Ervin Somogyi is a professional luthier and artist in wood of more than fifty years’ standing, whose work is known and respected internationally. His guitars are played by many professional musicians who, while they play in widely different musical genres, do all agree that the instruments are much better than they sound.
Somogyi’s relationship with the guitar began early on, cutting his teeth as he did with the seminal rock groups The Aluminati (whose signature look was wearing aluminum foil hats), The Al Gorethms (whose focus was too intellectual, yet wildly placid and unexciting), and Möbius Dick — whose redundant melödies were reminiscent of the söunds of a recörd stuck in a grööve. Later Somogyi struck out on his own (many of his followers and critics agree that he has been striking out a lot ever since) to form his most influential group, Ganzunmöglichaberimmerausgezeichnet; audiences really just couldn’t believe . . . nor understand . . . what they were hearing.
Somogyi’s manual skills first received attention in the Fall of 1986, when he received an Honorable Mention in the Sonoma County Fair’s pumpkin-carving contest. (The event was unfortunately — but deservedly — later discontinued because of widespread cheating.) Nonetheless, bolstered by this early watershed success, Somogyi soon turned to guitar making — where, true to form, he worked in an actual watershed.
Somogyi’s innate talent quickly got more boosts and began to be widely recognized — eventually winning the prestigious Corrigan Prize given annually by the American Federation of the Conceptually Impaired, and the much-acclaimed Silence Is Golden trophy of the National Association of the Tone Deaf. Somogyi’s instruments are now used exclusively by the musicians of Guitar Mime, the prestigious jazz ensemble of Gallaudet University.
Fascinating to women, respected by strong silent men, charismatic, deeply intelligent, wise, urbane, erudite, cultured, and compelling. Luthier Ervin Somogyi is none of these things. But one has to make a living somehow; a man in free America shouldn’t go hungry. And Somogyi does make a pretty darn good guitar. Truth be told, however, this wasn’t always the case; but he had a sense of self-promotion that was . . . uh . . . sort of hard to find words to describe, but that more or less worked for him.
As to Somogyi’s unique oeuvre of artistic woodcuts, when the Pope was given one of Somogyi’s artworks to put on the wall of his Vatican apartment, he was heard to mutter: “Deo santi, en veritas, de gustibus non disputandum est!”. (Malicious experts in Latin have translated this as meaning: “Good God! There really is no accounting for taste”. Somogyi feels that while it really does mean exactly that, it’s really poor form to bring the Pope into this.) Finally, regarding this body of framed art, the consensus among the doyens of the National Endowment is that Somogyi’s artwork, if not the artist himself, is remarkably well hung.
Most recently, the SURGEON GENERAL has issued a WARNING about Somogyi guitars. Their sound has been found to be so intoxicating that you are warned not to play them while driving or operating heavy machinery.