Modern Builder Vault: Fibernare Guitars
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
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 H-S-H configuration.
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.