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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.


Pellerin Guitars

Hailing from the Québec Provence of Canada, Michel Pellerin builds harp guitars, as well as a variety of flattops. His harp guitar features two sets of harp strings along with a traditional 6-string neck. The harp strings mounted on the treble side of the body are tuned to a higher octave than standard guitar. Along with the instrument’s bass strings, they make this an incredibly versatile instrument. “This is more or less a guitar with the register of a piano,” says Pellerin.

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.