Venturvane

Kathy Matsushita: Amateur Luthier

Posted on June 22, 2008 at 2:22 PM

    The Guitar that I used in my recent concert here in Herrnhut, Germany for the piece, "Holy Spirit Venturvane," was hand built by my Freshman year English Teacher, Kathy Matsushita, who still teaches English at Independence High School in San Jose, California and still builds guitars in her free time over the Summer and Winter breaks.  It was the school year of 1999/2000 when I had her -- I was 14 -- and when I was a Sophemore at age 15, she loaned me her brother's guitar, as I wanted to learn the guitar in the school guitar class under Mike Kambeitz.  So, I eventually got my own guitar later in my Sophemore year, which was a Hohner and had it up until the Summer of 2006 when I gave it to a friend here in Herrnhut, Germany as a gift.  That very Summer, I came in contact again through email with that old Freshman English teacher, whom I hadn't seen since High School and I told her all about my adventures in Germany and Israel and how God led me here and there.  At that time, I was interested in Baritone Guitars and maybe getting one for myself because I liked the deep sound and I had grown accustom to the low altered tuning that I had used on my Hohner, which was a CGCEGC tuning.  I had also changed the strings on the guitar so that it no longer used the high E string and the D string was doubled.  So, the strings from low to high became EADDGB so that I could better achieve the tuning for "Holy Spirit Venturvane" which is the tuning above: CGCEGC.  So, after having come in contact again with Kathy that summer of 2006, I asked her if she would like to build me a Baritone guitar as her next summer project and how much it would cost.  She wasn't able to do this at the time, but in November of 2007 as I was back in California for a while I was able to pay her a visit at my old High School and she brought a Taylor style grand concert cutaway that she had built in the Summer of 2006 as well as a classical guitar that she had built last Summer in 2007.  She wanted to hear what they sounded like when played and that was when I got to tell her a little about how God led me to Herrnhut, Germany and to Israel.  That was when she then offered to build a guitar for me that would then be a gift.  So, I actually liked the Taylor style grand concert cutaway so much that I asked her if I could just have that one and she said yes.  So, now you know the story behind the Matsushita grand concert cutaway that I used in my recent concert, which you can see pictures of it on this myspace.  It's a really great guitar and Kathy is still at it with the guitar building.

 

Here's a link to her site with the steps she took to build the guitar.

 

-Daniel

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