Leaving Hungary in 1984 destined for Canada, my family and I spent four years in Vienna, Austria. I was lucky during this difficult time to find and work in a fine music store which specialised in hand crafted guitars. Here I repaired and restored many old guitars, mandolins and zithers.
I arrived in Vancouver in 1988 and was immediately approached by Ward Music Ltd. and I set about trying to establish a new reputation for myself in Canada. I worked for the store for 6 years repairing and restoring all kinds of fretted and stringed instruments. In 1995 I had a three month long Exhibition about guitar making at the Vancouver Art and Craft Museum, and in 1997 I had a Workshop of Guitar Making at the Vancouver Music Academy during the Northwest Guitar Festival.
On July 1st, 1995 I opened my new studio workshop in Vancouver, on Granville Island, where I am building and restoring classical, flamenco, steel string guitars, violins, cellos, double bases, harps, mandolins etc All my instruments are made entirely by hand and are French Polish finished.
I successfully run this family based luthiery shop with my wife Tini, and we are receiving orders for our new instruments not only from Canada and the U.S.A. but also from as far as Europe, including Austria and my original homeland, Hungary!
Now Tini, and my daughter Eszter and I feel truly at home in beautiful
Vancouver. We are also very happy to have now some lovely friends
with our fellow luthiers who have made us so welcome in this part
of the world.
Granville Island Studio,
1645 Duranleau Street,
Canada V6H 3S3.
Phone/fax 1 (604) 683 1135
The Machine Head Specification is:
Engraved design: Burg115
(115mm overall length)
Oval pattern Dark Mother-of-pearl
Black coloured rollers for a classical guitar.
Geza Burghardt is no doubt already well known to many of you, especially those on the west coast of the U.S.A. and Canada, but we had contacts with him for several years before he and his family settled in Vancouver and established the studio-workshop on Granville Island.
Craftsmen are not renowned for "blowing their own trumpets" so it has taken some powers of persuasion to get Geza's approval for adding this feature to our website.
We very much enjoyed meeting him, his charming wife Tini and their daughter Eszter when they paid us a visit here in England last year. They have certainly had an eventful career, and Geza has written a brief life history for this feature, which I am sure you will find illuminating. I know he has glossed over some very difficult times, which should make many of us count our blessings! I strongly recommend that you read Cindy Burton's in-depth and entertaining interviews with Geza, where you will learn much more about the man, his instruments and his specialised tools for luthiers. They are to be found in "American Lutherie" journals, numbers 61 (Spring 2000) and 63 (Fall 2000).
We hope you find our feature and the photographs of interest, and now I hand you over to Geza himself.
I was born in Hungary in 1944 and completed my school education and 3 years of full-time apprenticeship in Budapest.
By 1961 I finished my studies in wood form (pattern) and model making. I was trained primarily in "hand-made" techniques and traditional methods of different kinds of woodworking.
So, with many years of experience in building and design, I became a master boat builder of canoes, kayaks and especially row boats for Olympic competition. The row boats were exported to Holland and other European countries, to be used by different sports organisations. From the early 1960's I was playing guitar in different rock-and-roll bands! First I started to make electric guitars but I developed a great interest in musical instrument construction for pieces such as classical, flamenco and steel string guitars as well as dulcimers, mandolins, violins etc.
In Budapest in 1981 I received my Maestro Certificate for Guitar Making. During the fall of 1981 I opened a workshop in Budapest where I built string instruments and did repair/restoration work. In 1983 I was chosen by the Budapest Music Academy to represent Hungary at the International Guitar Festival in Esztergom, and this is where I met and was influenced by Maestro Jose L. Romanillos.