Birdfish creator Ulrich Teuffel was born in Kitzingen, Germany in 1965. He was bitten by the creative bug early on and precociously started to build guitars at 14. After reading a guitar design book, Ulrich was mesmerised by the stunning creations of guitar designer-builder Steve Klein and was inspired to build his own Klein-style acoustic guitar.
After completing high school, Ulrich did an apprenticeship at a well-known German carmaker before studying industrial design and art history at university – but he didn’t actually finish his degree because instead of studying, he spent his time building acoustic and electric guitars in his room!
When he turned 30, he drastically changed his approach in guitar making by focusing on conceptual design. The Birdfish’s versatility and astounding sound – inspired by Leo Fender’s Stratocaster – have placed it among the best technical electric guitars in the world.
This astonishing guitar gets its name from the two central elements – the ‘bird’ and the ‘fish’ – both carved from a solid block of acoustically-optimal aluminium. The tone bars, pickups and neck are all attached to the ‘bird’ and the ‘fish’ while the control unit – with a five-way switch like that of a classic 1950s guitar – forms the head of the ‘bird’.
According to him, there is no need for his work to be carried on when he will be gone. “Everything has its end,” he says philosophically, but, yet, a few weeks back, Ulrich sent me an email after questioning his daughter Paula about the future of the company. He asked her if she wanted to become a guitar maker but she said she’d rather do something with horses.
"Perhaps horse-guitars?" Teuffel replied. "No, daddy,” concluded the 6-year-old girl.
If you happen to come anywhere close to Geneva, the guitar is plugged into its amplifier… so now would be a good time to test that musical ear of yours.