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Stratoblogster Labs: Exotic Luthiery by Balazs Prohaszka

Usually I’m not a fan of over-ornamented and over-inlayed guitars composed of a dozen different woods. But since the Temples of Syrinx will soon require that all guitars be made from recycled Prius battery casings, let’s take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve gotten with tree flesh.

Balazs Prohaszka is a great example of the rogue, cosmopolitan, contemporary guitar builder; or should I say avant garde? Actually not too avant garde, considering the “art guitars” out there with bizarre shapes, and objects bolted to them having nothing to do with sound or function.

Hungarian-born Prohaszka started luthier school in Hungary, where he learned violin making while also working in a shop restoring double basses. Then he worked for a renowned German bow maker and also built his own arch-top guitars in Hungary.

He now works in Northern Ireland for Avalon Guitars (formerly Lowden) and is also a freelance design consultant for other companies, including custom work for Zemaitis. You get the cosmopolitan reference? Finally, in his spare time, Balazs hand builds five to seven guitars per year, like the one pictured.

“Faces” is the model featured. As elaborately as this guitar is accented, it’s surprisingly uncluttered or busy with ornamentation. Everything fits, leaving plenty of clean, open space. Also worth noting, each Balazs custom guitar has a unique headstock design. Headstocks are usually a builder’s consistent identifying logo. But most important, Balazs guitars are built for playability and sound.

And enough wood content to send a Gibson employee into duck and cover these days! Yeah, wood guitars -- just another toy that helped destroy the elder race of man …

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JP Holesworth authors the Stratoblogster Guitar Blog and resides in rural Oregon, surrounded by Pinot Noir vineyards, hop plantations, medical MJ farms and extreme environMENTAL consciousness. But he loves red meat and vacuum tubes!

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