Debut in Lech: Baron Hannes Schneider – a guitar with a history

Hannes Schneider is almost certainly the Arlberg’s most famous son. He developed the ski-turning technique – the so-called ‘Arlberg technique’ – at the beginning of the last century and was one of the greatest pioneers of skiing, a star of his day. Hannes Schneider and several of his then skiing pupils shared the expertise of Arlberg Ski Club with others and promoted the sport of skiing in the rest of the world, in particular in the USA, South America and Japan.

Here in the Schmelzhof on 12th April we devoted an evening to the great Arlberg skiing pioneer when an out-of-the-ordinary musical idea – ‘Baron Hannes Schneider’ – was celebrating its premiere in Lech.

In 2016, Martin Rhomberg, President of the ‘Friends of Hannes Schneider Foundation’ and passionate guitar enthusiast, came up with an unusual idea. He approached the renowned instrument maker Nick Page and asked him to create a guitar using wood taken from the ruins of Hannes Schneider’s childhood home – the so-called ‘Fuchsloch’ (foxhole). The over 500-year-old hazel spruce floorboards looked promising. It’s quite possible that even Leni Riefenstahl – the renowned German actress, artist, photographer and film director –  had walked over them in her bare feet when in 1931, together with Hannes Schneider, she starred in the world-famous box-office hit ‘Der Weisse Rausch’ (The White Ecstasy) that was filmed in the Arlberg region. And so Nick Page set to work. Just over a year later, after innumerable hours of painstaking hand craftsmanship, the ‘Baron Hannes Schneider’ guitar was finished.

Here in Lech on 12th April, professional musician Charlie Bonat was demonstrating in front of an audience for the first time, just how good this gem of an instrument sounds. As an end-of-the-season treat, he was delighting Schmelzhof guests with the finest sounds that rock, pop and soul history had to offer. From Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton, the Blue Bar was place of a great jam session.

Impressions from the debut of the “Baron Hannes Schneider” in Lech …

Pictures: Andi Sillaber, Martin Rhomberg und Bernd Wölfler