An introduction to Lakewood: with Martin Seeliger, CEO Lakewood August 2020

Project Music’s conversation with Martin Seeliger, CEO Lakewood August 2020

Lakewood are a highly revered German guitar building company who work to the highest detail to build undiscovered high quality acoustic instruments by those who have played them. The founder and CEO Martin Seeliger spoke to our Managing Director Lee St Pier and gave us some of his time to find out a bit more about his company, the guitars they produce and his thoughts.

Lee: As a fan of premium tonewoods and working towards a sustainable future I was drawn to towards in your eco section, particularly that the “Tone woods are the souls of our instruments” and that is it now “possible to build guitars with parts made completely from local woods”. How did you develop your knowledge and love of tonewoods?
Martin:We have been using indigenous types of wood, such as cherry, maple and walnut, to name just a few, for many years, and we do this before the idea of sustainability began to play a role in public perception. Regional woods are not sustainable per se, as production and reforestation are important aspects. Sometimes this is solved more professionally with exotic woods. What is decisive for me is the sound suitability of woods. If this requirement is met, I am happy to build guitars from woods that have grown “on the doorstep”.

Lee:On your statement of purpose you state that you “are driven to build instruments whose tone, aesthetics and finish meet highest standards. To achieve this, we delve into the absolute finest detail and are proud to be writing part of German musical instrument history”. What are the top three build details that are the most important to you?
Martin:Geometry plays an important role in our guitars. Lakewood guitars have clear curvatures of the top and back and that is why we can significantly reduce the wood thicknesses in order to make the instrument lighter in weight and faster in response while maintaining the same stability. The rapid projection and balance of the sound are also favored by the wedge shape of the guitar body. From an aesthetic point of view, our guitars are characterized by the use of precious woods, which are almost always naturally lacquered in a matt or high-gloss finish.

Lee:Having played a Lakewood, I know that the build quality is matched by the performance of these guitars who, to my ears, have a superb strong and clean tone and really enjoyed reading section 2, in 7 reasons to purchase a Lakewood, describing the distinguishing characteristics of a Lakewood guitars. Can you tell us what would be the one main distinguishing characteristic in your opinion?
Martin:Transparency, balance, volume and projection, to name just one property 🙂

Lee:The Lakewood Custom shop is one of the best services we have used for building a custom guitar and the delivery time is very impressive being only 12 weeks from start to finish. This short order time is another really identifiable characteristic of the Lakewood brand. We know that each year you use the best custom builds you have made to create limited versions. Is there a favourite custom build that you have created?
Martin:We have built a large number of unique pieces over the years and many of these guitars were made of spectacular woods and sometimes decorated with intricate inlays. Personally, however, I particularly like simple guitars, also as a sign of a kind of “understatement”. If I were to build my next guitar personally, it would be a grand concert guitar with back and sides made of cypress or a small concert guitar made of rosewood with a spruce top. I really like our new little model.

Lee:Finally we wanted to ask you a few select questions from our customers who have bought Lakewoods from us and who have been interested in the range on offer:

Is there a series Lakewood produce that work for a particular style of playing?
Martin:The slightly smaller body shapes have proven themselves for fingerstyle and we like to build these guitars with slightly wider necks in order to increase the playing comfort. Dreadnought and jumbo guitars are more likely to be found among singer-songwriters who prefer a bit more volume and an even more punchy bass.

What is the your most favourite Lakewood guitar and why?
Martin: The Lakewood M-32 CP is by far our most important guitar and has convinced many people with its sensitive and sustainable tone. I’m very fond of this guitar for many years and it has contributed significantly to the success of Lakewood.

What ideas are on the table for Lakewood guitars in the future?
Martin: As in the last three years, we will be launching another edition series for 2021 in which we will present special guitars and capture an opinion among our customers. It is our annual “playground” where we learn a lot. Occasionally, special features and constructions are tried out in the Edition series that can later be found in the custom shop or even in the standard models.

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