by Lubos Naprstek
I was born in 1964, in the Czech Republic outside of Prague in a city called Kladno. This part of the Czech Republic is reknown for its tradition of musical instrument building–and a devoted coterie of serious musicians with an intense interest in Euro and American Jazz, Bluegrass and Classical music.
As a young boy I was always fascinated with wood, and at 11 years old, my main hobby was building model airplanes and boats. The acquired skills for designing with accuracy, symmetry; as well as reading blueprints was gained at this early stage and proved extremely useful later in my life in building, designing and in the repairing and restoration of stringed musical instruments.
Back in my home country, my earliest influence was an aquaintance who was a skilled violin maker named Miroslav Zak, specializing in mostly violins and cellos for the local orchestras and chamber music ensembles. (Another early influence on me was a second older gentleman named Jan Slipka, a master level violinmaker–who built many of the instruments played by the string section of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra…and who is still reknown in his craft to this very day!)
One day I saw Mr. Slipka \’tapping\’ a spruce top and maple back of a cello he was building, and I asked him what that was all about. That demonstration and ensuing explanation, gave me the most important skill in the knowledge of \’tap tuning\’ and in the concept of bracing–which I still utilize in the designs and construction of my archtop guitars and mandolins…and it is to these two influential old-world gentlemen craftsmen that I owe my greatest debt.
As a musician myself, I understand that mysterious essence all players are looking for; that special tone, timbre, voice and resonance…and it is this same quest that drives and inspires me, in the designing and building of my instruments. There are no compromises with a calling…
My own personal favorite instrument is the archtop guitar and mandolin, because it\’s a special challenge to make them. Starting with wood selection and grain direction, my number one priority is quality materials; and a musician ordering the \’Standard\’ or \’Deluxe\’ models of my handmade instruments automatically receives the same quality craftsmanship.
I also build the traditional \’turn of the century\’ small bodied 12 Fret \”Parlour Guitars\” as well as Classical guitars; and as a fan of Bluegrass and \’hot\’ jazz, I build Banjos as well.
As a custom builder, I attempt to understand your needs as a player to create that \’one of a kind\’ custom instrument you will simply enjoy playing for many years, on and off the job.