Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Gallery: 2016 Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration

Showcasing hundreds of drool-worthy, handcrafted instruments, a new U.S. guitar show makes its successful debut.


Falbo Guitars

Frank Falbo brought a number of his instruments to the show to demonstrate the effectiveness of his Intension bridge, which is designed as a way to combat string tension without relying on traditional bracing. “The Intension harness leaves the entire top floating to produce perhaps the most active guitar top you've played,” says Falbo. He showed off a hollowbody electric, a double-neck 6- and 12-string with a lacewood top, a jumbo, and other dreadnoughts. Falbo has also begun experimenting with fanned-fret designs.

The inaugural Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration was held September 29 to October 2 in sunny coastal California. The event brought hundreds of top luthiers and players who displayed their craftsmanship, gave seminars, and held intimate concerts. The Earl Warren Showgrounds served as a fitting venue, as in decades past it hosted concerts from such acts as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys, the Doors, Cream, the Grateful Dead, and Janis Joplin.

The show pulled widely from Canada and Europe, with heavy representation from the U.S. West Coast. Also on sale were top-grade woods, inlay materials, and custom bindings. Luthiers were open with their time, and many fans enjoyed hearing builders talk shop. Among the visitors was Santa Barbara resident and guitar pickup guru, Seymour Duncan, who could be seen checking out all the beautiful instruments on display.