Guitars have always been a part of my life
I remember listening to my father’s records as a kid with a guitar in my hands, strumming along without knowing what I was doing. It took a while to figure out how to use it properly, but nowadays I can't imagine life without a guitar nearby.
With an art teacher for a father, I began to imagine, design, draw and build things from an early age. I was especially attracted to the possibilities of working with wood; creating pipes, boxes, and furniture. I soon realized that I could combine my love of art and wood to build custom guitars. This passion, shaped by focused study at Westsächsische Hochschule Markneukirchen and through many years of personal study and experimentation, has made me a professional luthier.
As an instrument maker I am motivated by the desire to improve and develop my art, skills and to evolve the idea of what it means to build one-of-a-kind instruments in the 21st century.
With my artists sensibility I find inspiration for new designs by regularly visiting both commercial and fine art galleries. Nature is also a deep source of inspiration in my design: The swirl of a leaf, the hypnotic arc of the nautilus shell, the flow of water over stone.
I was also immensely inspired by the book “The Responsive Guitar” by Ervin Somogyi. After reading it I went to see a lecture by Raymond Kraut, a former student of Somogyi. I introduced myself to him and got to play some of his guitars, immediately being impressed by their beauty, depth of tone, and craftsmanship.
Great guitars must have a wide dynamic range, be tonally balanced – without masking any of the frequency ranges – constructed from the best materials, be comfortable to hold, and beautiful to the eye. A guitar should feel like a natural extension of the body and at the same time present itself as art. It must be an instrument that allows the player to explore musical worlds that he or she may not have known existed – such is the capability of the best instruments.
To achieve a balance of these aspects into one single instrument, I use only the best materials and process them with the utmost care and precision that they deserve. No guitar leaves the shop that doesn’t meet my standards and the expectations of the person who commissioned the instrument.
Max Spohn learned the basics of guitar making from Thomas Ochs near Bamberg, Germany. He refined this knowledge during his studies of luthiery at Westsächsische Hochschule Markneukirchen.