthiers showcasing some of their best and most inventive work, The Holy Grail Guitar Show has become the place to find out about the state of the art.

To further stimulate this aspect of the Show we have decided to introduce the concept of a Challenge.  Each year a theme will be proposed as Challenge, around which those exhibitors who wish to do so can join in and engage in a friendly tournament of ideas and craft. The idea is to build one (or more) instruments for exhibit at the Show that can be labeled as part of the challenge. It is not meant to be a competition, but rather an invitation to the luthiers to try something outside the normal confines and expectations, giving them the freedom to explore new and different aspects of their work.

The instruments created as part of the Challenge will be presented during the Show with special identification: participating exhibitors will be marked in the catalogue; and while displayed at the exhibitor tables Challenge instruments are identified and described with small signs.

Here are the instruments:

(Photography by Dazmatography )


The wood is in the hood!
The Local Wood Challenge

This year’s Challenge: Make an instrument exclusively out of woods indigenous to the exhibitor’s region.


We can all agree upon this: The usage of many of our favorite tropical wood species has become more and more problematic over the last decades. Tropical woods are becoming scarce and are increasingly governed by restrictions on trade.

One of the EGB’s missions is to draw attention to this issue and to educate the public about the fact that instruments built using local regional woods can be just as good sounding and looking as instruments built using tropical woods. Some exhibitors are already working with woods indigenous to their location, but we’d like to encourage more to discover the limitless possibilities to be found in their own backyard!

That is why we have come up with the Local Wood Challenge. We want to highlight the fact that using only traditional tonewoods is not the only way to make a great guitar, and that sustainability has started to gain serious recognition as a seminal value.

The Challenge is not only about avoiding the use of endangered tropical wood. Using local wood also leaves a smaller carbon footprint than using wood that’s been transported half way across the planet to the builder’s shop.

After all — Local Wood could become very poplar!


These exhibitors took up the challenge and went cherry picking woods in their neighborhoods:

Thierry André
André Instruments

Matthias Meyer
Bassart Guitars

Benoit Lavoie
Benoit Lavoie Luthier

Karan Singh
Bigfoot Guitars

Ralf Boerjes
BOERJES Bass&Guitar Design

Chris Larkin
Chris Larkin Custom Guitars

Celso Freire
Dreamer Guitarworks

Leonhard Augenstein

Daniel Stark
Gitarrenatelier Daniel Stark

Øystein Husemoen
Husemoens Gitarmakeri

Jeffrey Yong
Jeffrey Yong Guitars

Hans Geerdink
JHG Guitars

Fred Pons

Jeff Letain
Letain Guitars

Juha Lottonen
Lottonen Guitars Oy

Gerald Marleaux
Marleaux Bass Guitars

Josep Melo
Melo Guitars

Mete Cem Kuzu
Novacorda Guitars

Pablo Massa
Pablo Massa Guitars

Roman Zajicek

Mike Sankey
Sankey Guitars

Egon Rauscher
Soultool customized Guitars Switzerland

Christian Stoll
Stoll Guitars

Marek Dąbek
Stradi Instruments Design

Aron Bach
TULI Basses

Rosie Heydenrych
Turnstone Guitar Company

Saku Vuori

Heiner Dreizehnter
Heiner Dreizehnter




“The The Holy Grail Guitar Show / HGGS has called and we take the Challenge. Wir nehmen die Herausforderung an

Armed with sword, axe and other sharp instruments we will go on an epic quest for tonal absolution in local tonewood.
Bewaffnet mit Schwert, Axt und anderen scharfen Instrumenten werden wir uns auf die Suche nach dem TON machen.
Über den Fortschritt dieser Suche halten wir Euch auf dem Laufenden.
We’ll keep you posted.” Christian Stoll, Germany