Jeremy Tubbs, musicologist and friend of the family, is working on his dissertation about Mario Maccaferri. Jeremy was recently at the University of Georgia presenting his work capped of by a quick demonstration of the violin. The response was overwhelming. We are working hard to bring the violin into mass production. This summer Jeremy will present his paper at Yale. Below is a brief overview of the Project. For more information please email us or contact Jeremy directly.
The Project: The dissertation will explore the important and varied career of guitarist, luthier, and inventor, Mario Maccaferri. Musicians like Andrés Segovia, Ida Presti, Manuel Ponce, Les Paul, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Ivor Mairants, and countless others called him friend and on many occasions praised his musicianship and craftsmanship. This work will be a scholarly, thoroughly researched document that will be a testament to Mario Maccaferri's career, achievements, inventions, contributions, and instruments. It will serve as an organological reference guide to all his lutherie, include a catalogue of all his personal guitar music, discuss Maccaferri as a concert guitar player and teacher, and serve as a detailed biography of his life.
Mario Maccaferri started his career at age eleven as a guitar apprentice under the direction of Luigi Mozzani in Cento, Italy. His life ended in New York as a highly successful businessman and luthier. In the middle, he enjoyed a fruitful touring career in Europe along side Andrés Segovia. He built guitars for Selmer in the 1930s and began reed manufacturing companies in Europe and New York. Later in life, he founded Mastro Industries which produced all types of plastic instruments, floor tiles, wall coverings, tape dispensers, cassette tape and eight-track housings, and clothespins (to name a few). Finally, in retirement, he taught young guitarists studying guitar in America the technique and style he had learn in Italy, while perfecting and building a high-quality plastic violin. Any one of these accomplishments seems enough for a lifetime, but together it adds up to a truly remarkable life. However, for someone like Mario Maccaferri it was simply a daily routine. He wanted to provide for his family, be a successful businessman, and create useful things for everyone to enjoy. His ideology inspired him to build instruments that catered to everyone, young or old, rich or poor, and all in between. Furthermore, his humble upbringing inspired him to create instruments that could be manufactured cheaply but retain a high level of quality. This ideal led him to plastics. Mario produced plastic instruments unparalleled at the time even though he knew plastic could not achieve the tonal richness that wood offered. In life, Maccaferri was ahead of the curve, an innovator. He had a strong character with an even stronger personality. Over ten years after his passing we still study and marvel at his art.
A Paper on the Plastic Violin: "Mario Maccaferri's Plastic Violin" Why did Mario Maccaferri, at the age of 86, believe that he needed to develop a professional, concert level plastic violin? Why did he spend $350,000 of his own money researching, testing, and building the instrument? My paper will answer these questions by carefully examining Maccaferri's personal documents, published texts, and interviews conducted with Maccaferri and his family. This paper will also discuss the creation process, the instrument's debut at Carnegie Hall, reviews of the concert, and the instrument's fate beyond the recital. Finally, the study will look at the structure of instrument and the unique qualities it possesses.
About the author: Jeremy M. Tubbs holds a Bachelor's degree in guitar performance from Lambuth University and a Master's degree from the University of Memphis. Mr. Tubbs began working towards his PhD in Musicology in 2002 and through his course work became involved in organology (the study and understanding of musical instruments). He is a recording artist and performer throughout the United States and has been featured on over fourteen recordings in the past twelve years.