Crafting Hawai‘i’s Steel Guitar Legacy

Nov 30, 2015

Credit Nick Yee
Matt Nigro
Credit Nick Yee

Steel guitars have played an essential role in Hawaiian music since they were pioneered by musicians like Joseph Kekuku and Sol Ho‘opi‘i.  In the early nineteen-hundreds - Herman Weisseborn developed a new type of instrument by creating a square hollow neck on the guitar that increased the volume of the steel strings.  But the introduction of electric amplification made that acoustic style obsolete.

Now–inside a tiny Kakaako workshop the instrument is making a comeback.  For a few years now…Iseman Guitars have been replicating the Weisseborn style - crafting handmade guitars from fallen Big Island Koa wood.

Their unique sound has been re-embraced by modern players looking for a different sound- but also a connection to Hawai‘i’s musical roots. Matt Nigro is co-owner of Iseman Guitars. 

More information can be found on their website.