German Musical Instrument Award 2017: winners announced

Playing pleasure, clever innovations and an impressively harmonious musical judgement. Despite the extremely high standard once again exhibited by the entries to the German Musical Instrument Award, the winners of this year's competition were distinguished by small but decisive nuances. In the bass guitar category, the coveted award goes equally to Marleaux BassGuitars (prop. Gerald Marleaux) and Le Fay Reiner & Meik Dobbratz GbR. In the flugelhorn in B flat (cylinder valves) category, the winner is Klaus Martens Meisterwerkstatt für Blasinstrumente. The official presentation ceremony will be held during Musikmesse in the 'Rotunde' of the 'Festhalle' at Frankfurt Fair and Exhibition Centre at 17.00 hrs on 7 April 2017. The award-winning instruments will be on show in a special exhibition at the fair from 5 to 8 April 2017 (Hall 8.0).

The German Musical Instrument Award has been given annually by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie – BMWi) within the framework of Musikmesse in Frankfurt since 1991. The renowned award draws the attention of an international audience to outstanding products by German instrument makers and promotes the opportunities of the domestic music industry in the market. The competition is held for two product categories each year. In 2017, the categories were bass guitar (solid body, 4 strings, two humbuckers, active electronics, fretted fingerboard) and flugelhorn in B flat (cylinder valves).

Unadulterated playing pleasure: Consat Custom bass guitar by Marleaux BassGuitars
Characteristic of the Consat Custom bass guitar during testing was the immediate pleasure felt by all musicians in playing the instrument. Unanimously, they praised its outstanding playability, good ergonomics, low weight and rich and dynamic sound. In addition to its highly individual sound character, the bass guitar was also found to be tremendously versatile. Via the equaliser, the fundamentally restrained bass range can be emphasised perfectly and remains natural and easily controlled. The objective tests confirmed the impression of an extremely well-balanced sound. The musicians also praised the suitability of the instrument for playing on stage, the very low crosstalk of which ensured the dynamic range can be used to the full. The positive overall impression is rounded off by a harmonious appearance.

Love of detail: Pulse 4 electric bass by Le Fay Reiner & Meik Dobbratz GbR
Numerous small innovations and an obvious love of detail – in both visual and technical terms – electrified the judges when it came to the Pulse 4 electric bass. For example, the excellent workmanship resulted in a clear first place in the craftsmanship section. Moreover, the very elegant but not pretentious looking instrument has a clear and powerful sound right up into the highest range. Also very popular among the musicians testing the Pulse 4 were the separate volume control and extremely sensitive adjustment options. In the acoustic test, the bass demonstrated very little crosstalk at a high output level, as well as a forceful and constant lower range independently of the pick-up position. Overall, the design was considered to be extremely appealing.

Impressively unanimous: Martens Modell 'Horaffia-AX' flugelhorn by Klaus Martens Meisterwerkstatt für Blasinstrumente
The Martens Modell 'Horaffia-AX' flugelhorn was a source of delight for all participants with the musicians in particular giving the instrument above-average ratings in all respects, i.e., sound, tuning, response and playability. The testers gave special emphasis to the extraordinary sound modulation capability and the very pleasant design of the levers. This high degree of unanimity in opinion of the musician judges is quite remarkable and, to this extent, tends to be a rare occurrence in the competition for the German Musical Instrument Award. The acoustic tests also confirmed the musicians' high opinion of the instrument with great balance in sound and playability throughout the range.

Testing procedure and judges in 2017
The German Musical Instrument Award is one of the most important competitions for German instrument makers from the industry and handicraft sector. The comprehensive testing procedure is carried out at the Institute for Musical Instrument Making (Institut für Musik-instrumentenbau) in Zwota and has three separate parts: an extensive practical test by renowned musicians, an expert examination of the design, production and processing, and objective measurements of the acoustic qualities. The judges for this year's German Musical Instrument Award were five independent specialist musicians and an independent handicrafts expert.

The instrument categories for the 2018 German Musical Instrument Award are the viola (max. body length 420 mm) and oboe.

write your comments about the article :: © 2017 Exhibition News :: home page