Tobias Neumann is the third generation guitarplayer and composer. He is the grandson of the well-known composer Ulrik Neumann. In 2010 Mikael Neumann has brought out a CD dedicated to his father Ulrik. As Mikael Neumann had already acquired a Dolphin Jazz Concert from our hand I am so pleased that now his very talented son is the owner of a Vienna Apex. Please read what he has to say about this guitar: The Vienna Apex.
Owning now a Vienna Apex, Tobias discussed with us his interest to commission also a Blue Vienna. This is the first time I accepted to build another Blue Vienna after the special one build for the Chinery Collection. This guitar will be ready Spring/Summer 2014.
“As guitarists, we can only stand in awe of the great master luthiers from Cremona. Bowed instrument construction have a far longer tradition, than that of (modern) guitar construction. Our “Stradivarius” has become the vintage guitars from Fender, Gibson, and Martin. With all due respect, these instruments are not as exceptional as they are made out to be. Only from a nostalgic collectors view.
I have always been interested in lutherie, and I have found a few odd guitar makers, who makes exceptional instruments. For me, Mr Scharpach instantly gained pole position, when I learned of his work. It has been a dream for me, for a long time, to own one of his guitars, and now when I finally bought one, I can only say that it exceeded all my hopes and expectations by a long stretch.
His guitars are uncompromising, in the truest sense. I’m aware that this term is thrown around on many guitars around, but it is pretty much always completely misused. The attention to detail is second to none, the feel of the instrument is just perfect.
I have gone through every high end archtop guitar I have come across, for the past 20 or so years. My Vienna Apex is clearly ahead of anything I have ever played in all aspects. Sound will always be the primary, and will always also be the most subjective. This past week, I have been playing in a setting,with a double bass, and a string quartet. Any guitar will have a hard time in that setting, as these instruments have a far wider dynamic range, than any guitar has. Well, when we rehearsed, I only played acoustically, and we made a dummy recording, where we placed a mic in the middle of the room, with not too much thought of balance between the instruments of the ensemble. When I listened back to the recordings we made, the guitar sits perfectly with the quartet, and sounded even more fantastic in a duo setting with the bass.
I am very impressed by this instrument, and I will carry this with me all throughout my life.”
“The pinnacles of the evolution of wood are the Guarnieri violin, the Todai Ji woden church and the Scharpach archtop guitars.
The guitars of Scharpach are masterpieces, the beauty of them emerge from their elegant shape and perfectly worked out details.
I have been playing my Vienna Opus for a few years but I’m still amazed by
- the strong, rich, piano like, but jazzy acoustic sound, which, due to the superb pickup, translates into the amplified sound as well
- the dinamic response that cannot compare to any other guitar
- and the well defined and clearly understandable notes even if you play a melody inside of harmonies
A Scharpach guitar is a perfect partner in the studio, on stage and it is a gem in your home.“
In a word, Magnificent on all counts!!!! I had one similiar musical experience in the past as I shopped for a 195 cm Grand Piano. We played the Steinway, the Bechenstein, and the Petrov, but the first sounds from the August Forster were so full, lyrical and beautiful that I never could settle for less (actually we did buy the Petrov because I couldn’t afford the Forster).
You have succeeded in creating the A. Forster of guitars. It is much more a complete sounding instrument compared to its American arents. My compliments to the chef.
I’ll have more of a compete review later but I am extremely happy with the product!
I am very pleased with your guitar. This is the most exciting arch top I have played and I am very anxious to hear it after hours and years of playing. If I were to write a magazine review it would be something like this:
“It’s all in the F-holes”
This guitar caught my eye by virtue of the F-holes. They have that classic cello shaping suggesting a rich European heritage. Furthermore the finish has the deep complex look of a fine Cremona-inspired instrument. As I did my research I found that its maker did indeed have a history and training in fine furniture finish work in Europe. Likewise he has the credential of being the only European participant in the Chinery Blue-guitar project. Being that the project was several years ago it indicates many years of experience for Theo since that time.
The guitar arrived this week and I must say its everything I expected and more. Let me start with the tuning machines which are obviously custom and hand made. The feel is that of a multi-geared machine with a huge mechanical advantage. The tuning is precise; the pegs having a robust feel. The engraving is absolutely phenomenal rivaling the finest metal work you will ever find in and jewelry store. The tail-piece is also engraved and plated with fine gold and also a thing of beauty. The finish is not that of a nitrocellulose lacquer plastic look but that of fine furniture. It is beautiful.
There is simply nothing to be desired in the playability. It is perfect. It does play a bit different from its American cousins in that the fret board and bridge height is slightly higher but it doesn’t take long for the player to adapt. With the-one piece bridge you get the feeling that the plucked strings are transmitted directly to the sound board and then explode into a beautiful resonant sound. The sound is very deep, full and complex with equal and substantial volume from treble to bass string. You can feel the guitar resonate through your chest as you play which is pleasing. I must say it trumps virtually every arch top I’ve ever played or owned. Again I couldn’t be more please and heartily recommend a Scharpach for any serious player.
How’s that? It is really an exciting guitar and I only hope your work flourishes in this country.
This is an outstanding arch-top guitar! I have owned varnished arch-tops and those finished in nitrocellulose lacquer. I have owned and played those of Sitka, European and Adirondack spruce top wood and even an aged redwood offering. The tone woods of course have been mostly maple but I l have had a carved mahogany model. The list of responsible luthiers would be impressive to most guitarists. The Vienna Apex is decidedly different. The balance of the registers is superb, the volume impressive and yet it begs to be played lightly where every fundamental and overtone are palpable. When played with a heavy touch there is no limit to the headroom. I can only believe that the aged Artur Lang top-wood coupled with its unique bracing (which I found to be a heavily guarded secret), the dimensions of the guitar and the French polish finish have come together for the “perfect storm”, the perfect guitar. The playability and set-up in a word are perfect. And last but not least, its classic appearance depicts Old-world European craftsmanship. My compliments to Theo and Menno from a very satisfied customer.”
Vienna Opus - Aldo Knip, the Netherlands
“My love for playing guitar started in my early teens and to this day I enjoy playing as much as ever. Throughout the years I collected some very fine instruments and developed a strong taste for arched top guitars. Reading about them I came across the ‘Chinery’ blue guitar collection and was pleasantly surprised to find ‘Theo Scharpach’s Blue Vienna’ among the best and nicest built arched top’s in the world.
After a while I decided to make contact with Theo, to find out more about his outstanding guitars and the man himself. Theo was quick to explain that he takes his profession as a luthier very seriously and also that his guitars are well up in the top segment. Off course I already checked him out and was somewhat familiar with his work through the internet. After being in contact, talking about guitars over the phone for about half a year, we finally made an appointment. Theo’s enthusiasm along with the high quality beautiful sounding guitars he presented contributed in my decision to actually buy two off his guitars.
As a collector I have been lucky enough to play great guitars over a long period, and recently I even had a chance to play on a couple of guitars in NY build by someone who is considered the best of the best. Very nice sounding guitars, very well built and beautifully decorated but unaffordable to most, I would think. That day -comparing- I realized all the more how very good my Vienna sounds acoustically, and that the Vienna could also draw serious attention out there. I truly am amazed by the power and balance and the way the Vienna articulates.
I would suggest to anyone who is serious enough about top segment guitars to try and play a Scharpach guitar, better yet, go out there and try them all! I feel lucky I did.”
Randy Bachman about the Vienna Golden
“My Scharpach Vienna guitar was well worth the wait. With merging of the old wood and modern technology Theo has created a guitar that for me is a one of a kind. What I noticed when I played my Vienna for the first time was that the acoustic tone is totally balanced across every string in every register and part of the neck.
Then when I plugged it in and heard the same deep, clear, resonant sound from the pickup that Theo designed and had made, I realized what a special instrument it really was. The craftsmanship, the design, the body, the finish. the engraved headstock and tailpiece are not only beautiful but add so much to the sound of the guitar.
I look forward to playing this instrument forever.“