Luthier Edgar Mönch, born in Leipzig on October 29, 1907, descended from a family of musicians. His Russian mother was a pianist, his father a violinist and bandmaster. Edgar Mönch spent his childhood in Russia, attended school there and later studied mechanical engineering at the Technical University in Gdansk. He worked as a technical interpreter at the Skoda Works in Prague. There he also studied violin at the conservatory.
It was while he was a German prisoner of war in an English POW camp that he got involved in guitar making. There he met a Wroclaw luthier who showed him how to make a guitar. Released from captivity in 1947, Edgar Mönch began working as a luthier. He perfected his knowledge of guitar making by studying in Spain with guitar maker friend Marcelo Barbero in Madrid. Edgar Mönch’s skill and drive for perfection earned him worldwide recognition. He worked very precisely and self-critically like rarely any other German luthier before. Edgar willingly passed on his knowledge to his students, and world-renowned luthiers such as John Larrivee, Kolya Panhuyzen, Ken Bowen and Joseph Kurek grew out of his workshop. Two months after his son’s passing, Edgar Mönch himself died on February 16, 1977. Segovia, Julian Bream, John Williams, Vicente Gomez and many other guitarists around the world played and still play a Mönch guitar.
This most interesting model, bearing the number 25, was built in Munich in 1954. Guitars from this first and short creative period, the “Munich Epoch”, are extremely rare and by far the most sought after. 1954 is an interesting year, as Edgar Mönch exchanged intensively with his Spanish friend and fellow luthier Marcello Barbero during this period. And indeed, this guitar has a central five-fan bracing with two rather vertical V-bars, strongly reminiscent of bracing by Marcello Barbero. Often Edgar Mönch’s guitars from this era are compared to those of Hermann Hauser, and from the first note it becomes clear why.
Visually, this guitar, made of spruce and Brazilian rosewood (CITES-certified), is especially captivating due to its maze-like rosette and beautiful honey-colored soundboard. Moreover, this very instrument is illustrated in the highly recommendable book “34 Classical Guitars in Life-Size” by Alberto Martinez, published by Camino Verde. Considering its age, it is in very good condition with only one repaired hairline crack on the top, one repaired crack on the back and the doubled fingerboard. All repairs have been carried out professionally, so this wonderful guitar is currently in fantastic playing condition.
Its sound is both German rooted and very Spanish as well. It develops an elegant and clear voice, rich in sympathetic resonances and with a warmth typical of the Madrilenian school of guitar making. The inherent power of the instrument makes it very lively and exciting to play.
At the same time, this wonderful instrument offers a broad palette of sound possibilities and a noble, rich timbre.
|Back and sides:
|Brazilian rosewood (CITES certified)
|Air body resonance: