Alex Hohlstein is a man of many titles. Husband, father, musician, carpenter, and luthier. That last one is a maker of stringed instruments like lutes, guitars, and mandolins. Hohlstein says he’s been playing music a lot longer than he’s been making guitars, but was always interested in how the instruments were constructed.
The actual making started 12 years ago after Hohlstein picked up a book that described how to make Arch Top Guitars. He notes that he’s always had a love for wood and building things with his hands, and that it comes naturally. And since Holstein’s a carpenter by trade, there’s always plenty of wood around.
In the years since this archival edition of Radio Chipstone aired, Hohlstein has created twenty-one additional guitars. His clients include Adam Greuel of Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and Ben Majeska from Armchair Boogie. He’s also formed two new bands. The Material Boys and Meat Sweaters. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, Hohlstein, with the voice of his young son Lars in the background, tells contributor gianofer fields about how he makes bits and pieces of discarded wood sing.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Alex Hohlstein makes custom instruments specializing in Archtop and Flat Top acoustic instruments. He also builds solid body electric guitars. His bands The Material Boys and Meat Sweaters can be heard playing locally at the Malthouse and The Garver Feed Mill. You can check Facebook for times and dates.
Image: Some of Hohlstein’s work in progress. Courtesy of gianofer fields.
This segment partially comes from the Radio Chipstone Archives of WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio. See here.