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Uwe Norkus: Gitarrenmeister

UweIt all began when I was changing the strings on my Martin DM guitar and for some reason my eye wondered to the head plate and the machine head in question. I began to brush off what I thought to be a hair floating around but when the hair did not move I got rather worried. To my horror I discovered a hair crack which ran down the head plate in the direction of the nut.

I very quickly learned about Uwe Norkus the local guitar meister and I was told he resided only a few kilometres away in a hamlet called Poppenweiler which was just around the corner from from where i lived. The following morning I arrived on his doorstep. Uwe was a man of few words but when he says something it is usually meant.

He simply looked at the guitar and then looked at me.’ Ok leave it no problem! Pick it up the day after tomorrow ’

’How will you do it? ’ I asked eyeing up the fine hairline crack. Uwe looked at me and smiled.

’With a bloody long fine syringe and some really good wood glue my friend!’

Nigel & UweUwe was born in Kahla Thuringen Eastern Germany in 1950. In 1956 his parents ’escaped’ from the eastern block to West Germany taking Uwe and his brother Olaf with them. It was in 1963 that Uwe began to experience the influences of British and American music filtering into Germany. Names such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Lois Armstrong. These influences started him learning the guitar and very soon developing his own style.

In 1969 he began studying in Ludwigsburg to be a teacher and after his final examination made a concious decision not to teach children ’having no desire to learn!’

It was in 1976 he bagan his apprenticeship in guitar making in Bavaria. In 1979 he qualified as a ’meister’ guitar maker and proceeded to work in Stuttgart repairing all kinds of string instraments. It was in 1984 he completed his trade examination in Nurnberg with examiners Hannabach Strohmer & Schnabl.

In 1995 Uwe became self employed and worked on a freelance basis for several muisc shops in the area of Stuttgart. his clientelle now reach to other parts of Europe and indeed ’Across the pond’ as they say.

Since this initial guitar repair Uwe has placed his ’magic hands’ on every guitar I posess with the exception of one. I would like to share some of these guitars and their upkeep and restoration by Uwe Norkus with you. I hope you enjoy the following pictures and history.

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I presently have 9 guitars in my collection.  I prefer to use ’Martins’ because of the tymbral depth of sound a ’Martin’ can produce, and I find them really good to play. Uwe has carefully adjusted the ’actions’ for me so I really have no excuse to make a bad sound!

All my guitars have been fitted with fishmans pickups by Uwe with the exception of the Kasuga which has really retired. And I use a Simon Patrick ’Luther’ again fitted with a Fishmans pickup which I have found to be a most reliable workhorse throughout a whole cross section of gigs.

For me it is important that the instrument chosen for use during a concert must be a part of the performer. They must feel at ease and confident in playing it.  I certainly feel good playing any guitar I have to date.

If you would like to find out more about Uwe Norkus or get in contact with him, please email info@watermark-music.co.uk.