Here’s the instrument that Jan Tuláček initially emailed me about last week, after spotting my blog about the bogengitarre.  Remember how in that blog, I pointed out the different “waves” of their popularity?  Specifically, the original Schenk period (around the 1840’s), then the “Second Coming” around 1900, with a few stragglers here and there…?

Well, Jan has now initiated the “Third Epoch” of the now-familiar (but still-untranslatable) bogengitarre.  This was instigated through a recent commission by a fellow named Thilo Hirsch, whose own specialty is the similarly obscure and forgotten Trumpet Marine (or Tromba Marina).  He leads several ensembles that bring this instrument back from obscurity.  His latest project is Die Bogenhauser Künstlerkapelle (no, I have no idea how to translate it…a little help here?), a small group that plays both rare historical music and new music.   Thilo’s new reproduction Schenk bogengitarre is used in this group (just as it was in the original 1897-1937 version of this unusual ensemble), played by Josef Focht (alert site readers may recognize his name as one of the modern kontragitarre players on our special Players section).  Sounds pretty interesting – I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing more about them!

Meanwhile, Jan posted his build photos here.  I’ve suggested he write captions and/or text to accompany this groundbreaking project, so maybe we’ll see something of the kind in the future.

Like all his instruments, it looks like a very faithful copy.  The remarkable hollow-headstock tuner array was re-created by Rubner, a German company Benoit has been using with great results for re-creating old kontragitarre hardware of various configurations.  What a resource!

I asked Jan if he had the means of offering plans for those interested.  While he didn’t make a full set, capturing only those measurements he needed, he is happy to help.  He studied and measured a/the Schenk in the Berlin Museum, a task also undertaken by “Second Coming” era Schenk-copier, Karl Muller, whose own drawings reside in the museum (reference photo at left).

Jan’s willingness to study and painstakingly recreate esoteric historical guitars has already made possible the new wave of 8-string players – can he do it again with the distinctive, if aggravatingly named, bogen guitar?!*

I’m hoping yes.

* P.S.  Jan’s best guess is also “bow” (as in archery).  I still don’t see it…(now, in Knutsen’s hollow arm, maybe…)