• Can you introduce yourself and explain how Hufschmid Guitars came about?
My name is Patrick Hufschmid and I'm a craftsman-luthier based in Aigle, Switzerland. I've been passionate about guitars since I was 11 years old, when I found an old classical guitar in a trash bin and tried to fix it up. Over the years, I developed my skills by taking electric guitar lessons and customizing guitars for local friends. In 1996, I established Hufschmid Guitars. I'm always eager to learn and experiment, which keeps me motivated and inspired. After my apprenticeship as a chef in Montreux, I studied lutherie at the renowned Red Wing Technical College in Minnesota, USA. There, I completed a comprehensive training course in repairing and building both acoustic and electric guitars.
Here are pictures of my very first guitars, an acoustic and an electric! Ha ha…
• What is your professional / technical background and what brought you to this field of activity?
I have a diverse background that includes being a qualified chef (1995) and working as a specialist sales consultant for wrist watch complications (2007). Through my work in the watch industry, I received intensive training on luxury goods and branding, which has influenced my current work. Additionally, I have a strong interest in science and history, particularly the history of the kings of France, with a focus on Louis XIV and Versailles. I like to incorporate historical touches into my work.
I find satisfaction in adding little details to my work, such as a beautiful seal on every package I ship worldwide and naming my guitars after historical events, art techniques, and other inspirations. Despite the high cost of living in Switzerland, I became fully self-employed in 2007 and have since built a large social media following. I want to express my gratitude to everyone who supports me.
• What are your musical influences?
My musical influences come from the 80s and 90s heavy metal and pop music that I grew up listening to on my Walkman. However, my taste is eclectic and I enjoy listening to a wide range of music that pleases me. In fact, I'm addicted to baroque and classical music as well.
• What was the first guitar you owned?
The famous classical guitar I found in the trash! My first electric guitar was a Fender Strat copy by a generic brand 'Elwis’. My first real quality electric guitar was a Lag V with a cool snake skin finish!
12 years old sometime around 1988 with my first guitar, the 'Elwis'...
Still hard to do better at 16 than wear a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt and hold a LAG V! Ha ha!
• What do you bring to the market with your specialist touches and creations?
In my lutherie work, I incorporate specialist touches and create unique designs by building my guitars entirely by hand, using small power tools and avoiding mass production techniques such as CNC and laser cutting. I prioritize the organic feel of my guitars by using only hand-applied oil varnish instead of the typical plastic coating.
Working with engineering materials has sparked countless creative ideas for me, such as using them to craft nuts that have become a signature feature of my instruments. Recently, I even created the world's first guitar nuts made of polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which have been copyrighted under registration numbers ©izQYo7lFJnEhicoA and ©0KgG6VKQUUmMzE3B.
The world's first TORLON® 4203 nuts! Copyright registration number: ©qIYcyYIYUNflhw03
The world's first 'Orange Glowing' fingerboard block inlays! © registration number: cuSYucDJxKUKB1Nm
The world's first 'white glowing' fingerboard block inlays! ©Registration number: b6HaV4IvR5uSZX54
The world's first 'purple day/blue night glow' fingerboard block inlays! ©Registration number: XwoEdy5GCU9qeZtW
The world's first 'green day/green night glow' fingerboard block inlays! ©Registration number: FsPivBvkUYCozda9
The world’s first blue day/blue glowing fingerboard block inlays: © registration number: m9arHCOIWsMepqfl
The world’s first RED block inlays which glow RED in the dark! © registration number: rfr4MXs1B64RY1Zg
The world's first yellow day/lime glowing fingerboard blocks! © registration number: w9EsnCvJy7fwlfqJ
My focus in building guitars is on my favorite species of wood for the neck and body: Sapele or Sipo mahogany, always using perfectly quartersawn pieces. My trademark style emphasizes natural finishes and a unique aesthetic line that eschews flashiness. In line with my philosophy of life, I prioritize simplicity and sobriety in my work. I am reminded of one of my heroes, Albert Einstein, who famously said, 'Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
• Can you tell us more about your wiring work and choice of using Teflon (PTFE) caps and which ones are you using?
I take particular care in my wiring work and have copyrighted the concept of using TEFLON capacitors in guitars, making me the first builder to do so. The concept is copyrighted with registration number ©Uy6VlWI7gk3Y2Ejc. Teflon capacitors are highly regarded in the audio world for their superior sound quality, making them a favorite among purists. However, they are also massive and expensive, which is why they are not typically used in musical instruments. Nevertheless, their unique size and quality give my guitars a distinctive visual identity that sets them apart from the rest.
I always use high-quality caps in my guitars. After spending hours building the instrument, I want nothing but the best and refuse to compromise. Plus, I love the unique aesthetic they provide. Even the unseen components should be beautiful, as I hope to impress anyone who opens up the cavity with the level of detail I put into my work. It's always been my goal and intention to leave a lasting impression.
"The details are not the details. They make the design." -Charles Eames.
• Who are your guitars for - amateurs, or professionals?
My guitars are made for enthusiasts who appreciate the work of a craftsman. It doesn't matter if they are amateurs or professionals, as long as they have a passion for quality and value the effort that goes into making a guitar. Knowing that someone values my work is what matters most to me.
• You've been making headless guitars since 2012, and recently launched a new model called the 'Atys'. What inspired this new model, and what type of players are you targeting with it?
Headless guitars have been around for a while. I was first introduced to them while watching a music video by the French pop singer Daniel Balavoine in the 80s. I've always been fascinated by their design, which is why I added them to my portfolio. Unlike many headless guitars, my models maintain the dimensions, weight, and shape of a standard instrument. I believe in creating instruments that don't feel like toys, with no compromise on ergonomics.
• You make plectrums that are designed to reduce the effort of playing. Can you tell us more about them?
The idea of creating plectrums that reduce playing effort is something I've thought about for years. After experimenting with various concepts, the idea came to me naturally.
By using thicker plectrums, you can improve your playing efficiency and strength while reducing effort. This innovation minimizes hand movement and increases hand strength, resulting in less cramping and tenseness. This feature is particularly beneficial for guitarists experiencing muscular problems such as osteoarthritis or tendinitis. However, even guitarists without these issues can benefit from this bio-mechanical phenomenon. It can help them achieve greater precision, strength, and speed in their playing, making it an attractive option for adventurous musicians.
• What materials do you use for your plectrums, and have you introduced any innovations in this field?
I've introduced several world premieres in plectrum design. I use high-performance thermoplastics commonly used in engineering, which each have their own unique properties. These materials can be quite costly. One of my original inventions from 2011 is the TORLON® 4203 plectrum.
I also use a certified security material called 'HufGlow', which has a strong photo-luminescent quality that glows brightly in the dark.
I offer a variety of thick picks in different materials, giving guitarists the opportunity to experiment and find what works best for them. Each pick is meticulously handcrafted without the use of CNC or laser cutting, ensuring the utmost attention to detail and polishing. Basic models take at least 40 minutes to make, while high-performance materials can take up to 2 hours or more. While the cost may be higher, my love and passion for creating high-quality products is always reflected in my work.
• Handcrafted guitar products often come at a higher price point, which can be a barrier for many guitarists. How would you justify the cost of your guitars and plectrums?
Handcrafted products may come at a higher cost, but they represent an investment in the artisan's vision, expertise, and experience. Each creation is a unique original, rather than a soulless mass-produced object. The years of work involved can cause personal hardships, but supporting artisans ensures the preservation of traditional craftsmanship. Buying cheap, machine-built items may save money, but it's worth considering that the countries that export them may not treat their workers well or support human rights.
• What are your future plans?
As a small artisan, my goal is to maintain my individuality and uphold the values of authenticity and high quality that set my products apart from faceless mass-produced items. I believe that there will always be a demand for unique craftsmanship, and I aim to continue meeting that need in the future.
• What would you like to say to the guitar community?
I take pride in designing instruments that showcase the natural beauty of wood. Unlike mass-produced guitars with standardized finishes, I search for rare pieces of wood that have unique character and personality.
As a passionate craftsman, it is an honor for me to work with the guitar, which I consider to be the most beautiful instrument. I hope my love for my work resonates with you and inspires you to take a closer look at my creations.
The 8 string 'OUTRENOIR'!