Interview with the Swiss luthier Claudio Pagelli who builds gorgeous and very original guitars with his wife Claudia. Here's the video recorded during the 2019 edition of the Guitar Summit in Mannheim, Germany.
Click here for the video (you have to scroll a bit...) and
the Guitar Channel site
And if you are interested, Pierre shared the link with us to the full video he recorded in Mannheim, even though this is part of the content reserved for paying subscribers on the Guitar Channel*
Thanks Pierre for that!
Pierre is a great support for all luthiers, so lets support his site too!
Der goldene Schnitt / The Golden Cut
- Pagelli Guitars 40th Anniversary Flattop
What a great review of our new 40‘ year anniversary guitar in the new GrandGtrs magazine! It's in german - so for the english readers I just post one phrase of Leonard Breukens review: «Im running out of superlative words..» :-)
And to have a guitar of my oldest friend in the guitar business on the cover makes the whole thing perfect.
Thanks Leonardt and Grandgtrs for that flattering review!
Outside the Box
Innovation, artistry and elbow grease - how women luthiers are rewriting the rulebook.
Many thanks to Adam for thinking of me when you planned this feature about guitar makers.
At first I mentioned to him that I am not a guitar maker, but rather that I became a guitar designer. But I think because our instruments have achieved a different way of thinking in guitar making thanks to my unconventional approach, our innovations and implementations, I still fit into the interview.
Many of his interview questions were an interesting challenge for me to think about. When you are involved, you often forget what it looks like from the outside ... It feels good to be featured with such well-known women in guitar making.
We love the way the feature is made! It looks nice and clean…bang!
Thank you very much, Terence.
About the magazine:
Guitarbench is designed to be an electronic magazine, but with a familiar, print face. Even though the issues are optimised and available for electronic platforms, we're still at heart, a traditional publication.
You won't find our magazines on big retail sites. We don't go for big business models or numbers. We want to do our best for, and connect with our readers.
Our dear friend Kaz from Jersey Girl Homemade Guitars in Japan, one of the finest builder on the planet, has written a really beautiful article in the Japanese Laid Back Guitar Magazine about us. Jerseys and Laidbacks, thanks for choosing us!..
Kaz's translation of the articles. Here is the meanings of that. I wrote it with the styles of Japanese poetry. So it is more unique English than always. Please read with your full imagination!
Emerald of deep forest, pale yellow of warm wood. Whirlwind created by contrast. Again, I was fascinated by Pagelli.
Late 1960s. The purple haze of hippie culture drifted from the radio quickly captured A Boy- Claudio in Switzerland. He learned piano building, and his "sense of the tones” cultivated there are further trained in the work of guitar repair. While he was working actively in the Swiss music scene as a bandman, engineer and producer, his guitar production continued passionately.
Claudia's designs, like abstract paintings that capture the sparkle of creature’s life, stimulated artisan Claudio, and the world of Pagelli became wider and deeper with each work.
This work was created for S. M. in 2019.
Maple flows to the body back as if holding a Swiss moon spruce top, and the ebony bindings applied throughout show the supreme handwork. Häussel special rail type single coil that fully reproduces the emotional expression of the player. The Zirikote bridge tailpiece, inlayed with copper oxide, incorporates controls and output jacks as well as rear pickups.
Sophisticated and simplistic enough to forget the complex process and the production process that requires meticulous calculations, the shape is like an innocent dance that spins lightly.
The praise for their works are to many to count, that fulfill player’s thoughts, but at the same time are innovative. However, those words become powerless when we see their breathtaking originality and high completeness in real.
«Pagelli‘s are Pagelli‘s»
I gave Claudio a small antique tin can when we met again. Then he took a tin can out from his pocket and gave me in return. That small tin can, he found when he first visited Woodstock, he told me. I also received his unvarying rock spirit, I felt.
A great article, written by Andreas Schulz, in the April/May issue of Akustik Gitarre Magazin, Germany about our new 40“anniversary guitar.
Here some Phrases:
Ear wellness, artwork, great feel, modern, harmonic, innovative construction details, between musical instrument and art, can't get much better...!
A.S.... a man with style..:-))
guitarpics ©2019 by Andreas Schulz I www.leftover-visuals.de
Antonio Marano works as a full professor of Industrial Design at the Department of Architecture, University of Chieti-Pescara, Italy. Among other things he is very interested in guitar designs for his researches and teaching in industrial design at the University.
That's why he pubslished end of the year his new book called:
«Design Musicale» Innovazione tecnologica ed evoluzione del linguaggio nel guitar design.
Published by Gangemi Editore of Rome.
During his research, Antonio also asked us about some of our designs. The Golden Fretless Bass, the Gitane Nouveaux, the Tim Ray Archtop and the incredible Convertible won the race.
It is a great honour and we are proud to be part of such an informative, well-made book.
And we are also proud that three other members of our «Luthiers Beyond Limits» group are published with their extraordinary work. Michihiro Matsuda, Jean-Yves Alquier and Tao Guitars by John and Serge.
Thank you Antonio for your incredible and important work.
It’s possible to buy the book through these links:
In the January / February 2020 report on the Aria D'Aquisto teardrop archtop in GrandGtrs Magazine, we are mentioned along with John D'Aquisto and John Monteleone. Among the current guitar makers as bravest innovators in terms of shape and constructive features of the sounding «dinosaurs».
Thank you very much - Wolfgang and grandgtrs ...you are real connoisseurs!
Sounding Legends: The guitars of Claudio and Claudia Pagelli.
Many thanks for the successful report about our work, passion and the last «little one» in the summer edition of the Graubünden Magazins.
The «Les Petites Naïves» was created in collaboration with Gian Häne. See previous news...
Depeche Mode is one of the bands you should never underestimate. For almost 40 years there are hits and hymns.... classics!
And now that MARTIN GORE has fallen in love with one of our guitars, makes us brutally proud.
To know our GRINGOBEAT in the hands of such a successful songwriter and guitarist in one of the most famous bands of our planet is simply mind-blowing.
We are very thankful to Akustik Gitarre and Andreas Schulz for doing such a long and great article on Pagelli’s 40 year celebration! There are real guitar lovers working for that magazine.
Nice report of our Japan trip. unfortunately the names of the other builders and involved persons are missing, but you will get all the infos in the next chapter.
Wow... back from NAMM 2018 in Los Angeles… what a fair!
We displayed our guitars at the «Luthiers Beyond Limits» booth, a collaboration of 6 outstanding Luthiers, including Mario Beauregard, TAO, Michihiro Matsuda, Steve Klein, Jean Ives Alquier and ourselves. Since we all appreciate the work of each other we came up with the idea to celebrate that with a common booth.
Of course, it was also more visible than a single booth…. a row of 20 meters…!
Thank you all who showed up, thanks for the good talks and the great music. And sorry to all we promised to visit their booth, we just had no chance to leave the stand. I guess you all had the same problem… ;-)
Please have a look at the pics for an impression… unfortunately, we have forgotten to take more. And watch also the video «Guitar Interactive - The Free Online Guitar Magazine» for a more lively impression ;-)
It was a great pleasure having Luzi Brükli as a guest with us in our workshop. A talk about guitarsbuilding filmed by the TV Südostschweiz. On youtube you still can watch our talk...
Thank you very much for all the guests showing up and to GUYA for playing&singing.
It was a great joy and honour to meet George Benson yesterday in Zürich.
He is my favourite Jazz guitarst since the early 70ies... so fluid, groovie and tasteful. And yeah, that, after not stopping playing our Massari Archtop Nr. nün, he said: «You made me the highlight of the day» ...made actually the day for me.
Many thanks to allblues concerts for making that possible. www.allblues.ch
Our favourite US Magazine PREMIERGUITAR made a Feature about the Santa Barbara Guitar Show. Some of the world best Luthiers have been there... and me, myself and I.
Please scroll to «P» on the Pic's and read the flattering words about us...thanks a lot guys! premierguitar.com or click on the pic to the left for a short impression.
Our ad's in the Guitar Connoisseur Magazine for two years.
To create these ad's gives me much pleasure...
«Its been a rough 2 weeks but a visit with Claudio and Claudia makes it all worth it. The Pagelli's are leaders in guitar designs and I always have a good laugh in their company. Of course, Im always speechless when they break out their resent works of musical art as there is no one doing anything remotely close to what they do.
Great people, great artists, and great friends.
This is what life is about. Enjoy it as best you can.»
Fish and his tec Ryan enjoying the fresh air, the mountain view...and the MASSARI archtop!
Was a great day - great guys! <(((>
Very nice report about us in the new German grandgtrs issue!
Click on the link to the left for an impression or go for the whole story in grandgtrs on their website.
«I know of nobody, who so continuously reinvent themselves, while still being easily identifiable, as Claudia and Claudio Pagelli. For more years than I care to count, I have been looking at Pagelli guitars at different shows. And I always wonder how enormously rich and famous they would have been, if they had chosen an art form more accessibly to a broader audience. As it is, we can count ourselves lucky that they did chose guitars and keep enjoying their art for years to come.» - Mats Nermark
Internationally renowned Swiss fashion house Akris is using our guitar designs for its new, inspired-by ’60s beatnik Francoise Hardy, Akris punto collection.
No strangers to being on stage, Pagelli designs can now also be found on the catwalks of the world!
It is perhaps the calm and seclusion of Scharans which promote the necessary patience and precision to make world-famous guitars. This is where, in the experienced hands of Claudio Pagelli, plucked string instruments, perfect down to the very last detail, are created. It is from this small village near Thusis that they start their journey into the big wide world...
36 Years of Pagelli Guitars - we can hardly believe it ourselves!
We’re touched by all the kind words and congratulations we’ve received from fellow luthiers from around the world, whose work we respect and admire:
«It's difficult to say just when our traditional craft of guitar making began evolving into a contemporary art form, but it most certainly has, and the work of Claudia & Claudio Pagelli is my proof of that. They are among the rarest of luthiers whose work distinguishes true art from high level craft and novelty. Hail Claudii!»
- Charles Fox, charlesfoxguitars.com
«In a world full of cloned guitars (mere copies of the models that have been around for decades) Claudio and Claudia Pagelli's breath-taking creativity feels like a breeze of fresh air. I admit it: whenever I see these beautiful instruments, a little (however healthy) envy pinches my soul, as I ask myself: «How come didn't I thought of making a guitar like that?»
They have earned a place at the top of contemporary European (and why not, global) lutherie. But above all else they are great people, and I am proud and honored of calling them my friends.»
- Leo Lospennato, lospennato.com
«Ihr lebst es, den Gitarrenbau. Seit 36 Jahren. Pagelli ist eine europäische Perle. Und sie strahlt von innen.»
- Frank Deimel, deimelguitarworks.de
«Dear Claudio and Claudia, congratulations on 36 years of amazing guitars. Your work is an inspiration to anyone with eyes and ears.»
- Your friend, Harry Fleishman, fleishmaninstruments.com
«Let's get it straight here, we wouldn't be what we are now without the Pagellis, they've always been the model to follow, Their perfect blend of design flair mixing so tastily elements of the past with a real sense of modernism doubled with a true artistically perfect execution, is the goal we still dream to reach. Thank you guys»
- John & Serge, taoguitars.com
«Claudia & Claudio - the better I’ve gotten to know you over the years, the more I’ve learned to understand and love the extraordinary flow of creativity and passion that oozes from every seam of your work. I respect this moment as your friend and brother in arms. 36 years in your labor of love - wow - congratulations! May the tone be with you for many many more years to come!»
- Juha Ruokangas, ruokangas.com
«Congratulation to your 36th anniversary! Please keep knock us out with your fantastic ideas and works to your 51th anniversary! Your beautiful new website is full of inspirations. We are great fan of yours again!»
- Kaz and Akiko, jerseygirlhg.com
«Happy Birthday Team Pagelli!
Claudio and Claudia Pagelli have my deepest affection for their kindness and selfless service to others. That alone could keep me busy for a few pages, though the task at hand is to reflect on their 36 year contribution to the art of luthery and to their refinements of the design of modern guitars.
A true indication of a visionary’s influence is in the flattery of imitation. Claudia’s innovative visions and Claudio’s gift of realization have created a school of design that is so pervasive in contemporary guitar making that most observers would attribute the quick acceleration of the “new” style to some phenomenon of simultaneous discovery.
Generations ago it would have taken lifetimes to establish this kind of influence on such a tradition bound trade as stringed instrument making. The internet could take some blame for the seemingly rapid paradigm shift, though it is the Pagelli’s graceful practice of giving more then they get that is the true source of our shared benefit from their contributions.
Historically speaking; the acclaim and the wealth from stringed instrument genius, like that of the team Pagelli, will go to the heirs of those who were Italian and dead for a few centuries. It’s my prayer that Claudio and Claudia will see the rewards for their priceless work while we can still enjoy their presence.»
- Richard Hoover, santacruzguitar.com
«Claudio and Claudia are close friends and their work continues to earn my highest respect. From the first time I saw their work I was deeply inspired. The originality of their designs and exquisite execution set a standard I can only hope to attain. Thank you for your artistry and friendship!»
- Abraham Wechter, wechterguitars.com
«I'm only making guitars since 20 years, so I've always been growing up in my work with the Pagelli's inspiring designs in the corner of my head, since the begining of my luthier's life. A different way to think guitars, not only in its shape, but also in its whole concept. Beautifull instruments, as only very skilled artisans can conceptualize and finally be able to reach the perfect balance between sound and design, with the goal to make of this intrument a tool for a musician, and also to be able to light the word art in artisan.»
- Pierrick Brua, bruaguitars.com
«Pagelli is style, charm, design and sonic qualities made available for musicmakers. Anniversaries are rewards for the good work done! Tanti auguri.»
- Andrea Ballarin, manne.com
«The Pagelli's are one of the super stars of original, outside the box creativity. Their innovative approach to both the construction and visual flair is unrivaled in this community and much envied by me personally. They are inspiration to the rest of us.»
- Doug Kauer, kauerguitars.com
»Dear Claudio, it's unbelievable! You celebrated 35 last year - I'll do that this year! And it seems to be only few years I built my first instrument and a while we first met each other. But I want to say, I have never met a person like you are! There is so much invention and creativity in your work! Very rare and seldom to see. After my opinion you are not a luthier only - you make jewels! Jewels that sound! Wish you all the best and a lot of such a nice instruments in your next 36 years!»
- Roman Zajicek, rozawood.cz
«Congratulation for 36 years in business! You are always adding more meaning to guitar making. I have deep respect for you.»
- Michihiro Matsuda, matsudaguitars.com
Auch das Fachmagazin Gitarre&Bass ist in Berlin mit dabei - vorab schon einige Interviews mit Gitarrenbauern aus aller Welt. Unter anderem aber auch mit Claudio:
Unter dem Artikel sind auch Tests verlinkt, die von uns bei Gitarre&Bass über die Jahre erschienen sind – die stehen jetzt zum kostenlosen Download bereit!
«Leonardo» Pagelli - Valser Quarzit Flattop
Mit einem ganz besonderen Auftrag des Steinbruchbesitzers Pius Truffer aus dem Valsertal in der Schweiz wurden Claudia und Claudio Pagelli für ihr neuestes Werk betraut. Die Firma Truffer ist in der Schweiz sehr bekannt, der Quarzit aus diesem Steinbruch ziert neben dem Schweizer Bundesplatz die amerikanische Botschaft in Berlin und das Palais des Congrés in Paris. Aber dieser Stein kam nicht nur in den Botschaften dieser Welt zum Einsatz, er ziert auch die prächtige Optik der berühmten Therme in Vals, gebaut nach Vorgaben von Stararchitekt Peter Zumthor...
Sleek & Unique
There are only a few luthiers who create new instruments that stretch the envelope of traditional archtop design. One such luthier is Claudio Pagelli, a visionary craftsman who has broken new ground with the introduction of his Massari model archtop...
The Massari is an amazing instrument that straddles the line between art and functionality.
The «Holy Trinity» of Guitar Making
Tone, playability and beauty - the three main attributes of a good guitar come together in a workshop in Switzerland, where Pagelli guitars are born.
Guitart - The intersection of where Extraordinary Craftsmanship meets Unbridled Creativity
Pagelli’s creativity and lutherie skills are nearly boundless. A quick perusal of his website reveals how wildly the offerings vary—from electric solidbodies to archtops, flattop acoustics, and basses. Typically, each instrument is a one-of-a-kind design, but in a break from tradition Pagelli has decided to build the closest thing to a production-line model that we’re likely to see from him—the new Massari archtop...
Playing the Massari, it’s easy to see why Claudio and Claudia Pagelli are held in such high esteem by other renowned builders. They’ve got a pretty rare combination of boundless creativity, exacting building standards, and stellar artistic sensibilities. The guitar may be priced like an heirloom, but that’s because it is one. Like all of Pagelli’s offerings, it’s bound to become a modern treasure.
Pagelli Convertible Guitar
Ist das abgefahren?! Vier Gitarren in einer, und mehr. So etwas kann nur von Claudio Pagelli kommen, dem unermüdlichen Innovator, dessen grosse Gabe es ist, auf einzigartige Weise Design und Funktion zusammenzubringen. Geboren werden seine Instrumente aus dem inneren Ansporn, sich immer wieder auf neue Territorien zu wagen, sich nicht zu wiederholen, und auch solche Aufgaben in Angriff zu nehmen, die jeder andere als nicht realisierbar erklären würde. Im Gegenteil - für Claudio scheint es überhaupt erst richtig spannend zu werden, wenn Sisyphos-Aufgaben anstehen...
Eine vollständig in Zelluloid gekleidete Gitarre sieht man heute kaum noch. Pagelli hat hier also wieder einmal ein Objekt rausgehauen, das das Besondere zu seinem Standard erhebt. Die TrashQueen ist - wie immer bei Pagellis - mehr als nur ein Kunstwerk, sondern auch eine absolut hochwertige, sehr gut klingende E-Gitarre, die in Kombination mit den modernen Q-Tuner-Pickups eine ungeheuer grosse Klangvielfalt an den Tag legt. Für mich persönlich ist diese Gitarre aber - wenn man Sounds und Aussehen zusammen bewertet - die Soulgitarre schlechthin, denn der Clean-Sound ist einfach in seiner Grösse und Klarheit bombastisch! Ein weisser Anzug, möglichst ein schwarzer Teint, Funk'n'Soul im Blut und dann die Pagelli TrashQueen im Arm - das ist klanglich und optisch wirklich nicht zu toppen!
Pagelli Tim Ray
Gitarrenbaukunst! Wenn jemand im modernen Gitarrenbau den Kunstbegriff weit über das handwerkliche Geschick hinausgeführt hat und Begriffe wie Stil und Grandezza für sich in Anspruch nehmen darf, dann ist das Claudio Pagelli. Moment, zu kurz gegriffen, es muss natürlich heissen: Die Pagellis! Denn Claudia, des Meisters Frau, ist wesentlich am Design der wunderbaren Instrumente beteiligt.
Die Holy Grail Guitar Show ist ja jetzt auch schon wieder Geschichte..;-(
Schön wars - freuen uns jetzt schon auf November 2015...
und wer nicht dabei sein konnte, findet in den neuen Ausgaben von Akustik Gitarre, Gitarre&Bass und grand gtrs schöne Impressionen der Ausstellung.
Und natürlich auch auf der www.holygrailguitarshow.com site!
In dem Sinne: Viel Spass beim Durchstöbern! Claudio+Claudia
Legenden. Lärm. Leidenschaft.
Legends. Noise. Passion.
A very successful exhibition that was shown in advance in Germany and then in Switzerland at the Museum for Communication. Created with a lot of heart and soul, knowledge and passion and gives our «Jazzability» the chance for a big museum appearance. Refreshingly unconventional :-)
Thank you very much - Claudio + Claudia