In 2006, while planning a European vacation through Austria into Italy, I received an email from Bachmann guitars and tonewoods. After some searching, I found out he was located in the northern mountains of eastern Italy, about half way between our stop in Salzburg Austria and our final destination in the Tuscan region of Italy. As we were going by way of unreserved train hopping, my wife and I figured we could pay him a visit. Several emails later, we were set.
The first thing I had to learn was.. what is a person with the last name Bachmann, in a small town named Antholz, doing in Italy?? Answer….World War 1. Second thing….what kind of tonewoods are Red Spruce from Italy….answer…think Stradivarius (although he probably got his Spruce from a valley north of Cremona several miles to the west from Antholz)….also think German Spruce, which grows from the Italian mountains to the far northern countries in Europe. A little more research and I was hooked! Rudolf does it all, from harvesting, sawing, drying and marketing, to making very fine guitars.
It was great fun, spending time in such a beautiful part of the world and getting to know him personally. I picked thru meticulously organized and labeled stacks of master grade Spruce, and bought 5 sets of topwood, some bracewood and some Maple back/side sets as well.
He is also a fine musician….check him out on Google/ YouTube:
Peter got me serious about building fine guitars. My daughter knew him when she lived in San Louis Obispo, and arranged a visit. He is my first go-to guy for every question that comes up, and over the years has developed into a friend as well as a mentor.
Chris Jensen has several stores here in Santa Barbara. When I first brought him a guitar to sell in 1996, he looked at it for about 15 seconds, and showed me 4 things he wanted me to improve on. I couldn’t believe his eyes and head could see into my work so quickly and accurately. He has sold a number of my guitars, and I consider his store and staff absolutely first rate.
Connections….small world. When I was growing up in Niles Michigan, we lived next door to the French Paper Mill, on the banks of the Saint Joseph river. Fourty years later, I was in the need of a special look in paper for hang tags, business cards and care/maintenance cards,etc., and my printer showed me some samples from this small specialty paper maker….French Paper ! Of course, I had to have that paper.