By Jonathan Bloomer
In 1980’s Hungary, brothers Attila, Csaba & Árpád Benedek were so captivated by Rock guitar that all three had to get guitars. But acquiring a decent guitar, especially a Fender or Gibson, was tough at that time for people inside the Iron Curtain. On their Father’s advice to learn guitar building, the boys did just that; eventually creating super-Strats for their friends while trying to complete their University studies in a country that was struggling to find its own identity.
Today Fibenare Guitars, a family company, has dealers all over the world with 18 currently listed on their website from Canada, USA and Mexico as well as 8 different locations in Europe, and a dealer in Thailand.
They have controlled the size of the company so that is still a small family business with only one addition (Gábor Goldschmidt/ Pickups Engineering, who spoke with us for this article) since they incorporated the business. Thus far they have created 3 different guitar model categories and 1 bass model with several variations of those models, plus signature and custom shop instruments.
“We build what we feel to do. We were so much into the single-cut Basic Jazz for a long time so we did it. A year later we wanted a Tele style (Roadmaster). You never know what is the next.”
“We are able to control everything in the workshop. We make the guitars, we make the hardware, we wind our pickups, and we even build our own cases! Everything in one place, directed and made in the way that we decide. This is our strength.”
The Fibenare Guitar Models
Fibenare’s flagship guitar model is the Erotic series, with six variations including a single-cut version of the Erotic Dalmat, the most striking with its highly figured carved Poplar Burl top, seamlessly mated with a radius carved Hungarian Ash or Alder body. A double-acting Truss rod helps strengthen the Hungarian Maple set-in neck which features a conical radius 24 fret rosewood fretboard with mother of pearl dot inlays.
“Arpad wanted to do something really unique and special. So he started to scratch the shape [of the Erotic] around 1996. It is the only model that we kept from that time.” On the question of whether any CNC machines are used when building these guitars, “No. It is our hands and eyes that reproduce the curves, therefore every curve is a piece of art and different a little bit. That’s the fun part of it.”
The control knobs on the Erotic are recessed into the body on a gently undulating shelf that puts all the controls at a slightly lower level—an example of an extra detail that separates these instruments from mass-produced guitars. Other variations include a range of wood choices and pickup configurations to explore the tonal palette of the instrument.
The Erotic VuDu has a solid Mahogany body and neck, natural finish, dual humbuckers and a wrap around bridge. The Regime on the other hand, which was launched to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, features color options from the cars that were available to them at that time such as Skoda Red, Wartburg Brown and Lada Vanilla White. This model also features a star symbol engraved on the neck plate as a reminder of the Communist regime era when the Benedek brothers dreamed of playing guitars impossible to obtain. The Regime features three single coil pickups, scratchplate/pickguard, and solid Alder body.
Fibenare’s T-type, called the Roadmaster, is available in two different flavors, the Friberg Design and the Roadmaster ‘56, both of which offer exotic wood selections. But while the latter offers a vintage influence, the Friberg Design changes up the pickup configuration and hardware. For instance, utilizing a Fibenare Vintage-6 trem bridge, more commonly found on an S-type guitar. The Friberg Design was conceived in conjunction with Swedish Fibenare dealer
Mikael Friberg and features a Hungarian alder body with a maple burl top and a 24 fret 10 – 20” conical radius rosewood fretboard with a mother of pearl “Guitarman” inlay at the 12th fret. It also sports Sperzel locking tuners. It also has 3 hand wound Fibenare single coil pickups, the Y-65 in the neck and middle position and the Y-54 in the bridge position.
The Roadmaster ’56 is a more traditional design with the Fibenare Roadmaster bridge housing a single coil pickup accompanied by a single coil pickup in the neck. The bolt-on maple neck has the option of a maple or ebony fretboard. Their website shows an example with a stunning birdseye maple fretboard and headstock. Despite the vintage styling this guitar features a 21 fret 11 – 20” conical radius fretboard, a contoured heel for improved upper fret access, and is even available as a 7 string guitar.
The Basic Jazz model series is also inspired by a classic design from the 50’s, available as a double cutaway or single cutaway with 4 variations of the single cutaway to choose from depending on your personal preferences. Despite the name, there is nothing basic about this guitar. The standard version options include semi-hollow or solid mahogany or Korina body topped with a carved, figured maple cap and set-in mahogany or Korina neck. The rosewood fretboard, like all Fibenare models, features a conical radius and double action truss rod and a brass nut. The pickups are Fibenare’s own ALV-63 humbuckers with Alnico V magnets. All the Basic Jazz models also have a number of options to choose from for further customizing, such as the width and carve of the neck, fretboards in ebony, padouk, ironwood or maple, trapezoid or custom inlays and various Fibenare pickups and bridges as well as a 7 string version.
Currently, there are plans to produce a hollow body Jazz guitar, and basic drawings are underway. Also in the works, UK Fusion master, Tom Quayle is set to receive a custom Roadmaster which is sure to introduce the Fibenare name to other musicians and connoisseurs of fine guitar, thanks to Quayle’s rapidly growing following.
Fibenare is a true, international boutique guitar company that cares how each and every guitar looks, feels and plays before leaving the workshop.
Check out their entire range of finely crafted products on the company website –
Don’t forget to visit the official site at: guitarconnoisseur.com
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