MEET THE Luthiers
FEATURED LUTHIER: ERVIN SOMOGYI, USA
ERVIN SOMOGYI, USA
VIGF welcomes Ervin Somogyi to our roster of 2018 Exhibitors. Somogyi is a professional luthier and artist in wood of more than forty years' standing, whose work is known and respected internationally. His guitars are played by many professional musicians who, while they play in widely different musical genres, do at least all agree that the instruments are much better than they sound.
Somogyi’s relationship with the guitar began early on, cutting his teeth as he did with the seminal rock groups The Aluminati (the pioneers who wore the aluminum foil hats), The Algorhythms, and Mobius Dick -- whose redundant melodies were reminiscent of the sounds of a record stuck in a groove. Later Somogyi struck out on his own (many of his followers and critics agree that he has been striking out a lot ever since) to form his most influential but short-lived group, Colloidal Suspension of Disbelief; audiences really just couldn’t believe what they were hearing.
Bolstered by this group’s watershed success Somogyi soon turned to guitar making where, true to form, he worked in an actual watershed. But his innate talent quickly showed itself and began to be widely recognized -- eventually winning the prestigious Corrigan Prize given annually by the American Federation of the Conceptually Impaired, and the much acclaimed Silence Is Golden trophy of the National Association of the Tone Deaf. Somogyi’s instruments are now used exclusively by the musicians of Guitar Mime, the prestigious jazz ensemble of Gallaudet University.
Fascinating to women, respected by strong silent men, charismatic, deeply intelligent, wise, urbane, erudite, and compelling. Luthier Ervin Somogyi is none of these. But one has to make a living somehow; a man in free American shouldn’t go hungry. And Somogyi does make a pretty darn good guitar.
As to Somogyi's unique oeuvre of artistic woodcuts, when the Pope was given one of Somogyi's artworks to put on the wall of his Vatican apartment, he was heard to mutter: "Deo Santi, En Veritas, De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est!". Regarding this body of framed art, the consensus among the doyens of the National Endowment is that Somogyi's artwork, if not the artist himself, is remarkably well hung.
NIK HUBER GUITARS, GERMANY
Nik Huber, Luthier
Nik Huber carries on a more than 100 year old family tradition. In 1896 a heritage of woodworking expertise was born to proud parent Nikolaus Huber in a small village in Southern Bavaria. Today Nikolaus Huber IV carries that expertise forward in the form of exquisite guitars. Nik Huber Guitars was founded in 1996. Since then, the company grew slowly but constantly. Today a team of five highly skilled specialists builds approximately 220 hand-crafted instruments a year, with help from a little CNC machine.
DE JONGE GUITARS, CANADA
Sergei de Jonge, Luthier
Sergei de Jonge has built classical and steel string guitars for close to 50 years. He is known for his standards of excellence in engineering, tone, design, and workmanship. In his quest to build "the best" guitars he has experimented with many different woods, bracing patterns, double tops, side ports, adjustable and raised necks, etc. using well thought out construction that is simple and practical.
M-TONE GUITARS, USA
Matt Proctor, Luthier
Matt Proctor is a guitar maker, sculptor and musician who has been building M-tone guitars since 2009. His art-filled studio is located in the heart of Portland, Oregon. Every M-tone guitar is one-of-a kind and meticulously hand made from rough milling of the wood to final setup. These instruments are defined by innovative shapes, finishes and materials. Matt draws on many techniques he originally developed for his cast metal sculpture, frequently incorporating acid-etched and patinated steel, brass, and aluminum components. M-tone guitars are known for their seductive hand-carved necks, impeccable fretwork, and unusual finishes.
TAYLOR GUITARS, USA
Taylor Guitars was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, and has grown into the leading global builder of premium acoustic guitars. Renowned for blending modern, innovative manufacturing techniques with a master craftsman's attention to detail, Taylor acoustic guitars are widely considered among the best-sounding and easiest to play in the world. The company is a pioneer in the use of computer mills, lasers and other high-tech tools and proprietary machinery, and today, Bob Taylor is widely recognized throughout the musical instrument industry as the visionary acoustic guitar manufacturer.
BRUCE SEXAUER LUTHIER, USA
Bruce Sexauer, Luthier
Working with hand tools and using minimal fixturing, Bruce Sexauer builds one instrument at a time with the goal of ongoing incremental improvement of the traditional guitar. In his 50th year at the bench, the results of this approach to lutherie are consistently amazing. Sexauer's workshop of the last 20 years is in Petaluma, California.
LUTHERIE DION, CANADA
Simon Dion, Luthier
Simon Dion builds concert level classical and acoustic guitars. His goal is to make unique guitars at each and every build; you will never find two identical pieces. He loves every aspect of building such amazing pieces of art. The design of an instrument is as important as the sound it will produce; he strives for the perfect balance of a great sounding guitar with a unique look.
TREEHOUSE GUITARS, CANADA
Zachary Lefebvre, Luthier
Zachary Lefebvre hails from the small town of Hilton Beach, Ontario. Having learned through courses and apprenticeships with world-renowned luthiers, Zach builds 6-7 guitars per year, allowing him to meticulously craft highly customized, world-class instruments that are maximally responsive with great playability; they are a feast for the ears, eyes and the hands.
WILBORN GUITARS, USA
Benjamin Wilborn, Luthier
Ben Wilborn's focus as a builder is on his own unique designs, which he has created as a response to his desires as a musician, and his knowledge as a craftsman. His guitars are sleek and modern and employ all of Ben's hard won techniques and secrets for voicing and responsiveness, but they are not strange. In your hands - they feel timeless and alive, and in your ears, they create all those sounds that you always imagined a guitar should produce: warmth, harmonic sophistication, intensity and articulation. These guitars are built by a player, for players.
REILANDER CUSTOM GUITAR, CANADA
Michael Reilander, Luthier
Michael Reilander has been commercially producing guitar pickups and electronics since 2006. Not happy with out of the box electronics, Michael set out on a never ending quest for tone. He has experimented with hundreds of different tone caps, pots and pickup combinations. Little did Michael know, that this obsession for tone would lead to his own line of pickups.
DION GUITARS, CANADA
Dion Bews, Luthier
Dion Guitars is a one-man operation specializing in hand-crafted acoustic guitars. While the freedom of an independent craftsperson can offer a wide range of custom modification and design, the same belief informs every project: that the beauty of the acoustic guitar lies in the instrument’s essential function and that it should inspire use as well as admiration.
TUNATONE INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
Leila Sidi, Luthier
Leila Sidi is inspired by the vintage futurism of mid-century electric guitars. She pays tribute to them while accommodating contemporary manufacturing techniques and materials. Conventional and original components generate fresh instruments with iconic tonal character and creative spark. Sidi applies an updated futuristic vision of her craft, conceiving of electric guitars ergonomically suited to musicians of any body type.
MCNAMEE GUITARS, CANADA
John McNamee, Luthier
John McNamee is a self-employed luthier of acoustic guitars, baritones and basses. He graduated from the Douglas College string instrument building course in 1986 under the instruction of Michael Dunn. John has built a variety of over 70 instruments over the years, and is also a songwriter and musician.
KAUER GUITARS, INC., USA
Doug Kauer, Luthier
"I'm Doug Kauer. I have a beard and an impressive flannel shirt collection. I also wear glasses. That makes me a 105% qualified luthier."
KAWAKAMI GUITARS, CANADA
Yusuke Kawakami, Luthier
To Yusuke Kawakami, building guitars is not just a job but his pride and passion. As a big fan of the Beatles and Deep Purple from an early age, he began his luthier training under his father, a master luthier at K.Yairi Guitars (company founded by his grandfather in 1936). In 1999, he moved to Vancouver and joined Larrivee Guitar to further advance his skills. In 2002, Yusuke settled in Vancouver permanently and established his own company. Now he creates fine crafted guitars and ukuleles at his workshop in North Vancouver, using the best local materials such as spruce in ideal moisture condition.
WILKIE STRINGED INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
Wyatt Wilkie, Luthier
Wyatt Wilkie began building instruments in 1999. He spent the following decade honing his skills in workshops on both sides of the Atlantic and, from 2007-2009, as apprentice and master craftsman to Bob Benedetto. Having hand-carved well over 100 jazz guitars and mandolins, Wilkie then set up shop permanently in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Wyatt is currently accepting students for his one-on-one archtop building master class.
SCHWARTZ GUITARS, CANADA
Sheldon Schwartz, Luthier
Steel string guitars designed and engineered for solo acoustic instrumental and fingerstyle music since 1992. Performed on by some of the world's best players including Michael Chapdelaine, Erik Mongrain, Trevor Gordon Hall, Justin St-Pierre, Ali Deniz Kardelen, Donovan Raitt and Steve Davison.
FAST GUITARS, CANADA
Kevin Fast, Luthier
Since 2006, Fast Guitars has been building custom electric guitars and basses using modern technology, traditional craftsmanship, and the finest materials available. We are a true custom shop with the capability to build an instrument to exacting specifications.We specialize in fanned fret, multi-scale, extended range and standard scale guitars. Above all else, our focus is on delivering precision construction and an unparalleled level of quality.
TIMELESS INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
David Freeman, Luthier
David Freeman has custom-built string-fretted instruments since 1980, under the name Timeless Instruments. He also offers extensive lutherie training courses & luthier supplies. From re-sawing timber to intricate inlays, David draws on traditions with innovation in his research of new sound concepts. Since 1986, David has trained many present day luthiers, worldwide. It changed their life! Look, Play, Listen, OWN!
THORELL FINE GUITARS, USA
Ryan Thorell, Luthier
Ryan Thorell has been building, repairing, and playing guitars since 1993 when he built his first guitar with Tim D. Gonzalez, a Salt Lake City based luthier. After a number of apprenticeships he opened his custom guitar business in 2003 in Logan Utah. His custom handmade instruments are coveted, owned, and played all over the world by respected collectors and renowned guitarists such as Frank Vignola, Tommy Emmanuel, Vinny Raniolo, George Cole, Adam Miller, and Wolfgang Shalk.
MARC SAUMIER LUTHIER, CANADA
Marc Saumier, Luthier
Marc Saumier started building guitars in 1996, Today his line includes steel string, nylon strings, archtop, acoustic basses, ukeleles and unique instruments such as 12 string nylon string guitars that are mostly made from locally sourced wood. Focusing mainly on sound and playability, Saumier's instruments feature a unique voice, good note separation and a wide dynamic range thanks to the unique and innovative bracing of his soundboards.
MORRISSEY GUITARS, USA
Patrick Morrissey, Luthier
"My love of woodworking goes back to my childhood. My father was a craftsman and working along side him as a young boy I learned the skills necessary for fine woodworking. After completing my first guitar, I was hooked…I knew this is where I wanted to focus my talents. I found my passion as a luthier – 17 years later I continue to do what I love every day."
KRONBAUER GUITARS, CANADA
Trevor Kronbauer, Luthier
Trevor Kronbauer's passion for music and the power of a song is his drive to continually produce guitars with phenomenal sound, comfortable playability, beautiful aesthetics and the artistry he is known for. Every Kronbauer guitar is made with Trevor's own two hands, from solid woods utilizing traditional craftsmanship. Trevor’s continued mission with his work is to make Kronbauer guitars a players instrument of choice as well as a valued tool of inspiration and creativity.
KORNIL GUITARS, CANADA
Igor Kornilov, Luthier
Igor Kornilov started his guitar building in 1983 in Moscow. Since 2003, he has been living in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2007, "Kornil Guitars™" was awarded the Winnipeg Arts Council's and the Manitoba Arts Council's Grants. Over the past 35 years, Igor has built about 350 instruments: archtops, basses, electric and acoustic guitars, and many-string instruments.
LARRIVÉE GUITARS, USA
Today, we are a new generation of talented guitar makers - building instruments as extraordinary and unique as the people who craft them – and who play them. We are inspired by the passion, and guided by the lifetime of experiences of our leader, Jean Larrivée, whose legendary craftsmanship still finds its way into every guitar that bears his name.
VIGF welcomes Maegen Wells to our roster of 2018 Exhibitors. Maegen Wells Guitars & Mandolins is a one lady shop tucked in the great Redwoods of California. Maegen has been building guitars since 2006 and specializes in archtop guitars and mandolins. Each instrument is her own design and is built from scratch with her own two hands.
PRESTIGE GUITARS, CANADA
From the start, Prestige set out to build guitars that are classic and timeless. From wood to components and all aspects of fit and finish, we maintain the utmost in quality. Now going into our 14th year, our award-winning line has rounded out to feature a full range of solid body and semi-hollow electrics, as well as hand carved acoustic guitars.
POTVIN GUITARS, CANADA
Mike Potvin, Luthier
Mike Potvin has been designing and building custom electric guitars in his one-man shop since 2003. His designs have been featured in books and magazines, and are praised by players around the world for their balance, design aesthetics and build quality. Mike takes inspiration from class guitar designs, but is never bound by any "formula". His unique designs feature a nod to the past, and more than a hint of Mike's passion for the world of vintage sports cars.
FE TELLIER GUITARS, CANADA
Fred Tellier, Luthier
Fred Tellier has been building acoustic guitars, Irish Bouzouki and ukuleles since 2005 from his shop in Windsor Ontario. He prides himself on being open to ideas from clients, and his goal is to create an instrument with sound, playability and finish that both the client and he can be proud of.
LETAIN GUITARS, CANADA
Jeff Letain, Luthier
Jeff Letain has been a woodworker since the late seventies and shifted his focus to guitars in the late nineties. Maximum playability and the search for a tone and sound quality that excites passion of the guitarist is his main goal. For him, the guitar is a tool that is functional sculpture and the surface a canvas with a limitless field for expression.
TERRE ET BOIS, FRANCE
Nicolas Wilgenbus, Luthier
Nicolas Wilgenbus has been a luthier on Reunion Island since 2001. Most of his inspiration comes from natural elements, such as the hydrologic cycle or the growth of plants. Nicolas explores both the acoustic and aesthetic qualities of the precious Indian Ocean woods, combined with the species traditionally employed for lutherie. His instruments are proudly handcrafted with love and respect for the wood, so as to deliver all the fruits of his passion to musicians.
DnA RYER GUITARS, CANADA
David Ryer, Luthier
Dave Ryer has always had a deep appreciation for fine woodworking, especially as it applies to musical instruments. He has nurtured my soul while learning the art of crafting high quality, acoustic guitars. Whether it's a classical, flamenco, steel stringed custom-designed guitar, each instrument will be unique, designed and built according to the desires of the player. Together, we will build a meticulously handcrafted instrument using the finest tone woods to ensure every clients experience exceeds their expectations. That is the goal of DnA Ryer Guitars.
MACPHERSON GUITARS, CANADA
Dan MacPherson, Luthier
A professional Luthier since the early 90's, ghost builder and finisher for many well known British brands until 2010 when MacPherson Guitars was launched. The business relocated to the Okanagan Valley in 2016 where MacPherson Guitars continue to offer a range of high qaulity, hand made solid and semi solid electric guitars.
DRAGONFLY GUITARS, CANADA
Dan Richter, Luthier
Specializing in modern acoustic and electric guitars, with up to date features like arm bevels, side-ports, fan-fretting and a completely unique aesthetic, Dragonfly Guitars looks to the traditions of the past and to the innovations of the future to inform its design sensibilities and sonic philosophy.
DONTCHO IVANOV LUTHIER, CANADA
Dontcho Ivanov, Luthier
Dontcho Ivanov is a full-time Montreal-based luthier and guitarist for the Balkan gypsy band, Soleil Tzigane. He learned to build classical and flamenco guitars in the Spanish tradition with Hugues Lefort, and steel-string guitars in the California style with Mario Beauregard. In his cozy home workshop, he builds primarily Classical, Flamenco, Steel string Parlor, Gypsy & Nylon Jazz guitars. His instruments show a remarkably high quality of acoustic response and craftsmanship.
SKYTOP GUITARS, USA
Eric Weigeshoff, Luthier
Coming from a design and film background, Eric Weigeshoff is driven by instruments that are not only sonically viable, but interesting and unique aesthetically. A long-time rock climber, Eric's passion for the stone and natural world around him finds its way into his craft. He bridges time-tested method with new technique and thought to make player-focused, intimate guitars.
BEHRAD GUITARS, CANADA
Behrad Gorgani, Luthier
Behrad Gorgani builds small bodied steel string, flamenco, and concert classical guitars in his shop located in Toronto, Canada.
CATON GUITARS, USA
Kevin Caton, Luthier
Kevin Caton started building acoustic guitars in 1999. He attended the Roberto Venn School of Luthiery in 2006 and has been striving to build some of the worlds finest instruments since. Each Caton guitar is 100% hand crafted and intended to reflect the passion and personality of its builder and player.
VELLONE GUITARS, USA
Stefano Vellone, Luthier
Vellone Guitars is not only in the business of making exceptional instruments, but also developing and cultivating lifelong client-crafter relationships. Founder Stefano Vellone specializes in extended-range acoustic guitars for the modern fingerstyle player; his signature copper rosettes and inlays bring a beautiful and unique touch to his builds. Vellone Guitars is now proudly based out of the US.
COLOMA GUITARS, CANADA
Meredith Coloma, Luthier
Vancouver-based Meredith Coloma is recognized as one of the youngest professional guitar builders internationally. She currently runs a successful business handcrafting custom guitars and teaching guitar building at her Vancouver Guitar Building Workshop. As a luthier, Meredith aspires to use her innovative building talents to create original custom guitars that are characterized by aesthetic beauty and superior tone.
JAYEMAR GUITARS, USA
Jason Rodgers, Luthier
Jason M. Rodgers is sole proprietor and craftsman of Jayemar Guitars (J.M.R. "Jay-em-ar"). Each guitar is built in his small home shop in Lake Oswego, Oregon, USA using only local and domestic woods. Jason specializes in multi-scale 6-, 7-, and 8-string guitars, and a variety of custom pickups wound in-house come standard on every instrument.
THÉO KAZOURIAN LUTHIER, CANADA
Théo Kazourian, Luthier
Sensitivity, pureness and emotion are part of the recipe that gives each Kazourian guitar its unique character.
Specializing in steel string acoustic guitars, Théo Kazourian designs his instruments using traditional building techniques combined with a modern design approach.
CLÉROUX GUITARS, CANADA
Vincent Cléroux , Luthier
Vincent has been handcrafting guitars professionally since 2011. He holds a diploma from Bruand school in Montreal. Then, he apprenticed with master luthier Stephen Marchione to learn the craft of archtop guitars. Recently, with other guitar makers he founded "Lutherie de Bordeaux," a shared studio for guitar makers in Montreal. Vincent specializes in steel string, semi-hollow and archtop guitars.
LUTHERIE LACASSE, CANADA
Antoine Lacasse, Luthier
Antoine Lacasse has been working with wood since his childhood and it has always fascinated him. It is that passion, associated with his enthusiasm for guitars, that brought him to study with Rene Wilhelmy at Bruand Lutherie School from 2012 to 2015. Since then, he always tries to surpass himself in every step of the building process, from the first drawing to the last adjustments.
YEN GUITARS, USA
Yen Lai, Luthier
Yen Lai's background includes formal training from Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery, and experience working for Guitar Center as a guitar repair technician. He now runs his own repair shop in New Jersey, where in addition to daily repair work, he builds 6~8 guitars each year. Yen focuses on the balance between sound and aesthetics.. He likes his guitars clean and punctuated, and builds customized guitars that suit his clients' music endeavors.
TINKER/HALCYON GUITARS, CANADA
Ed Bond, Luthier
Ed Bond has been making acoustic guitars since 1995, and has been a custom luthier since 2002. Each Tinker Guitar is built from solid woods in a climate-controlled workshop. Using no shell, Ed prefers to let the natural beauty of the wood speak for itself. He uses a combination of deflection and resonance testing to ensure that every guitar he builds is loud, full, lively and responsive.
SOTA MORI GUITARS, CANADA
Soti Mori, Luthier
Sota Mori, a Japanese born Luthier and Guitar Maker was raised in Calgary, AB. Currently working as an instructor at the Summit School of Building and Repair, he builds custom handcrafted stringed instruments made In the remote Vancouver Island, BC.