Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 33
supplying Migma. Migma produced
acoustic and electric guitars by luthiers
including Herbert Todt, Heinz Seifert,
Max Zimmer, and Alfred Schaufuss.
At the end of the war, Migma became
principally a supplier of raw materials
and tooling, and served as a trading
company. Another Markneukirchen
collective - Musima - was perhaps the
best-known and most respected guitar
brand within the Eastern Bloc.
From 1945 on, Saxony, East Germany
- and Markneukirchen - were behind the
Iron Curtain under Communist rule. The
collective nature of lutherie was compatible
with Communist philosphy, and people
who lived under this system confirm that
instruments and instrumental music were
among the few things free from censorship, though there were strict controls on
The lute-guitar seen here is pencildated to 1948. Unfortunately, the
maker's name is illegible except for the R
at the beginning of his first name. While
the instrument is large, it's exceptionally
light, with thin maple ribs and what's
probably a neck made of Spanish cedar.
The "mustache" bridge was derived from those found on lutes and
early guitars, but here has a metal saddle for better intonation.
The fingerboard is rosewood that was
probably flattened with an ancient
plane, given the blade marks. The top is
solid spruce with the separately carved
rose inlay. Top bracing appears to be
simple ladder. The wooden frets glued
onto the top aren't really meant to be
played, but can if one must. It would
have been intended for gut strings.
Meant to be a "folk" guitar - not a classical - it has a slightly narrow 1.75" nut
and 24.5" scale, but it's fine for playing
Mudarra or Milan pavannes. And it does
not project like a concert guitar, being
more suited for intimate performance.
As with an Ovation, you might want to
lay a piece of skid-resistant fabric on
your lap, or use a strap!
Most lute-guitars were made for
amateur musicians, not professionals,
so don't expect perfect workmanship.
For example, note the free-hand-carved
lines on the headstock face!
You may not aspire to minnesinging,
but you're sure to turn a head or two if you
pull out a Romantic, poetical evocation
of the intertwined histories of lutes and
guitars like this Migma!
Pickup a Little Holiday Cheer
Happy Holidays from all
of us at Lollar Pickups
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