"Meet the Makers": Maybach Guitars
Here's our second installments in our "Meet the Makers" Serie
This time, we've decided to talk with Maybach Guitar's Tony Götz to let you know more about his beauties that have started to take France & Germany by storm!
Can you introduce yourself a little bit, who are you?
My name is Toni Götz. I was born in 1954, so I grew up at a time, when the big revolution in music happened to be, the Beatles appeared on the world stages and band like the Rolling Stones and others changed the music.
When I heard the Beatles the first time, I was totally blown away and it was my biggest wish, to get a guitar in my hands.
What was your 1st guitar?
My very first guitar was indeed a so called Wandergitarre. It was a small body acoustic guitar, made of plywood. Really cheap. I guess 35,-- DM.
When was Maybach guitars created?
We started with Maybach in 2008. When I say started, it means we started working on the concept and the designs.
The musical instrument industry isn't currently at its best due to purchasing behavior changes and some other factors, why did you decide to join in that crazy world?
That’s a very good question. However you should know, that I started my carreer in the M.I. in 1983, when I founded a company in Germany, focused on acoustic guitars. At that time, the business was way less complicated. No internet, no online shops. Local shops were really important and trade shows as well. At that time, Frankfurt Messe has been the biggest event in Europe and maybe in the world. Since the launch of the internet, big online shops have taken over a huge part of the business. However there is still enough space for individual shops, that are looking for interesting products, beside the mainstream.
In your opinion what makes your products stand apart?
Well, when we started to work on Maybach, it was our target, to build guitars in Europe and offer them for musicians at a fair price. Our first and highest priority is the quality standard. We’re not interested to make compromises on the back of the quality. That means, we really select our tonewoods by hand. We take the weight of the timbers and we chose the top woods for our Lesters piece by piece. It’s always a certain process, before we make a decision which pickups or what kind of hardware we go for. Important is also the quality of the painting. We decided to go for Nitrocellulose finish. Ageings look much more authentic.
Your guitars are based on originals from the golden era and use custom made handwound pickups from amber pickups, how did you decide on the final specs? Wasn't it too hard to settle?
We checked indeed lots of different pickups from various makers. We ended up at Amber, because we liked the true authentic Vintage sound of these pickups from the first time. Wolfgang Damm, owner of Amber pickups, became in the meantime a real good friend. He has a real empiric knowledge about pickups. So he is now a kind of our consultant. When we decided the final specs, we had some real fine
Vintage originals in our hands. We analysed how these guitars have been build and why they sound
different compared with brand new instruments.
After having created a range of guitars, you have now started to introduce custom shop models with high end specs,
Can you tell us what's so different about those custom shop models?
Over the time, we have got more and more inquiries from our customers for Custom Shop models. Means, our customer asked for the best figured tops, etc. At the end of the day, we created a custom shop model with some features, you can’t offer in a standard series.
One piece lightweight Mahogany body
This material is only in very limited quantities available
5A flamed maple tops
same here, it’s not easy to get real exceptional looking tops in quantities
Vintage wiring and Russian NoS caps from the 1950s
True Vintage Long tenon neck
Hand rubbed and individual ageing
What else can we expect from Maybach in its regular & custom shop range? a Les Paul Jr maybe?
Yes, we are working on a LP Jr single cut at the moment. I hope, that we will launch this model in September 2017. This year we will launch our first Maybach model, called the CONVAIR. It’s a LP based single cutaway (sharp cut), designed by our good friend Nick Page. The guitar should be available in autumn 2017. I am sure, that you’ve already heard and maybe you have seen the Jazzpole 63 already.It’s a Jazzmaster shape, however with a stoptail and available with different pickup versions. With the Jazpole we offer the first Maybach Pickups, called Maybach Variotone 60S. This is an interpretation of a PAF in a slightly hotter version.
Cites regulation has been introduced earlier this year, how does it affect Maybach in its day to day activities, do you think this will help preserve rosewood?
These regulations won’t help anybody at all. I had some serious conversations with people from big wood companies. All of these people I talked to, told me the same. They said, that the audit and controls should be made in the countries of origin, where the wood is cut. It doesn’t make any sense to start a documentation chain for a product, that has eventually been cut illegal in a country, where the checks a really easy to avoid. Consider only the coruption in India, Indonesia etc.
Do you think the press is giving small luthier/builders enough exposure?
Well I don’t know the situation in France. What I can say for Germany is, that the press is really aware about small builders and workshops. If you look only to what happens in Berlin with the introduction of the Holy Grail guitar Show. This is a real fantastic event, although we are not allowed to participate.
Small builder/ luthier guitars are often viewed as expensive, what can you tell people to justify those prices?
If you consider, that a luthier is able to build a guitar for you, exact according your specifications, then it is ok. Of course it is always a question money. I think, that each guitarist has to make his own decision, if he can afford it or if the guitar is worth the price he paid for. That’s really a very individual issue.
What sort of people are your guitars aimed at? Pros, amateurs?
Oh, we have a real huge players base. Means, most of the guitars I know, are in guitar players hands and this is exactly what wanted to achieve.
You've launched Maybach pretty much at the same time on the french and German markets, how have your guitars been received?
Frankly speaking, we were totally flashed by the success of Maybach. We never thought, that our guitars would achieve such a popularity in a short time. Of course it makes us all happy and in a way confident, that we are on the right track with our guitars.
I can promise to you, that we won’t stop working hard on the quality of our guitars, to make them step by step better.
And here's how they sound!