Strolling inside the walls of Kremona’s building is a journey a century back in time to re-discover the luthier art. Elena Gamova, CEO of Kremona Bulgaria, welcomed us to visit the famous handcrafted instrument factory and shared with us its unique history.
Kremona was founded by the master craftsman Dimitar Georgiev in 1924. After being on the battlefronts of WWI where he found relief in music, Georgiev decided to devote his life carving string instruments and served his apprenticeship in Markneukirchen, the “German Cremona”, to develop his luthier skills. Returned home to Bulgaria, he established the first Kremona atelier in the outskirts of Kazanlak town. Georgiev’s mandolins, violins, and guitars, inspired by Stradivari’s models, earned great popularity thanks to their great quality and Kremona rapidly grew since its very beginning.
90 years later, under the mission of “bringing European craftsmanship to market for musicians worldwide”, a hundred craftsmen and support staff work in the enterprise to produce fine guitars and bowed string instruments with the same attention to detail and constantly improving their features. Every piece is made from carefully selected materials and is the result of precise and skillful procedures that unite German and Bulgarian know-how.
The real proof that in this unattractive building at the end of the town is happening something very special and unique is essentially a list of artists who use Kremona’s instruments with passion and love. Vladim Kolpakov, the famous Russian Gypsy 7-string guitarist, Xavier Padilla, a bass player from worldwide known band Gipsy Kings, Elliot Easton, left-handed lead guitarist from The Cars, and also the professional ballroom dancer and musician Mark Ballas, have one of these hand-made miracles from Kazanlak in their homes.
Kremona made a big step forward in the production of flamenco and jazz guitars by making its “Signature series” in cooperation with Lulo Reinhardt, great-nephew of the legendary Django Reinhardt. A collection in which they used a local rosewood for fingerboards and bridges and Bulgarian walnut for backs and sides.
As Elena explained, for a long time people believed that they could get authentic flamenco sound just by using native wood from countries to which this musical tradition belongs. Although, because the factory is interested in eco production, they decided to use mostly local Bulgarian woods and the result is still a bright and convincing flamenco sound.
Impressive remains also the serial production. Every guitar has an individual serial number that reveals when the wood was prepared, who worked on it and when, and naturally the final birthday of the instrument.
In the world of music, the question whether is better a handmade guitar or one produced in series has been always at the center of so many debates. On one side, there is who sustains and defends the importance of the luthier profession and, on the other, who affirms that the guitars produced in series through machineries and laser have reached by now results that have few to envy with those created by artisans.
At Kremona factory all workers devote themselves to craft custom acoustic guitars and instruments with superb quality and individuality, where every detail is thought and designed to offer a unique sound experience, exploiting the whole harmony that the wood offers and following precise creation rules.
The tone and the aesthetics are sought in every step of workmanship and the final product, both that you deal with a guitar or a violin, is the fruit of a minute job, a perfect match for devotion, experience, and passion. The main purpose is to guarantee an unmistakable final sound and an absolute comfort for the musician, the perfect harmony between instinct and convenience. Kremona instruments are a valid option in all the cases in which you search for uniqueness, superb quality, sustainability and often also a good quality-price relationship thinking about a long-term investment.