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Gallery: 2016 Santa Barbara Acoustic Instrument Celebration

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


Matsuda Guitars

Raised in Tokyo and now based in Oakland, California, Michihiro Matsuda has already established a name for making extraordinarily crafted acoustic guitars. He’s now venturing into the world of electrics, and this futuristic 6-string is representative of his unique work. The guitar is designed to maximize the vibrations from the acoustic soundboard, which also functions as the instrument’s body. “My custom instruments not only meet the technical needs of the player,” says Matsuda, “they are also personal creative works from my imagination.”

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.