Wolfgang Hüttl Pique Dame, 1958

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Instrument: Born in 1921 in Schönbach in the Egerland region, Wolfgang Hüttl settled in... more
Wolfgang Hüttl Pique Dame, 1958

Born in 1921 in Schönbach in the Egerland region, Wolfgang Hüttl settled in Bubenreuth after the Germans were expelled after the World War II and founded his own workshop, which at peak times employed up to 50 people. Hüttl was one of the largest German manufacturers and is today unjustly almost forgotten. He was one of the most talented and innovative German post-war guitar builders and produced many very good and quite a few remarkably high-quality and impressive guitars such as the Opus 59 until the dissolution of his workshop in 1983. Hüttl was a manufacturer who cared very little about branding and delivered 90% of his instruments without a logo or brand name. So he also built many instruments for other manufacturers or music shops like Lindberg, Hopf and Klira (he was married to the daughter of the Klira owner). He never had any problems with taking his cue from other manufacturers when it came to details. The Pique Dame, at the upper end of the product range, is one of his most successful models; the series was built with several modifications for over 20 years. It is very similar to the Klira Red King. The typical German third soundhole, the chequered binding around the top and the black-red varnish (Black Rose) are always distinctive features. Our Pique Dame dates back to 1958.

Solid top made of very fine-grained Alpine spruce, processed bookmatched. Laminated maple sides and back. Three-piece neck made of maple strips, incl. fingerboard blocked four times, which provides stability. Fingerboard made of bright, heavily grained Honduras rosewood with four pearloid rectangular inlays. Bone nut without zero fret. Bridge made of ebony and black stained pearwood. Pickguard and headstock of wonderfully marbled pearloid, the headstock with black celluloid wedge in Klira design. Open tuners with thick nylon axles.

Instruments history:
Unknown. When we got it, the guitar was pretty messed up and hardly playable. The nickel plated tailpiece was completely rusty and the surface was flaking off. The fingerboard was cut at the headstock, the zero fret removed and a cheap, too-narrow plastic nut installed instead. Ouch! The tuner bushings were missing, the pickguard was a crudely sawn-out plastic piece and the bridge was nothing more than the top part of a Framus bridge. But the base was structurally perfect and the sound beautiful, loud and harmonious, so the Hüttl must have been played in intensively and over many years.

Restoration work:
The guitar was completely cleaned, the body was blown out and all lacquer surfaces were elaborately polished. The fretboard and fretsticks were dressed, the fretsticks polished and the fretboard oiled. We removed the cheap plastic nut and replaced it with an exactly fitting bone nut. Also, the rusty tailpiece and the ugly plastic pickguard were replaced with new old stock originals from the early sixties. Since the geometry of the guitar requires a very flat bridge, we adapted an adjustable one for it. The tuners were refurbished and oiled, matching solid bushings were fitted from our stock. Finally, new 11" Pyramid bronze strings were mounted and a basic setup was done.

Current condition:
The Hüttl is now back in top condition, no longer original, but 100% authentic. Thanks to the high-quality materials, the intensive playing, the bone saddle and the low bridge, it delivers a truly impressive sound. Open, bright, brilliant. Typical loud archtop tone with very nice harmonic resolution and accurate response. Ideally suited for blues, jazz and swing, but also loud and tough Oberkrainer rhythms. Even the softest tone stands and stays straight, in rhythm playing the chords always remain finely accentuated and do not blur. There is simply nothing like well-rehearsed guitars. The look is just beautiful, the great German archtop tradition reigns here, everything harmonises with each other, finely tuned, creamy white pearloid on the headstock, fingerboard and pickguard perfectly complements the basic black and red colours. The condition is faultless with only very few tiny scratches and playing marks, just some nice patina, but almost nothing in terms of 63 years of guitar life. Of course there is no serious damage, cracks or the like, everything works perfectly and as it should. The guitar plays as easy as pie and is simply a joy to play. Maybe not an option for the 100% original condition collector, but a must for players who value sound - and a wonderful addition to every guitarist's equipment. In any case, a lot of performance for little money!

Overall length 107 cm/42.1”; body length 52 cm/20.5”; lower bout width 42 cm/16.5”; waist width 26 cm/10.2”; upper bout width 32 cm/12.6”; body depth 8,5 cm/3.3”; scale length 63,5 cm/25” (nut to saddle); fingerboard width 4,5 cm/1.8” at nut, 5,4 cm/2.1” at 12th fret; overall weight 2.220 g; string action on 12th fret 2-3 mm/0.08-0.12”.

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