Ervin Somogyi is a professional luthier and artist in wood of more than fifty years’ standing, whose work is known and respected internationally.
He is unusual in lutherie in that he makes both steel string and Spanish (nylon strung) guitars. Being a flamenco guitar player, he started out making flamenco guitars and quickly found that the flamenco network is too broke to support a guitar maker. Then he tried his hand at making classic guitars, which are very similar to flamencos. After a few years of this, he became interested in making steel string guitars. Because he’d learned from five year’s worth of “nice tries” and assorted failures, his steel string guitars were surprisingly good. And they had individuality. Somogyi became somewhat of a pioneer in this, as steel string guitar making in this country had previously been, pretty much exclusively the province of factory production.
After 50+ years of instrument making, Somogyi is one of the leading American authorities on the principles of acoustic guitar construction and is known as a luthier’s luthier. These assessments are based on a lifetime of experience in making both Spanish and steel string guitars, and in his years of teaching and writing. He has taught classes in guitar making, design, voicing, and repair both privately and in schools, lectured and given workshops and hands-on demonstrations at many national conventions and lutherie symposia. Somogyi has, in a real way, taught and influenced many of the younger generation of American luthiers, and trained some of the new rising stars.