Sonic Sitka Q&A for Klath guitars

Luthier Facts :
Name: Kari Hahn
Location: USA

Status?: Currently Active
Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like

klath guitars, parlor model, "sonic sitka" top

Q: What attracted you to the Sonic Sitka Project?

A: I’d met Denis a year or so before, and he’d been supportive of my efforts as a new builder. When he suggested I participate in the project I thought it could be an interesting thing to do.

Q: Has this project changed/challenged your approach to guitar building?

A: The wood itself is very different from anything else I’ve worked with, so in that sense, yes.

Q: Should people care about this project?

A: Sure!

Q: What are you learning from your participation in the Sonic Sitka Project?

A: To be honest, I’m most excited to see what everyone else has built!

Q: What do you hope to learn from looking at the data collected over the next couple of years?

A: I’m interested to see what changes occur over time in individual instruments, and if possible see what affects the changes.

Q: Do you anticipate collaborating more with other project participants on new designs or refinements?

A: Sure!

Q: How important do you think using “alternative” or “sustainable” woods is going to be within the next ten years?

A: It’s important now, and I think will become more important.

Q: How do you see guitar building evolving in the 21st century?

A: There will be new ideas, new materials, and new uses for guitars that we will respond to.

Q: Do you believe that we are holding back the evolution of music?

A: On the contrary, I think that we are essential for the continued evolution of guitar music. We build the tools that innovative musicians can’t find anywhere else.

Q: Should we be deconstructing old instruments for their valuable hardwoods and build new instruments that are completely original?

A: If it ain’t broke… My gut reaction is to say no, but I can see situations where it may be an option. I have a particular interest in (very) old instruments, so in general I’d prefer to see and hear them in their original incarnations.

Q: Do you think that luthiers need to keep making guitars based on well-established designs or should they expand the sonic possibilities of the instrument?

A: There is a place and a need for both. Established designs bring tradition, history, repertoire, and the credibility that that represents, while new designs push music in new directions and prevent stagnation.

Q: Should players’ technique and needs be driving design and innovation or should luthiers simply strive for innovation?

A: Again, both are important. We should be responding to musicians’ needs, as well as providing them with new directions. This is an area where collaboration is fairly important.

Pictures ©2009 Kari Hahn

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