Phayo, Franche-Compte, Elounda, Jum

A Match for Myanmar?

Amarapura

UPDATED
We’re joined by the much-loved, fast-talking father and son team Hans and Raffa.
Our introduction to the Industry’s shooting star Burma is exhilarating, and harsh. The sidewalks in our part of Yangon a treacherous puzzle of broken concrete, gaping holes and orange dirt, small mounds of garbage smoldering in the ditches; windowless, booked up 27 $ Hninzii Guesthouse an almost comical example for the law of supply and demand. And to top off the kaleidoscopic cultural disorientation, we’re overwhelmed by lovely, completely disarming smiles everywhere:

Some encounters feel like they were meant to be. EG owns a small guitar making workshop near Kandawgyi lake in Yangon. The soft glow of a collection of finished guitars drew us into the shop- and EG’s fascinating story kept us there.

EG Guitars

A sailor out of necessity for two decades, his ships hauled metal parts between Amsterdam, Monrovia, Singapore and Kiel. EG’s life was dangerous and hard. Music, he recounts, was my joy and comfort, my lifesaver. With almost desperate determination, EG looked for a way to turn his life around, a way to make a living with music. He decided to invest 27 hard-earned dollars in a guitar-making book by Robert Benedetto and over 3 years built his first guitar, piece by piece, bit by bit. Whenever he’d saved a few dollars, he’d order a new part for his guitar. Carefully, painstakingly he assembled the instrument he calls “my teacher”.

EG is 60 now, a seasoned guitar maker, a gentle custodian of our planet. No tree dies for EG’s guitars. The wood for them is harvested only from fallen trees. Sadly, storm Nargis supplied wood for endless guitars-    But could there be greater joy and meaning EG says, than to make something beautiful out of death and destruction?

Our Friend EG

We checked out the woods harvested from those trees, which sounds sweet, which bright, which big. We admired the shells that go into the making of the inlay. And we (say Raffa) ordered a custom-made sweet- sounding, (traveling) guitar! An EG Tiny, Cedar wood front.

Ordering an EG Tiny

Update with picture to follow, when the Tiny is finished.
Well, I never got the photo of the Guitar- R. is too busy practising. But here is EG’s contact info, (also see comments below)
Contact details EG

8 Responses to A Match for Myanmar?

  1. October 28, 2013 at 08:06
    Peter Bracey says:

    A delightful story, delightfully told. I particularly liked the ‘soft glow’ that drew you in to the shop.
    I will be spending 3 weeks in Myanmar next year and in Yangon I will be staying near Kandawgyi Lake. Is there any chance you could give an address or directions to EG’s shop? I would love to visit.
    Also, on the invoice it shows ‘Delivery $135.00’. Delivery to where? and did EG arrange that?

    Regards,
    Peter.

    • Thanks for stopping by!
      I’ll pm you the whereabouts of the shop.
      “23d Feb Delivery “- just meant the guitar would be finished by then. (We picked it up on leaving Burma.) International deliveries are possible but presumably very expensive. The guitar incl. 2 custom abalone inlays (Rafa got to pick out the shell) and soft sleeve cost $135.- And a very nice guitar it is!

  2. Hi

    I have been trying to find the address of this luthier (Ko Cho). May I know his whereabouts?
    I have been trying to locate him since he last changed his address. I would love to purchase another of his guitar when I am back home in Myanmar.

    • Am updating my post with contact data. Unfortunately EG’s shop has moved from Kandawgyi Gardens and the new locale isn’t open yet, it’ll be somewhere near Sule Pagoda. I was able to call him. Garden offices across from where the shop used to be (near the huge golden ship) had a phone number. Not sure if the one on the card works.

  3. October 2, 2014 at 05:11
    Ian Hislop says:

    I am working with refugees to play and repair guitars in a refugee camp on the Thai Myanmar border. Id love to get in touch with guitar makers in Burma/ Myanmar; can you help with contact details?

  4. September 27, 2017 at 07:49
    Abraham Chen says:

    Dear sirs, I would like to learn more about the guitar industry in Myanmar, especially for the guitar manufacturers. Could you kindly refer some for me? Thank you in advance.

    Best regards,

    Abraham Chen

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