Krasse Gitarren

MICHAELA HARTMANN owns and runs a popular guitar shop, even employs a few people there, has connections in the music business and she is also part of a couple of musical projects. It sounds just like someone is living her dream. But is she? MICHI HARTMANN’s plans were somehow different and the road up to now has been a steep and stony one.

Back in her childhood days MICHI HARTMANN couldn’t really have dreams. She was a refugee child despite her outstanding talents, especially in drawing, she was sent to a nunnery to be schooled. Unfortunately this meant that her skills were not fostered. She was expected to take on a role that did not suit her at all. Today MICHI always speaks her mind. “I’ve got nothing to lose, do I?“, she says with her casual, open manner. Over all the difficult years she could finally become herself and now she knows exactly what she wants.

She completed her design studies at the Universität der Künste in Berlin as a mature student and later worked as effect and prop assistant on film sets (she was particularly fond of a fire-spitting pyre…). However, this didn’t help her find a straight line in her life. Quite the opposite: The atmosphere of disrespect MICHI often felt herself confronted with completely went against her own values. To distract herself somehow from the unloved workplace she decided to set up a little ‘workbench‘ at home.

MICHI wanted to build an electric guitar all by herself. The idea had always been at the back of her head, as she had never found a perfect guitar for herself. „Most guitars are built for dudes.“, she explains. „So it’s only natural most of them are just a little too big for me.“ It took her a year, but it was definitely worth the time for “gold hands Michi“. She finally had her very own guitar. From this episode the idea for her own shop Krasse Gitarren (Eng. Sick Guitars) developed slowly but steadily.

The finished products...

MICHI’s motto is “learning by doing“, so she is improving all the time. Today building an average electric guitar takes her about 70 working hours. She also sells guitars and accessories and of course she is mending well-loved and unique guitars. She has already welcomed artists like Keimzeit, Einstürzende Neubauten or Die Happy to her shop. But MICHI makes no difference there - she always takes time for her customers, be it for general advice or specific tips for keeping your guitar happy.

“But there is something I’m sick of hearing every day.“, MICHI complains. She often receives e-mails addressing her as “Dear Mr Hartmann“ or when someone enters the shop they exclaim in surprise: “Why, but you’re a woman!“. But in the end MICHI is not dragged down by the stereotypical thinking that has emerged from this male dominated business. That is exactly what she likes about her store: „This is my very own place and I can tell people off when they mess around. I don’t need to answer anyone.“

MICHAELA HARTMANN, despite hard and difficult times, never gave up and thus has made it this far. When she listens to a gifted musician play on one of her instruments today she knows that she has done everything right. “It’s amazing to hear people use my instruments so skilfully. It makes me really proud.“ MICHI herself is playing as well, of course, and her next gig is already booked: She will be performing with two other musicians at the Choriner Straßenfest on 6th September, 16:00. When you are in the area, you could drop by her shop as well- it’s just around the corner!


Krasse Gitarren
Choriner Strasse 40
10435 Berlin

Tel: +49 30 22 01 53 83
Tel: +49 179 66 12 647

...more finished products...

...and the one who made them.
Text: Sophie Jüterbock

...pushed by BANJO & ELFE.

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