Eastern Europe may not be the first location that springs to mind when it comes to acoustic guitar making. But, for many years, the Czech Republic's Furch Guitars has been building a solid reputation as one of the best flat-top makers in the world.
Company founder Frantisek Furch says he made his first guitar way back in 1981 when the former Czechoslovakia was under a tight communist regime that inhibited travel and trade with the West. With access to high-quality acoustics proving difficult and expensive, Furch was inspired to build his own.
Subsequently, he began to make a name for himself as a skilled craftsman and the luthier's talents became increasingly in demand from the local country and bluegrass community who requested similar custom builds.
During this time, Czechoslovakia’s communist regime disallowed private businesses and the manufacture of goods for profit, thus Furch continuously worked under the threat of a lengthy prison sentence. Nevertheless, his love for guitar making and a thriving community of musicians kept the dream alive.
Eventually, in 1989, Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party relinquished power, ending decades of one-party rule. It was the beginning of a new chapter, not only for Furch Guitars but for the country as a whole.
Nowadays, and with over 80 employees, Furch Guitars has gone from strength to strength as they continue to offer world class designs across a range of price points.
Response and “inspiration factor” are the things CEO Petr Furch, son of Frantisek Furch, says he looks for in every single guitar. “The guitar really must lead my hand,” he enthuses. “Technology is really important to us, but hand work – hand crafting – is also very important for us…
"What you find at Furch is a nice balance between these two seemingly very distant worlds.”
Visit Furch Guitars for more information.
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Rod Brakes is a music journalist with an expertise in guitars. Having spent many years at the coalface as a guitar dealer and tech, Rod's more recent work as a writer covering artists, industry pros and gear includes contributions for leading publications and websites such as Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player and MusicRadar in addition to specialist music books, blogs and social media. He is also a lifelong musician.