One summer day, in 1965 at the garden of an apartment house in Varnsdorf, I heard my friend Lenka playing "House of the Rising Sun" on her guitar and at that very moment, the I had made up my mind. I asked her to teach me how to play guitar. She agreed and I started practicing really hard. My first song of course had to be "House of the Rising Sun".
As time went by, my parents agreed to buy me my first guitar. I was overwhelmed with joy. However, that did not last very long. When I compared my guitar to Lenka´s, the difference was striking. Lenka´s brother was quick to explain: my guitar from a music shop was made of plywood whereas Lenka´s guitar was made by luthier from solid wood. Well, what was I to do? Nothing other than play the instrument I had. However, this experience was engraved in my mind and really shaped my future direction.
While I did enjoy playing guitar, I also made my first attempt at building a guitar after just one year. Lenka´s brother helped me with the theory needed to build a guitar. I got the material from my uncle who had a little carpentry shop not far from our house. My dad bought the tremolo bridge and the hardware in Germany. I got a set of pickups from a shop in the Czech Republic and I ripped the frets out of an old guitar and started the build.
The guitar was ready within two weeks and what's more – it actually played!
In 1969 we moved to Bratislava and after just one year I was in my first band. After playing in a number of different bands, I began looking into starting my own line of guitars. I had no idea how incredibly difficult it would I be to obtain the high quality materials I needed for my builds. At that time, good wood and hardware were only available in the West. People during the communism era simply didn´t understand that the material here was plain unusable. At least my friends from West Germany sent me my first acoustic guitar from solid wood - an Ibanez AW-60. Even though it had a nice sound and was well build, it was not even close to my idea of ideal sound.
More than twenty six years ago I have drawn my first draft of an acoustic guitar. We have been offering this model with only minor changes and innovations ever since. The beginning was quite difficult. I didn't have the proper tools and I also realized that my skills were not at the necessary level to make the instrument I dreamed of. Even though my first guitars were not visually as pretty as intended, I was able to gradually build guitars that came very close to my idea of an ideal instrument.
On top of that, I was finally able to build prototypes from quality materials that I got from Germany right after the revolution. Very early on I realized that good wood was absolutely critical to building a great guitar and that a good luthier had to respect the different acoustic properties of different woods in acoustic instruments.
I reached out to a number of established manufacturers in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. However, the results were underwhelming and far what I expected from my guitars. I spent many years searching and trying but finally I found a team of people who understood my vision and were able to translate this vision into the process of guitar making. In 1999 we started the first official production of my instruments and in 2004 we started producing the guitars in small batches.
Two years ago I met a very special man who is a violin maker by trade but he has been making guitars for more than twenty years. Since our ideas of what materials and technologies to use are very much aligned, we decided to make guitars together. I designed six basic models which we make from six different materials. I personally pick every piece of wood we use and I travel wherever necessary to source the best materials possible. Each guitar we make also has a personal twist that makes it unique and one of a kind.
We would be very happy for you to join the growing ranks of our satisfied customers from all around the world - because our guitars are not just instruments. Each Halabica guitar is a one of a kind work of art.