Growing up in Hungary during the
Iron Curtain-era in the ’80s left little
room for musically inclined youngsters to
get their hands on, or even see, a Gibson or
Fender guitar. In fact, any electric guitar at
that time was outrageously expensive, and
good ones were virtually impossible to find.
Where there’s a will, there is often a way,
and the three brothers from the Benedek
family—Attila, Csaba, and Árpád—were
determined enough to start building their
own instruments so they could create the
rock, blues, and jazz they were becoming
increasingly interested in playing.
Starting out in classical music on Musima
acoustic guitars from the Czech Republic, the
brothers never owned an electric instrument
before building their own. The ingenuity of
the three teenagers quickly became evident
with their use of bicycle spokes for fretwire,
to components from a record player for making
a distortion pedal. As the experimenting
became more refined and successful on their
self-made guitars, other guitarist friends
began playing them, and later, professional
guitarists began buying them. The Benedek
brothers’ passionate hobby soon became a
reputable guitar outfit and Fibenare Guitars
was officially established in 1998.
These days, while Attila Benedek mainly
works on the business side of Fibenare, the
other two brothers and Gabor Goldschmidt
(brought on in 2004) handle most of the
building. All four luthiers at Fibenare are
certainly capable of building an instrument
from start-to-finish, but instead, each focuses
on their individual specialties and has a hand
in the construction of every instrument.
Fibenare is also able to choose from an abundant
choice of domestic, high-grade woods
for their instruments including Hungarian
ash, alder, maple, and poplar—from regular
to burl to highly figured. And while the crew
may occasionally wish for a CNC, every
instrument is completely handbuilt—including
the hardware and pickups.
Utilizing the latest in build techniques,
while still using traditional handbuilding
methodology for rough and fine work,
Fibenare has quickly made a mark in the
high-end, boutique market for both guitars
and basses. Based in Budapest in the middle of
an old, steel-industry park in Csepel Művek,
they’re happy to pour a good cup of coffee
and show visitors to the area around the shop.
Globe Bass SC Neckthrough
New for 2012 and recently introduced at the NAMM show, this bass boasts a
single cutaway and neck-through design as evidenced by its name. The 24-fret
neck features a brass nut, double-acting truss rod, and is topped with a rosewood
or padouk fretboard. Other features on this radius-carved, Hungarian poplar
bass include Fibenare’s Twin bridge, Gotoh GB707 tuning machines, and a pair
handwound, wooden-coil pickups in wooden housings called Fibenare Vazuls.
Also introduced at the 2012 NAMM show, the Roadmaster ’56 is Fibenare’s
tribute to one of the most revolutionary and timeless designs in guitar making.
This Tele-style Roadmaster ’56 has a maple burl top and utilizes bird’seye
maple for both the neck and fretboard. With a Fibenare Roadmaster
bridge and a set of Fibenare’s handwound Roadmaster pickups, this ode to
the Tele is ready to twang.
Basic Jazz Matte Henderson Signature
This signature guitar built for Matte Henderson is styled after Fibenare’s Basic
Jazz model and boasts a fully scalloped, binded fretboard that is constructed from
ironwood. Using white limba for both the neck and back, this guitar has a carved,
highly figured flame-maple top. Outfitted with Fibenare’s floating tremolo, the
Matte Henderson model is loaded up with a set of their Matte pickups in an
10th Anniversary Basic Jazz
To celebrate the company’s 10th anniversary, Fibenare produced a limited run
of 10 guitars for this Basic Jazz model. The ironwood fretboard is double bound
and a mother-of-pearl “X” inlay commemorating the milestone anniversary
graces the 12th fret. A pair of the company’s ALV-63 wooden-coil humbuckers
rest atop the very highly figured, AAAAA maple-burl top.
Basic Jazz Single Cut—Rosewood
This Basic Jazz model with a single cutaway is a semi-hollowbody with a carved
maple top and the choice of either korina or mahogany for the back. Capping
off the set-in rosewood neck is a rosewood fretboard, adorned with optional
trapezoid inlays carved from mother-of-pearl. This particular model is outfitted
with a pair of Fibenare’s handwound, ALV-63 wooden-coil humbuckers.
10th Anniversary Erotic
Like the anniversary version of the Basic Jazz, Fibenare limited production of
the 10th Anniversary Erotic to just 10 guitars. This model’s back is radius carved
from Hungarian ash, while the top is carved from Hungarian poplar burl and
decorated with maple binding. Also using a dual-humbucker configuration, the
10th Anniversary Erotic is loaded up with Fibenare’s handwound ALV-63s.
Pricing and Availability
Fibenare produces approximately 60-70
instruments a year, depending on the
difficulty level of the instruments on the
schedule. Currently, 70 percent of the company’s
production rests with guitars, and the
remaining 30 percent for basses. Fibenare’s
price range is quite wide, ranging from
$2,550 for a junior-style guitar, all the way
up to $10,000 for a single-cut, neck-through
bass with exclusive wood options. The most
common price point for a Fibenare instrument
is $5,000 to $6,000. While Fibenare
has a dealer network that spans the globe,
the company also takes direct orders.
Custom orders are welcome both through
the shop or one of their dealers.