Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Luthier Tony Classen : NewEra Guitars

About Tony Classen and NewEra Guitars from http://www.arkneweraguitars.com/

Tony's journey into the world of Larson-made instruments began in the summer of 1985. Prior, he had never heard their names spoken, nor seen an instrument made by them; Euphonon, Maurer, Prairie State? Tony purchased his first Larson Euphonon when he visited Gruhn Guitars in Nashville to buy a Martin 00-45, serendipitously (great story). For many years, since the acquisition of his first Euphonon, he has wondered "Why there were not more instruments being built using such innovative techniques as the Larson Brothers", and concluded, "Possibly the Larson creations were just a little ahead of their time. With small production totals compared to the big makers, just not enough instrument to fall readily into hands of players, and collectors."

Tony elaborates...
I had this dream for many years, making guitars in the Larson tradition, but where would I start? My background in woodworking and Graphic Design might certainly give me the edge needed, but what an undertaking. My passion for guitars would soon unlock this door. I had already acquired quite an array of tools. I sold the big stuff to get the more suitable tools needed for guitar making. I had made over the years drawings of Larson body styles, bracing patterns, inlays, etc. at least enough to produce one guitar, so now the big decision. Where would I get the funds!? It was apparently time to part with my Larson collection. It was tough, but I knew what lie ahead would in the long run be more rewarding. One of my first customers was Dave Portman. Dave not only purchased part of my collection, but he owns a few of the first handmade guitars I produced. Dave has become a friend over the years, and has helped very much in the early part on my business. Dave not only has allowed me access to his collection for drawings and measurements, but also created the name of my business. New Era Guitars. Dave's knowledge and collection have been great inspiration.

Upon completion of his first three guitars, Tony called Bob Hartman (grandson of Carl Larson). Bob up to this point was not aware Tony was a luthier, and Tony wanted to show him what he was up to and where he wanted to go with the idea of making Larson Reproductions. Bob was quite thrilled to meet, and Bob was very impressed with Tony's Work, so much soto give tony his endorsement! Bob makes trips to Tony's shop with his repair work, and they talk guitars, and make plans for new additions to Tony's line.

Tony is now fulfilling his 20 years old dream. He has had good response form customers, and his list is growing. Tony realizes that, it's a tough market to crack, and a long slow journey ahead, but the craft, and rewards are endless.

Tony offers a long line of guitars...
Prairie State - Super Jumbo | Django - Euphonon | Jumbo - Euphonon | Euphonon - Square Shoulder | Euphonon - Round Shoulder | Barndance - Euphonon | Euphonon - Dreadnought | Larson OM | Maurer | Euphonon - Concert | New Era - King | New Era - Style 41 | New Era Senorita

Tony's site hosts many sound clips of his models.

Additional Links from New Era Guitars

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