3 days of instruments & music
25 master classes in multiple genres
30 instrumental day & evening concerts
125 premier luthiers from all around the world
600 of the finest handmade acoustic instruments at
an international luthiers showcase & acoustic trade show for
collectors, musicians, music lovers & everyone who enjoys a fine time

The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration

the finest contemporary acoustic instruments and music

September 29 – October 2, 2016

The building of musical instruments from wood by hand – lutherie – is a singularly complex achievement of human culture. It is an alchemy of craft, sculpture, acoustics, physics, engineering, labor, passion and countless years of experience. The dynamic between the luthiers who make the instruments and the musicians who create music on them is unparalleled in its significance and impact across all civilizations.

The roots of modern lutherie took hold a half century ago with the masters of the era including D’Aquisto, Fox, Gurian, Larrivee and Schneider, who based their work on the classic instrument designs but began to explore new design innovations and construction techniques. A young group of now legendary woodworkers, largely focused on steel string and archtop guitars as part of contemporary music, soon followed under their guidance and in turn spearheaded today’s renaissance of instrument making. Many of these lutherie legends will be in attendance at the Celebration along with numerous contemporary icons who continue to set the standard and break new ground. The quality of craft and sound from today’s steel string and nylon guitars, mandolins, classical and harp guitars, ukuleles and other stringed instruments is unmatched, inspiring legions of dedicated luthiers and musicians to further their art.

The modern “guitar festival” in which the public could meet directly with a number of celebrated luthiers was created two decades ago by Charles Fox, Tom Ribbecke, and Todd Taggart in Healdsburg and brought to fruition by Chris Herrod and LMII. The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration is indebted to their vision and continues the tradition of presenting the state of the craft and the art of the music in an informal setting.

The Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration is a unique opportunity to meet many contemporary masters of lutherie, and to see, play and purchase some of the finest handmade instruments directly from the builder. Please join us for an unparalleled festival including fingerstyle, jazz, blues, classical, and slack key acoustic music all weekend at a relaxed California gallery and garden setting, in one of America’s premier destination towns.

On this website you will find information about the instrumental concerts, the master classes, the Acoustic Trade Show, Santa Barbara and a comprehensive catalogue of the showcase luthiers where you can explore and familiarize yourself with their work in detail. Buy your tickets early, especially for the Priority Pass benefits as attendance is limited, and come with a plan to visit with your favorite luthiers and musicians in order to fit everything in you can, as there’s so much to choose from.

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