Culture Culture

30/10/2019 - 07:18

“Soul creator” of guitars

Few people know that to make a traditional guitar takes a lot of time in many elaborate stages. A guitar maker, therefore, also applies all the great skills to these stages not only with the talented hands but also with an artist's heart.

The craftsmen are wrapped up in their work at Tan Chau Guitar Workshop in Thuy Van, Huong Thuy Town

In Hue, the most famous traditional guitar-making address remains Tan Chau Guitar Shop. Before there are guitars for sale on the street, the craftsmen had to be quietly engrossed in each stage. According to the instructions, we went to the workshop run by Mr. Truong Huu Viet, the owner of Tan Chau musical instrument manufacturing enterprise, located at Cong Luong Village along the Nhu Y River (Thuy Van Commune, Huong Thuy Town) to witness each stage of traditional guitar production with our own eyes.

Depending on the order, each guitar takes from a week to even months to complete. Almost every guitar is made by only a few workers, ranging from wood selection, shaping, tuning to sound testing.

Mr. Viet said that in order to have a good guitar, the craftsman is just like an artist having a lot of knowledge of art and music style... Therefore, not everyone can pursue this career.

But luckily, from the previous generations up to now, the Viet family has preserved the career and continues to hand it on to all of their 3 sons. "Therefore, for decades, my family has produced thousands of guitars and supplied them to the market throughout the country," Mr. Viet proudly said.

Depending on wood material and production techniques, each guitar costs from 1 million to tens of million VND.

Join Thua Thien Hue Online in viewing each stage of guitar production:

Mr. Truong Huu Viet, the owner of Tan Chau musical instrument manufacturing enterprise - one of the people known as the "master" of traditional guitar production in Hue is wrapped up in one stage of guitar production

There are many stages, and this is the guitar frame-bending stage. This requires great scrupulousness

Depending on each customer’s needs and orders, the craftsmen will select each different type of wood and different duration of production

The stage of shaping, framing is regarded as very difficult: if not carefully handled, the piece of wood will crack

Throughout many generations of making guitars, Mr. Truong Huu Viet has been living well with his career. He also endeavors to hand down the career to his son

Apart from the secret of familial inheritance, the skilled craftsmen need to have an artistic soul, be good at music, dexterous and to persevere in mastering techniques and arts

The stage of spraying paint onto the guitar is followed by tuning it

The old man is regrinding the guitar to make it polished and smooth. Most stages of producing one guitar are very strenuous, which requires not only efforts but also the heart of the guitar maker

In addition to producing guitars, Tan Chau Guitar Shop also makes other traditional musical instruments such as đàn tranh (16-chord zither), tì bà (Chinese 4-chord lute), nhị (Vietnamese two-chord fiddle), nguyệt (Vietnamese 2-chord guitar), bầu (monochord)…

Apart from the time at the workshop, Mr. Viet also has the moments of relaxation when he opens a free guitar class at home

Story and photos: Phan Thanh