For Lexington based luthier, Ed Gerber, obtaining the best sound out of the woods being used is the main goal when making an instrument. He built his first electric guitar around 20 years ago for his son, now a professional musician. It didn’t turn out as nicely as either of them would like so a second attempt was in order. By the time that one was finished the bug had hit, so he began learning as much as he could by making more instruments and experimenting with new techniques and designs.
The types of instruments that Gerber has made often evolved in parallel to his son’s interests, going from electrics to archtops to electric basses and then on to the Brazilian instruments used in samba and choro - cavaquinho, bandolim and classical guitars, including a seven string classical which can be heard on the recording “Historia do Choro” by Rogerio Souza, Edinho Gerber and Ami Molinelli. For steel string acoustics, Ed has concentrated on parlor and OM sized guitars and his latest efforts are three OM acoustics made for Willcutt Guitars, utilizing Brazilian rosewood and spruce harvested well over fifty years ago.
For Ed, there are many areas to concentrate on when making an instrument such as design, fit and finish along with combining the right materials. Even so called ‘inferior’ woods can produce good quality instruments, and it is so much more the case when finding those rare pieces that really sing. Each instrument is unique and brings specific challenges to meet when considering the demands of a specific player or in general. The time and effort Gerber puts into each instrument is a reflection of his continual striving to improve and to meet those needs.
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