Do you know what a luthier is? I didn’t until Friday night. A luthier builds guitars. Friday night we attended a concert to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Schoenberg Guitars. I love guitar music but before Friday night I didn’t know what a Schoenberg guitar was. As I understand it, Eric Schoenberg designs and builds these one of a kind guitars and now they are also hand built one at a time for him by 5 other world class luthiers. Schoenberg is to guitars what Steinway is to pianos and Stradivarius is to violins.
The guitars are masterpieces. The wood, the workmanship, the curves and the richness make them wonderful just to look at. But the sound is truly breathtaking. In the hands of the artists who played the guitars sang. The concert was in the small 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. It was easy to imagine I was a guest at a small get together of guitar aficionados just listening to the music.
And the music was beyond description. They invited five of what must be the world’s best players. First there was Mike Dowling who writes, records, arranges and performs. Listening to him I knew immediately what a special evening this would be. Next was Laurence Juber. His music was bit more showy but it was stunning. Juber toured and recorded for three years with Paul McCartney’s band Wings. Next was Muriel Anderson who played the harp guitar as well as the classic guitar. Finally there was Jorma Kaukonen and Barry Mitterhoff. Jorma use to play with Jefferson Airplane and now he Miteroff and Jack Casady make up the group Hot Tuna. Mitteroff is a mandolinist.
The tickets to this concert were one of my birthday presents from Duke. After the four hour concert which seemed like it lasted one hour, as we walked back to our car I could only smile and relish the memories of what was undoubtedly a once in a life time experience.