You may be familiar with the work of Arne Uekert from German black metal band Ctulu, which is a personal favourite of mine, (see some reviews here, here, and here). What you may not be aware of, however, is Arne’s involvement in Schloff Guitars & Basses, so if you play an instrument then this might be of interest to you.
Tell us about Schloff Guitars & Basses – how did the company form?
My boss Michael Schillhof did a lot of modifications on his own guitars back in the 80’s. He took part in Thomas Stratmann’s workshops on Formentera, Spain, and learned how to build guitars from scratch. After his examination as a master of carpentry, he was the foreman of the Warwick/Framus pre-production and the custom shop for three years.
Schloff Guitars & Basses was established in 2004.
Where are you based?
Schloff resides in Kiel, Northern Germany. We’re about an hour away from Hamburg.
What services do you offer?
We have 7 “divisions”:
1. We build custom guitars and basses made from scratch.
2. We have a special design line called “Beast of the East”; these are extreme shapes for metal guitarists and bass players that want extreme looks without top heaviness, weak ass sound or uncomfortable ergonomics.
3. We offer “Black Ace Classics”, a design line with classic shapes built for modern demands. These instruments fit the needs of semi-professionals as well as professionals and cost around 1000 euros.
4. We’re “pimping” Crafter and Kirkland acoustic guitars. They get the same fine tuning as our handbuilt custom instruments. These guitars are also made for the demands of advanced learners, as well as semi-pros and pros. The prices range from 400 to 1000 euros.
5. We repair and service almost any stringed instrument.
6. We offer rental acoustic guitars for beginners. This way, they can find out if they really want to play the guitar and they don’t have to start on badly adjusted beginner models.
7. Last but not least: we offer used starter models that get the same fine tuning as our Crafter and custom guitars. We want beginners to start with decent string actions to learn a good technique from the very first day.
What role do you play in the company?
My way to Schloff Guitars has been one detour after the other. I have been scammed by a “custom” guitar company whose name I don’t even want to mention anymore. It took them two years to build something they obviously glued together in less than a couple of days. I was about to sue them when my insurance company offered me to refund 60% of the price if I don’t drag them to court. Then, some months later I bought a guitar on ebay. When I was asking for the tracking number, the seller told me he had sent the money back because he wanted to keep the guitar. I thought “Fuck this shit, if I’m not going to build a guitar myself, I will never get what I want.” So I started to design for a couple of weeks and came up with a shape I called the Moonbeast. I bought hardware and woods and was about to start building it with a friend of mine who’s a carpenter. We both had no idea how to start. Before kicking the project off, I accidentally stumbled across Schloff Guitars & Basses. Until then, I didn’t know that my hometown had a custom guitar shop. I called Michael, asked him if he wanted to help me build this guitar and offered to translate his website and to do some PR in return. When he saw the design, he made some corrections to ensure the Moonbeast will be able to withstand the tough life on the road and we started building it soon after. We also changed almost all the woods I had planned for the instrument.
Have you always been interested in building/repairing guitars?
I am not all too fond of repairing, honestly speaking. You learn a lot, though, about how NOT to build instruments when doing repair works. But I’ve always wanted to create something. And building two guitars for my own use was a dream come true. A custom guitar offers so much more than buying something in a regular music store. You can try literally anything. It’s so inspiring to pick the woods and hardware and to decide about the finish and the inlays and so on.
What else do you get up to outside of your role with Schloff Guitars & Basses?
I am pretty busy with my bands Ctulu and Vamacara. The first one needs no introduction since you’ve just reviewed our latest two outputs. The latter one was just founded in 2015 and is something that really keeps me moving at the moment. We’ve just released our first demo EP in April. It’s a completely different dynamic to create music as a two-piece. We still have no idea what we actually do, where we’re heading and how the actual fuck we should label our music. It’s our attempt to combine Orient and Occident, more or less. Check it out on https://vamacara.bandcamp.com/releases.
Where can people find out more information, or get in touch with you?
I recommend www.schloffguitars.de to get a good overview about our complete offer. We’re not really a shop but a workshop, so we do not have regular opening times. If you want to visit us, give us a call at 00494316474876 or write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time!