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German Music Instrument Award 2011 For Bass Trumpet And Archtop Guitar
Honoring outstanding craftsmanship in the German musical-instrument industry since 1991
By Mi2N
(more articles from this author)
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The German Music Instrument Awards will be given for the 21st time during Musikmesse 2011 in Frankfurt am Main from 6 to 9 April. This year, the awards go to two workshops in the bass-trumpet category and two in the archtop-guitar category. The award will be presented at a ceremony during the international Musikmesse in Café Classic, Hall 1.2, on 7 April 2011. The award winners are:

In the category archtop guitar with pickup:
'A 17 SN' - Kolani-Gitarren, Rainer Kolanowski, Halle/Saale (Saxony-Anhalt) 'FS-2' - Launhardt Guitars, Ehringshausen (Hesse)

In the category bass trumpet in C:
Model 200 - HSM, Hermann Schmidt Metallblasinstrumentenbau, Markneukirchen (Saxony)
Bass Trumpet in C - Josef Gopp, Meisterinstrumente, Karlstadt-Wiesenfeld (Bavaria)

With the German Musical Instrument Award, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Technologie - BMWi) emphasises the significance of musical-instrument making in Germany for the musical-instrument sector, and draws attention to the cultivation of tradition in Germany and the innovativeness of its manufacturers. Germany's musical-instrument manufacturers can look back over a long tradition and lead the world in many instrument categories, especially when it comes to combining tradition, craftsmanship and individuality with modern technologies and innovations.

The award-winning instruments in the archtop-guitar category
The archtop guitar is a special kind of steel-string guitar that, in the case of the award-winning instruments, is fitted with a pickup. Archtop guitars are made with a full body, arched top and back and, as a rule, have f-holes and a scratch plate. Initially, the characteristic sound and sonority of these guitars were used by jazz and country musicians, as well as in swing and big bands. Today, archtop guitars are also popular in jazz, blues and various types of rock music. This year, the award in the archtop guitar-category goes equally to two instruments.

The first winner is Rainer Kolanowski's company Kolani-Gitarren. Rainer Kolanowski is self-taught and runs his company as a one-man operation. The instruments are made to order and in close cooperation with the customers. Thus, customers have the opportunity to test their instrument in the semi-finished stage and can influence the material, shape and sound of the final product. According to Kolanowski, particular attention is paid during manufacturing to the quality of the wood and traditional methods of making the violin-style back and top.

The second winner is Thomas Launhardt with his Launhardt Guitars workshop where the master plucked-instrument maker and his team make concert guitars, western guitars, jazz guitars, electric guitars, bass guitars and mandolins. The focus of the production of the award-winning FS-2 guitar is on the classic archtop form with cutaway and f-holes but no scratch plate. The FS series comes in a graduated range of sizes (FS-2 - FS-5) and customers can influence the finish of the instrument (varnishing, pickup, etc.) during the manufacturing stage.

The award-winning instruments in the bass-trumpet category
The bass trumpet is a special version of the valve trumpet. However, it is bigger and has the same gamut as a trombone. It is frequently played by trombonists because the range and the mouthpiece are similar to those of a trombone. The bass trumpet is primarily used in orchestral pieces and is prescribed in works by Richard Wagener. The most famous composition in which the bass trumpet plays a prominent role is Stravinsky's 'Le Sacre du Printemps'. There are hardly any solo works for this instrument.

This year, the award in the archtop guitar category goes equally to two instruments.

The C Modell 200 bass trumpet of Hermann Schmidt Metallblasinstrumentenbau is made of brass. The company from East German Markneukirchen has a long history reaching back into the mid-19th century. To ensure that the sound of a bass trumpet is pure, it is essential that the tubing be bent very carefully. In most cases, this is done by hand in lead. The launch of the 200 model was preceded by a two-year period of research and development work.

The second award-winning instrument is the C bass trumpet by Josef Gopp Meisterinstrumente from Karlstadt-Wiesenfeld. This trumpet is also made of brass and fitted with an exchangeable mouthpiece. According to the manufacturer, all components except the valves are made in the company's own workshop. With instru-ments such as the bass trumpet, which has a very large gamut, it is difficult to achieve a direct and clear response. Both award-winning trumpets were given top marks by the testing musicians in terms of responsiveness and playability.

The selection procedure
The German Musical Instrument Awards will be presented during the Musikmesse in Café Classic, Hall 1.2, at 18.00 hrs on Thursday, 7 April 2011. The certificates will be presented by a representative of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.

To take part in the German Musical Instrument Award, musical- instrument manufacturers submit their instruments for a three-stage selection procedure conducted by the Institute for Musical Instrument Making (Institut für Musikinstrumentenbau), in which musicians, all experts for their instrument, including Prof. Michael Sagmeister for the guitar section and Olaf Ott for the trumpet section, test the instruments for playability, sound and responsiveness. The acoustic-quality tests are objective, i.e., the players have no influence, thanks to acoustic measurements. In the third stage, an expert evaluates the instruments with regard to craftsmanship. The assessment also takes account of value for money. Additionally, the instruments must be available via the trade or the manufacturer.

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