October 2, 2022

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Gyorke Francisc, the master luthier from Regina with love for building guitars – News from Mures, News Targu mures

I stopped the other day at the “Sound Craft – Music & Art Festival”, an event organized in Reghin between August 17-19 by the Luthiers Association of Romania. In the space dedicated to the exhibition of instruments in the premises of the House of Culture “Dr. Eugen Nicoară” I came across a single guitar displayed among so many violins that Gyorke Francisc was playing from dawn. Paradoxically, for those who don’t know him, Marius, as he is known by the people of Regina, is a master luthier, the guitar being more of a hobby. I pestered him with a few questions, for which he took a short break from singing and kindly answered a few questions.

Where does this passion for musical instruments come from?

“I had this passion as a child, from the time I was at Casa Pionierilor, at Clubul de Navomodele. There I repaired two guitars that had broken necks. I asked myself then: will I ever have a tangent with the construction of musical instruments? What is very interesting, after I gave up football, another passion of mine, I actually took up the construction of musical instruments, which I continue with the same love even today. The basis for everything I do now is actually what I learned at the model ship club at Casa Pionierilur in Reghin. There I learned technical things about batteries, how to use the right tool for what you have to do. That helped me enormously in the construction of musical instruments”, said Gyorke Francisc.

This is how Marius began to easily enter the world of musical instrument production, including the guitar, a real passion for the master luthier from Regina.

“By building stringed instruments and having a passion for music, I realized that the guitar is an easy instrument to play. I say this because it is a very easy instrument, you take it very easily with you, it is not difficult at all, plus it is easy to learn to play. The violin is a bit more difficult, it being the queen of musical instruments for which you need thousands of hours of study to reach a very high level. The guitar instead is a lighter, more accessible instrument for everyone, and that’s when I decided to build guitars as well. It’s true that I also play this instrument, we even have a band at the same time. I am very proud that I am currently the only one of the smaller luthiers in Reghin producing guitars, and that gives me a special satisfaction,” said Gyorke Francisc.

Model more than special

The model exhibited in the open exhibition at the “SoundCraft – Music & Art Festival” is one extremely dear to Marius.

“It’s a copy of a Fender Telecaster, but an interpreted one, in the sense that it’s based on a combination of technique for stringed instruments, violin, viola, cello, and guitar. Even the varnishing is done by hand, not by gun, and the EFs are effectively their own design. Certain details such as the fillet that goes on the edge of all stringed instruments to give resistance over time as well as appearance, on this guitar I used the same thing but with a unique combination. I put violin fillet and cello together. It’s a new thing because I’ve been looking on websites where guitars are sold and actually I haven’t found anything like this. I hope it will be something new and catch on. Construction on this instrument took about a month and a week. As for the price, I still haven’t made an exact assessment, I think it is somewhere around 1000 euros, the starting price for the dealer”, says Marius.

Without detracting from the merits of the guitar, we could not avoid also addressing the classical instruments, crafted with such passion by Marius.

“Things are much different here, including in terms of prices. To provide the market with what it needs, you need to produce several categories of tools. First of all you have to have the handyman tools category, which I work 100% on, as well as the workshop tools category. I have both kinds. In the workshop, there are 3 employees with whom I work together and who actually help me in production to have a diversified range and to be able to make the workshop tools. Otherwise, it is impossible to keep up with the market. It is impetuous to have 2-3 employees to be able to produce a few instruments per month”, says the luthier from Regina.

Like any self-respecting luthier, Marius tends to the two big competitions, the one in Cremona, the “Olympiad musical instrument competitions” and the one in Mittenwald, Germany, where he will be present in the fall of this year.

“In Cremona, Romania has been well represented for several years. Unfortunately, this year I cannot participate, but there are many other luthiers who will participate in Cremona through the Romanian Luthiers Association (AALR). It is extremely positive that we are present at such important events because we keep up with those who have been building instruments for hundreds of years. Consider that we are only 71 years old, last year or 70 years since the instruments were produced in the city of Reghin, in Romania. This means that we are like juniors so to speak. Or those who build instruments for almost 400 years have another status behind them. We, participating alongside them, being there at exhibitions, at competitions, can prove that some very good quality instruments are produced in Reghin. We can say that there are luthiers here with whom we can even compare with those from Italy or France, who have some old statutes and who have been producing quality instruments for hundreds of years”, says Francisc Gyorke.

Present with two instruments at Mittenwald

If it’s not going to be in Cremona, Marius will be in Germany instead, at the competition in Mittenwald.

“I will participate this year in Mittenwald with one instrument in the cello section and one instrument in the viola section. In these big contests, the most important thing is to participate. There will be other luthiers from Reghin who will be present at this competition. By participating, even if you don’t reach the top spots, the fact that you get some good scores matters a lot. Those from Reghin always had good scores, they were always at the top of the ranking, by no means those on the last places. This makes people who see these scores, these rankings ask themselves questions and realize that quality instruments are still made in this part of the world, in Reghin. The Mittenwald competition is held every four years, which means that during these years all luthiers in the world strive to build their instruments to the highest level possible in order to participate. Getting there and seeing the results, I can honestly say that we are at a very good level. We have evolved a lot in recent years because we went abroad, searched for information, came into contact with luthiers who have a certain level in Europe, which made us, as luthiers, develop in a certain kind”, said Marius.

3rd place in Cremona

Modesty has its good sides, not least in terms of the results at some musical instrument competition of the highest level, where Marius ticked off some exceptional results.

“My best ranking was in 2012 participating in the Double Bass section in Cremona, where I got 3rd place, the bronze medal and a prize of 1000 euros. It’s fantastic for me, something that gives me enormous satisfaction. Also, in Reghin there were two international competitions in which I participated, in 2012 I took 2nd place in viola, and in 2014 when I took first place in cello, results that make me feel extremely good. There are things from which we have to learn, including by participating in competitions, exhibitions, through which we develop both mentally and technically in everything that means the construction of musical instruments”, said Gyorke Francisc, master luthier from Reghin.


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