Story of Jan's lutier



The circle is finally round.

Argentina 1974: I, Sebastián Núñez, had been extremely busy together with a friend Jorge Szajko and his father Antonio to put together the final components of a copy of a Les Paul, Yes indeed, no money to buy a genuine one, so we constructed one ourselves. The first instruments were not very good, but this last one was great, with all that had to come with it. We made the elements ourselves, they were copied from the de guitar that Marcelo, my cousin brought from New York. Yes..., this Les Paul was indeed the finest one we constructed so far.

As always Marcelo brought some records, a. o. the latest one of Focus (Jan Akkerman had been a guitar genius to us, somebody who was completely different in his way of playing and those fast scales...) and another one with Jan Akkerman playing the lute!!!!.

During the finest years of Argentine pop music we all were completely taken by old music, the troubadours, the renaissance, baroque etc.

From the world of rock music came Jan?s sudden lute sounds like an incredible source of inspiration. I started dreaming of old instrument builders in the old days, the handicrafts, the fine sorts of wood... Oh! Wouldn?t it be great to be able to build such a lute. Of course this was a distant dream. How would I ever be able to achieve this? For the time being I just focussed on constructing those fine guitars, playing them and taking lessons.

But in 1978 life brought me to the Netherlands and I saw my dream come closer. When finally I was here, I started building lutes. The first lutes weren?t very good but became better and better. At present, after 23 years of manufacturing lutes and other old instruments, I am able to make a living of it together with Verónica Estevez, my wife.

Sebastián and Jan

But a couple of months ago I got an unexpected phone call I could only dream of: Jan Akkerman was at the other end of the line. He heard from me from a friend of his, Cees van Leeuwen (of the Blues Route) and he needed maintenance and strings for his lute because he intended to play it again...! Within an hour he was at my door, together with his lute. I could not believe this, but it was true.

26 years after this lute had inspired to build lutes I was allowed to fix it to let it sound fine again in the hands of Jan Akkerman.

The circle was round and my happiness was complete.

Sebastián Núñez

Translation: Irene Heinicke