MEET The LUTHIERS
featured luthier: GRIT LASKIN, CANADA
GRIT LASKIN, CANADA
VIGF welcomes Grit Laskin to its roster of 2017 Exhibitors. William "Grit" Laskin is an internationally celebrated Canadian luthier, particularly notable for his high-quality instruments, acoustic guitar innovations (such as the "Laskin Armrest" and "Ribrest") and for his skill in the art of inlay. The Art Of Inlay describes Laskin as "one of the most astonishing inlay artists in North America." His guitars have been exhibited as works of art in many museums. Grit is the author and subject of many books including A Guitarmaker's Canvas: The Inlay Art of Grit Laskin.
Grit will be conducting two master classes during the exhibition:
June 24: Welcome to Grit Laskin’s World!—How Does A Guitar Maker Get Music Out Of A Wooden Box
June 25: The Stories Behind Groundbreaking Inlay Art; The 2017 Group Of Seven Project.
LINDA MANZER, CANADA
Linda Manzer has been designing and building world-class flattop and archtop acoustic guitars since 1974. She studied with master luthiers Jean Claude Larrivee and the late James D'Aquisto. Linda is credited with many cutting-edge innovations including, in 1984, the "Wedge", an ergonomic tapered guitar body shape originally designed for the renowned 42-stringed Pikasso Guitar. Many discerning musicians play her instruments, including Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, and Julian Lage.
Her guitars have been displayed in the Smithsonian, Washington D.C., the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Museum of Civilization, Ottawa, Canada.
MATT PROCTOR, USA
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.
YUSUKE KAWAKAMI, CANADA
To Yusuke Kawakami, building guitars is not just a job but his pride and passion. He began his luthier training under his father. In 1999, he moved from Japan 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.
STEFANO VELLONE, CANADA
Founded in 2013 in Montreal, Canada, guitar builder Stefano Vellone is one of the merging stars from Quebec's vibrant luthier industry. Stefano apprenticed under Master Luthier Stephen Marchione, and is currently enjoying the mentorship of esteemed luthier Michel Pellerin.
JASON KOSTAL, USA
The guitars that I build today are a culmination of over 30 years of playing and performing experience as a fingerstyle guitarist coupled with a desire to make the best possible guitar that I am capable of. I pair this with the knowledge and teachings imparted on me by three distinctly different mentors, some amazing luthiers that helped me along the way, my own teaching experience, and my own ideas.
SERGEI DE JONGE, CANADA
My emphasis is on building the highest possible calibre of concert classical guitars intended for the performing professional. Innovation plays an important role in the evolution of my guitars; each is crafted to best suit the distinctive needs of the individual player. Most of the orders I get are custom, so I encourage my clients to dream of their ultimate instrument. All of my guitars have an all natural traditional french polished finish.
B&G GUITARS, ISRAEL
The story of the Little Sister® began from the puzzling question of how the early delta bluesmen were able to fascinate a listener with only one guitar and their simple, yet soulful vocal lines.
Understanding that these players' fat and throaty guitar tones often came from playing small-body parlor guitars, we decided to uncover the secret of these instruments and embark on a journey back to the crossroads. While obsessively collecting all sorts of original guitars from the 1920s and ‘30s, many of which were in poor condition and needed complete restoration, we began to create the special design that would best serve the guitar sound we had become hooked on.
We wanted to create an instrument that would be versatile enough for players who use a pick, and for players who are fingerstylists. It needed to be superior in terms of playability, and it had to be gimmick free; it had to be lightweight, comfortable and unique. Ultimately, we decided that it should be a small-body parlor guitar because these were the instruments that we kept playing again and again.
The Little Sister Private Build production is limited to 30 guitars per month, to ensure careful attention to detail and accuracy in every guitar.
And if she looks like a jewel, it's because she was designed by jewelry artist David Weizman, who also handcrafts the brass hardware.
OVERLOAD CUSTOM GUITARS AND BASSES, ITALY
Custom guitars and basses made in Rome, Italy.
JEFF LETAIN, CANADA
In the late seventies he took his love of creating things in wood to a new level when he studied cabinet making at SAIT in Calgary. The cabinet making training and his attention to detail coupled with his love of wood and artistic ability earned Jeff the highest final mark in the province for the program.
Jeff took his tools and skills to the Kettle Valley in southern BC where he set up a wood working shop to build kitchens and fine furniture. In the early 90′s he then moved to Vancouver where he apprenticed with the sculptor, David Marshall. During the time that Jeff was working with Marshall, he built his first guitar. A new love was born!
Jeff later applied his exceptional skills to the film industry. This exposure to new tools and a broader array of materials, in movie making, expanded Jeff’s palette for guitar building. In 2002, Jeff moved to Vancouver Island where he built a new shop that has all the necessary components to build the finest of guitars.
JEAN LARRIVEE, CANADA
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.
Our guitars are built with only the finest solid woods available - no plys, laminates or synthetic woods are ever used in construction. We use FSC wood and engage in as much selective logging as possible. This means we like to be there, in the forest, personally taking part. Imagine, when we begin to create your instrument, we begin on the forest floor.
Above all, our goal is 'affordable luxury' - we aim to put high-end guitars into the hands of all players. We don't want to build the most guitars. We just want to build the best.
PRISMA GUITARS, USA
Prisma Guitars creates one-of-a-kind guitars made from the wood of used and broken skateboards. Every skateboard is made with seven colour-dyed plys of hard rock maple pressed together. Once the material is worked with, the guitar's colour pattern emerges. Each guitar is handcrafted in San Francisco, CA.
WYATT WILKIE, CANADA
Wyatt Wade Wilkie currently hand-builds around a dozen archtop guitars and mandolins per year in his small workshop on the coast of Vancouver Island where he has lived for several years with his wife, Emily and two children Jasper and Linnea. He considers himself lucky to have finally arrived at such a beautiful place to live and work after a lengthy and unpredictable journey.
Prior to setting up shop in British Columbia Wyatt had his workshop in Savannah, Georgia where he worked as apprentice to renowned jazz guitar maker Bob Benedetto shortly after Bob opened his shop there. As well as building Bob’s high-end guitars Wyatt also had the title of Master Craftsman of the company and filled many rolls, all the while still whittling away in his own shop at home making guitars and mandolins of his own design.
BARON GUITARS, CANADA
Montreal Guitar Maker Maxime Baron is a promising luthier from the Quebec luthier industry. He graduated with distinction from Longueuil's guitar making school in 2010. Through word of mouth, he established himself as one of Montreal's proficient repair shop. He now shares his knowledge in training classes. The guitars built with Maxime Baron's signature have benefited from this experience.
His focus is now on building steel string guitars, using a scientific approach paired with the best materials.
BEHRAD GORGANI, CANADA
Behrad builds small bodied steel string, flamenco, and concert classical guitars in his shop located in Toronto, Canada.
DRAGONFLY GUITARS, CANADA
Dan Richter has been a luthier for over fifteen years. Trained as an acoustic guitar-make, he has also built electric instruments, banjos, harps and various other stringed instruments. He is a professional guitarist performing, touring and recording with his band, The Rakish Angles, as well as with other projects. All these experiences inform the design and construction of Dan's instruments.
TINKER GUITARS, CANADA
Ed Bond has been making acoustic guitars since 1995, and a custom luthier since 2002. Since then he has completed upwards of eighty instruments. Ed has a deep and extensive background in the instrument manufacturing process, having served in one of Canada's larger guitar manufacturing facilities for over 17 years.
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, no matter what the size or woods used. Ed can tailor a guitar to your specific needs as a player.
SANKEY GUITARS, CANADA
I've been building and repairing guitars for 17 years. Each one is crafted individually, slowly, by hand. I give my instruments names, not serial numbers, because every one is unique. I like to maintain a modern and functionalist aesthetic, showcasing the natural beauty of local woods.
SHANE BRIGGS GUITARS, AUSTRALIA
Born and raised in Victoria, Australia, Shane began learning to play the acoustic guitar at the age of 12. Shane began utilising books to teach himself basic wood working skills, building his first two guitars at the age of 17. His newfound delight in the tactility of flexing, planing and crafting tone woods soon saw him establish a small workshop in his father’s garage. His quest for knowledge soon led him to respected Australian luthiers Jack Spira, Richard Howell, Barry Kerr and Tim Kill, all of whom mentored him and encouraged his work. In 2009, Shane completed a Certificate in Guitar Making, Restoration & Repair in Melbourne.
Shane currently designs and crafts steel string guitars and harp guitars from his Melbourne workshop using tone woods from both hemispheres to create instruments that are highly responsive, incredibly playable and aesthetically refined.
His works are influenced by the aesthetics of the world’s contemporary guitar making scene, modern finger style guitar music as well as his personal tastes as a guitar player.
Shane builds 8-10 instruments per year and has exhibited at events including Port Fairy Folk Festival, Melbourne Guitar Makers Festival, Canberra’s National Folk Festival and the Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin.
MICHAEL REILANDER, CANADA
As an amateur, Michael Reilander has been building solid body electric guitars and dabbling with electronics since 1996. Commercially, he has been producing and expanding his pickup recipes 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, pickup combinations and active circuits. Michael finally decided to take a crack at making his own pickups, hoping to find the tonal characteristics that have been so elusive to him. Little did he know this obsession for tone would lead to his own line of pickups.
TREEHOUSE GUITARS, CANADA
Canadian musician and singer-songwriter Zachary Lefebvre has traveledCanada performing with various artists and bands, and teaches guitar, cello, piano and Irish tin whistle. He can be heard instrumentally and vocally on various recordings including The O'Schraves' latest album, Family Day, Ian Bell's album, Forget Me Not, When Far Away , Benoit Lefebvre's album, Kaleidoscope and on many YouTube videos with the bands "Wildwood Soul" and "The O'Schraves". Zach's original song Little Log Cabin was a regional finalist in CBC's Searchlight competition 2015. Paralleling his musical proficiency, Zach is also an accomplished pyrographic artist whose detailed, evocative wood burnings demonstrate his visual talent and ability.
Zach studied and apprenticed with world-renowned luthier Sergei de Jonge. While mastering each step of guitar making from rough-sawn lumber to the finished instruments, he realized he had found a way to fuse his practical, musical, and visual skills in a way that resulted in completely unique instruments. He established TreeHouse Guitars on July 31st, 2012 and his guitars were an immediate success.
THE FRANK BROTHERS GUITAR COMPANY, CANADA
Heirloom quality, professional performance, and original design. Frank Brothers Guitar Company uses premium materials and meticulous craftsmanship to make each guitar a unique masterpiece. Exceeding expectations for quality, playability and sonic experience is our constant motivation.
Frank Brothers is composed of three brothers, Tim, Nick and Jon, along with Warren Spitz, our mentor, friend and honorary brother. Together, with a growing team of passionate guitar builders, we deliver exceptional quality and service to our customers. In doing so, we are proud to be building upon a family legacy of excellence in music that began with our grandfather and father.
RYER GUITARS, CANADA
I’ve always had a deep appreciation for fine woodworking, especially as it applies to musical instruments. In the late 1980s, I repaired stringed instruments for local music shops and since the turn of the millennium I have nurtured my soul while learning the art of crafting high quality, acoustic guitars. In 2000, going through the process of learning to build my first Flamenco guitar from scratch with Sergei de Jonge was such a satisfying and rewarding achievement that it changed my focus in life and led me to where I am today; designing and building guitars for others. I have such a passion for the whole process from discussions of choice the woods; stringing them up and handing it over to someone who I know will be inspired for creations.
EITAN BARTAL, ISRAEL
In 2003 Eitan entered the renowned Tel Aviv workshop "Guitarkol" as an apprentice, studying the different traditions of guitar making and repairing using the methods of "LA Strings" London. After his first taste of luthiery, he started a journey which led him to Spain, in search of the roots of the guitar.
After five years of hard work alongside Maestro Rafael Romero in San Fernando de Cadiz, Spain, Eitan felt he had touched the core of the true Flamenco sound and decided to go back home and start developing his own sound.
Since 2009, Eitan has been working independently from his workshop in Tel Aviv, Israel. His main focus has been perfecting his art of making the highest quality traditional Flamenco and classical guitars, and developing modern models aimed at different accents for the modern fusion guitarists necessities. In addition, he has a number of custom designed modern instruments, including his version of the 5-string Archtop Benavent style Flamenco Bass and a 7-string Flamenco cutway. Eitan has built guitars for world renowned innovative musicians such as Flamenco Jazz prodigy Rycardo Moreno, Flamenco/Middle Eastern guitarist and composer Itamar Erez, and many more.
HEIDEN INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
Michael Heiden began making instruments in the rich music environment of Vancouver, British Columbia in the 1970's.
Apart from playing fiddle, mandolin, and guitar in numerous folk, bluegrass, and swing bands, he developed a reputation as a skilled repairman concentrating on restoration and setup of quality instruments. This experience combined with a genuine desire to create fine tuned, responsive and player friendly instruments has made Heiden Stringed Instruments distinctive and collectable.
His mandolins are played by John Reichman, Ry Cooder, Andrew Collins and Forrest O’Conner.
MICHAEL GREENFIELD, CANADA
Michael Greenfield is widely regarded as one of the finest acoustic guitar luthiers building today. His instruments are renowned for their rich, powerful voice and are used in concert halls and studios the world over by many leading players including Keith Richards, Andy McKee and Tony McManus.
TAYLOR GUITARS, USA
Headquartered in El Cajon, California, Taylor Guitars was founded in 1974 by Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug, and has grown into the leading global builder of premium acoustic guitars. Taylor employs over 900 people and currently produces hundreds of guitars per day in its state-of-the-art factory complexes in both El Cajon and in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico. The company maintains an active dealer network, with Taylor guitars sold through hundreds of retail locations in North America and with international distribution to 60 countries, including a distribution warehouse and factory service center in the Netherlands.
In addition to its forward-thinking approach to guitar design and manufacturing, Taylor has applied that same approach to its wood sourcing and environmental sustainability initiatives. Taylor is dedicated to the pursuit of best practices in forest management, new models of reforestation, and bringing ethically harvested tonewoods to market. This approach, together with outstanding playability, flawless craftsmanship, and stunning aesthetics, are just a few of the reasons that many of today’s leading musicians make Taylor their guitar of choice. The company’s artist roster numbers in the thousands, and includes the likes of Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, Zac Brown, and many other established musicians.
SHELLY PARK, CANADA
Shelley's craftsmanship and deep appreciation for the subtleties and qualities of fine wood, combined with her affinity for acoustic music led her naturally to a career in lutherie. Her love of the music of Django Reinhardt further focused her lutherie skills, constructing guitars based on the original designs of Mario Maccaferri and the Selmer Company of France. Shelley Park has now been building fine guitars in Vancouver, BC since 1991. Shelley also brings a wealth of listening and playing experience to her craft. She played rhythm guitar in the popular gypsy jazz ensemble Pearl Django for 6 years, and has had a long and intimate connection to the classic Selmer guitar sound. Shelley's exquisite craftsmanship and attention to detail are reflected in every instrument she builds.
FABRIZIO ALBERICO, CANADA
Guided by his love of music, informed by his keen eye for detail, and inspired by his quest for perfect tone and playability, Fabrizio has been crafting exquisite instruments for the most discerning players since 1998. He began with an exclusive focus on steel-string guitars for fingerstyle players like himself, who demand uncompromising balance and clarity across the tonal spectrum. Fabrizio continues to individually handcraft these guitars in his shop in Victoria, BC. A few years ago, he also began playing Old-Time banjo, and so naturally turned his creative eyes, ears, and hands towards crafting banjos (under the name “Ashoka”) which possess the same world-class playability, tone, and aesthetic appeal as his guitars.
MULE RESONATOR GUITARS, USA
Matt Eich builds steel and brass bodied resonator guitars in Saginaw, Michigan. The resonator guitar has largely remained unchanged since 1930. Matt is working to change that while respecting traditional aesthetic. Musicians like The Black Keys, Ben Harper, Adele and Charlie Parr use this new sound to take their work in new directions. New sound, new inspiration.
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 13th 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.
SEXAUER GUITARS, USA
Born on March 17, 1947 in Oakland, California, and playing the guitar since he was 17, Bruce Sexauer began his lutherie career in 1967 in order to have a better instrument than he could otherwise afford. In his first few years experience, Sexauer moved from solid-bodies, through dulcimers, and on to flat-top acoustic guitars, always working with his own designs. In the next decade Sexauer’s work produced psalteries, mandolins, a tiple’, a Guitarone, and 2 full size harps in addition to a steady stream of individually built flat-top guitars. While being in fact a highly social person, Sexauer prefers to work as a one man shop, and believes the instruments are better for it.
In the following decade, while still creating a number of exceptional flat-tops, Sexauer discovered a passion for arch-top guitars. After carving several instruments, Sexauer noticed that many customers are asking for the clarity of the carved guitar, but being accustomed to flat-tops, require more sensitivity and volume than seems to be available in carved guitars. Influenced by Selmer/Macaferri type guitars (such as those made by Michael Dunn, a shop cohort in the 60’s), and certain Larson Brothers models from the ‘30’s, Sexauer created the “Coo’stic Dominator” to fill this niche.
A fourth decade found many in the guitar world thinking of Sexauer Guitars as the ultimate in Vintage Martin reproduction due to Bruce Sexauer being the primary maker of Eric Schoenberg Guitars starting in 1999, but Sexauer has at the same time continued to explore the cutting edge of concept and design with his JB series instruments, which are not only multi-scale, but actually fully asymmetrical. This not only enhances the performance potential of longer bass/shorter treble strings, but also lends itself to much more attractive ergonomics from the players point of view.
A veteran of many years of Art and Craft festivals, as well as an active member of the San Francisco Bay Area’s NCAL (Northern California Association of Luthiers), Sexauer is also working on a writing project which should soon culminate in abook giving a comprehensive overview of the current Golden Era of American Lutherie as well as Sexauer’s unique and practical approach to the art of the craft.
Bruce Sexauer is currently continuing his cutting edge tradition in his purpose built workshop behind his home in Petaluma, California, USA.
LAWRENCE NYBERG, CANADA
Since 1989 Lawrence has been building fine instruments. Touching on old boundaries in design and forging some new ones, he has made a name for himself as a guitar maker and as a noted mandolin family builder. His Irish Bouzoukis, citterns and Octave-mandolins are known world-wide. His formative experiences were learning the ropes from specialist builder, Michael Dunn and then working for Larrivee guitars. He combines both those respective foundations to forge his own as an artist. Austere lines frame his work and elegant details appoint every design, such as a hand cast bronze tailpiece or signature tiled rosette. Lawrence focuses each instrument towards a balanced and responsive tone. He operates Nyberg Instruments on Hornby Island, B.C.
BIGFOOT GUITARS, INDIA
Born out of a passion for musical instruments, Bigfoot Guitars started as an experiment to repair personal guitars. Once this journey began there was no looking back, from figuring out basic repairs to learning the intricacies of wood working; inadvertently` discovering the joy of working with one's own hands. At the Bigfoot Guitars workshop there is always a buzz :) ( no pun intended), from exploring the tonal characteristics of indigenous woods, to learning new techniques of bracing. We thrive on experimentation, and the heart of our belief is that the soul of an instrument lies in its sound.
So come explore Bigfoot Guitars and be a part of the extended family as we try to leave a small, unique footprint in the world of Lutherie. Spreading the love of playing music, one instrument at a time.
JOI GUITARS, CANADA
A stonemason father and a seamstress mother introduced Reuben Forsland to the rendering of raw materials into finely designed and aesthetically ornate objects. From a treasury of recycled bottles he purchased his first guitar at age nine. After developing the skills of a professional carpenter and furniture maker for fifteen years, Reuben found himself again in a hometown guitar shop considering the instruments that surrounded him. Inspired, He put hand to tool, and JOI Guitars found its inception.
Since then he's discovered the convergence of creativity and craftsmanship with determined imagination. Inlayed with precious metals, stones and shells, not only do the qualities of tone, resonance and differentiation teem from each instrument but the results of process born and bred of something mystical. Each of Reuben's instruments is its own story, each one layered in visceral beauty and mystery, exacted measurements and time-honoured craftsmanship imbued with magic. Exploring the intrinsic qualities of varied woods whether traditional or storied in rarity, it's Reuben's mission to find ever more imaginative ways to reveal the art hidden within the object.
EGAN GUITARS, CANADA
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario, Joe developed an early love for music and quickly picked up the guitar at age 12. As his interest and ability grew, he formed and played in many bands and toured North America in his twenties.
Joe attended a guitar building school out west, where he later taught stringed instrument building and repair, and then branched out on his own to create his own luthier business, Egan Custom Guitars.
His time spent teaching the art of lutherie to students from all over the world helped him fine tune is skills as a builder and define his own style of instruments. Joe is comfortable creating unique instruments that suit the players personality and style, and enjoys collaborating with players to create a one-of-a-kind instrument.
MACPHERSON GUITARS, CANADA
After 20 years as a professional Luthier, making custom instruments and working as a “ghost builder” for many other Luthiers and guitar brand owners throughout Europe, Dan MacPherson decided it was time to launch his own range of guitars. Introduced as ‘MacPherson Guitars’ in 2010 these instruments underline Dan’s reputation for producing optimum, high-quality, hand-made instruments. Offering a selection of models, the current range of production instruments should appeal to every player and style. MacPherson Guitars also offers a true custom service where you can have your unique handmade instrument crafted to your own design specifications.
MacPherson Guitars relocated to Penticton, British Columbia in May 2016 where the business as usual has resumed.
DONTCHO IVANOV, CANADA
Dontcho Ivanov began studying classical guitar at the age of 14 in Bulgaria and has since devoted his life to music. After a three-year stay in France, where he continued to perfect his art, he came to Montreal, Canada to complete his BA in classical guitar interpretation at UQAM.
His passion for the guitar and his continuous curiosity about how the instrument is built naturally led him to the world of lutherie. In 2010 he enrolled in the Guitar Bruand School, where 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 2013, Dontcho Ivanov received the first prize of excellence from Bruand, and was chosen to represent the school at the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in California. He has since exhibited his work at the Ottawa Guitar Show, the SBAIC and the Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin. His instruments show a remarkably high quality of acoustic response and craftsmanship.
KAUER GUITARS, USA
Our instruments are designed and hand-built by Doug Kauer in our own shop in Sacramento,CA. We mix traditional building techniques materials along with modern technology to create unique and great sounding guitars. To satisfy our own pursuit for tone led to the development of our own hand-wound pickups. We strive to build beautiful instruments, but we recognize that musical instruments are ultimately tools – so in addition to having unequaled looks and sound, Kauer guitars are extraordinarily comfortable and easy to play.
MILLIMETRIC INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
Millimetric Instruments offers hand-made, moder, custom guitars with original shapes and designs. Florian, Millimetrics founder, is a self-taught guitar maker based in Montréal, Québec. He graduated from École d'ébénisterie d'art de Montréal in 2011 and his inspiration is deeply rooted in industrial design, architecture and Scandinavian furniture design. He takes great pride in creating simple and efficient products ranging from guitars to basses using sustainable Canadian Maple and Walnut tone woods, milk paints and Livos oil finishes.
JOEL BARBEAU, Canada
I aim to build guitars that meet the requirements of the modern performing musician, while keeping a tradition esthetic and a dynamically rich, colourful sound.
Each guitar receives my full attention at every step of the building process. From the selection and resawing of the rough lumber to the final set-up, my priority is the quality of the final product. Largely inspired by the body outline of the guitars built by the great spanish luthiers Jose Luiso Romanillos and Antonio de Torres, I have derrived my own shape. Every rosette tile, every binding and every purfling is meticulously made in the shop, by me. These decorative elements are made entirely out of naturally coloured wood, no dye is used.
THEO KAZOURIAN, CANADA
"I still remember hanging around my grandfather's workshop, browsing old tools or small boxes containing pieces of all kinds, feeling the smell of dust or oil fell to the ground. Handyman and manual since childhood, I also discovered the arts by my parents. Being French-Armenian has given me a lot since these two cultures are rich in history.
I have found in guitar making this mix of both worlds, technology applied to art, demanding a rational mind and increased sensitivity, both in the service of creation. I design and build my guitars carefully and thoroughly. From precise calculation, drawings and gestures, my instruments are both performance tools and unique pieces of art.
I was born in France in 1984. I've arrived in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) in 2011, shortly after I began a guitar making course at the Bruand school and integrate the luthiers collective "l'Atelier de la Corde" where I pursue a cooperative approach. My art of building is enriched by restorations and number of repairs that allow me to feed my knowledge and experience.
Graduated with distinction, I continue to build high-end guitars in Montreal."
D'ANGELICO GUITARS, USA
D’Angelico Guitars is on the move, from their tiny shop in Little Italy to a sprawling showroom in midtown Manhattan. We continue to produce exceptional guitars that uphold the legacy of John D’Angelico. Our lines, featuring both reissues and new semi-hollow designs of all sizes, are defined by their remarkable quality and tone. At D’Angelico, we maintain our legend by guaranteeing the utmost quality instruments made with the utmost passion.
The Excel DC is a modern classic. With deep, comfortable cutaways, a 16-inch-wide body, and a slim C-shape neck profile, the DC's playability is remarkable. Its warm Kent Armstrong humbuckers offer pristine clean tones, and its full center block fights off feedback at high volumes. The DC boasts an impressive tonal range, from enveloping low-end to crisp high-end. Now available with the Stairstep tailpiece or traditional stop-bar tailpiece.
COLOMA GUITARS, CANADA
Vancouver Guitar Maker Meredith Coloma is recognized as one of the leading next generation guitar builders in the world. She studied in New York with renowned electric builder Roger Sadowsky (guitars for Springsteen, Keith Richards and Jim Hall) and had the rare opportunity to apprentice with master acoustic builder Michael Dunn in Vancouver. She currently runs a successful business handcrafting custom guitars and teaching guitar building at her Vancouver Guitar Building Workshop.
POTVIN GUITARS, CANADA
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.
BEARDSELL GUITARS, CANADA
Whether it's a hand-crafted individually cast tail piece, hand-wound pick up, side ports with sliding doors, or multi-scale fan frets, every Beardsell is unique.
"It's hard to find the words. Yes, it's a work of art. The wood, the detail, the finish, all gorgeous. The asymmetrical neck section is super comfortable; plays like a dream, very comfortable. It's light weight and resonant and the sound is orchestral."
- Michael Forbes, musician and owner of a custom Beardsell guitar
SAUMIER STRINGED INSTRUMENTS, CANADA
Luthier Marc Saumier has been building guitars since 1995 using almost exclusively sustainable locally sourced wood.
Cherry, maple, butternut, hophornbeam and spruce are used to create guitars, basses and upright basses that while maintaning a
traditionnal look, incorporate innovative building techniques wich
makes them well suited to fullfill the musician's needs.
Sober in appearance, their aesthetics reflect the natural beauty of the wood. He will be presenting a Dreadnought, a multiple scale Small Jumbo, an Archtop and a Nylon string Guitar.
HEIDI LITKE, CANADA
Heidi Litke has been building instruments since 2007. She was the co-owner of The Bean Sprout Banjo Ukulele Company for three years. In 2010, Heidi had an amazing opportunity to study with luthier Robbie O’Brien of O’Brien Guitars. There she learned the art of building classical guitars, ukuleles and the French polish technique. In the spring of 2012, she then studied with luthier Edward Dick of Victor Guitars, learning basic repair methods and also auditing a steel string guitar class.
Red Sands Ukuleles is located in the heart of the Maritimes, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Heidi's path has taken her in a direction of building instruments with sustainable materials that can be gathered locally, thereby reducing the impact on our precious environment. Her ukuleles and classical guitars are handcrafted using maple, birch and spruce.
Heidi enjoys playing celtic, baroque and classical music on her ukulele. It is a fun and exciting little instrument that will put a smile on anyone's face. Uke can change the world, one uke at a time.
Heidi and Robbie O’Brien have just completed filming an online ukulele building course due to be released in the fall of 2017. It can be found at www.obrienguitars.com/courses/. She is also presently working on detailed ukulele plans and an instructional book.
WARREN MURFITT, CANADA
Warren Murfitt was born in British Columbia and studied sculpture at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design. He has exhibited both nationally and internationally and has worked in the Crown Collection of Canada. He lives and works in Vancouver.
"I am a musician with a passion for anything in wood, building and playing the guitar.
I have worked as a treeplanter, carpenter, cabinet builder , artist and musician. What started out as a desire to build one tiny little Parlor guitar in the back room of my studio workshop, quickly took over my whole space, not to mention my life. Guitar parts and sawdust everywhere, washed down with a good dose of country music. I’m in heaven!
Brancusi and George Jones have been my inspiration.
I am a minimalist by nature and like tight, clean lines. No fancy inlays here but rather choice detailing designed to compliment the instrument and speak directly to its new owner.
I love to use reclaimed wood that I have salvaged locally. My new line of telecaster guitars, for example, are made from one piece of ancient reclaimed Douglas Fir. No glue line to deal with, just tone and old age.
I do like a good story and I value new client input into their instrument. Guitars should not only play a great tune, but tell a great story."
SIGURDSON GUITARS, CANADA
Not being able to afford his own electric guitars, Jeff Sigurdson built a few of his own in 1985. By the late 1980s, he completed a 2-year course at Douglas College on traditional, Spanish guitar building techniques. His journey had begun!
Jeff studied with Michael Dunn (now retired), who studied with Casa Ferrer. Casa Ferrer's history of lutherie goes back to 1875 in Granada, Spain. After seeing a Dunn-made copy of a 1939 Hauser guitar, he fell in love with the shape and focused strictly on classical guitar building for four years. At that time, he was asked to build a flamenco guitar and has built both flamenco and classical guitars steadily ever since.
From 1992 to 2000, he worked with Jean Larrivée bracing guitar tops and hand-fitting neck-to-body dovetail joints. Jean studied with Edgar Mönch, who learned his craft from Marcelo Barbero, the great apprentice of Manuel Ramírez. Jeff is unique in the world of Spanish guitar in that his heritage is the result of two prominent lineages of the Spanish guitar-building tradition.
In 1998, Jeff co-founded the Legend Guitar Company, which made limited productions of handmade, high-end steel string guitars. Although this business arrangement was short-lived, Legend guitars have earned a reputation of excellence that has lasted to this very day.
Due to its effect on guitar tone, and its health effects, as of 2011 Jeff has abandoned the use of spray lacquers on all guitars and now French polishes every instrument that he builds. Currently, his focus is on building steel-string guitars that are inspired by the most sought after pre-war Martins; solid top classical guitars in the styles of Hermann Hauser, José Romanillos, and Daniel Friederich; composite-top guitars in the style of Matthias Dammann and Gernot Wagner; flamenco guitars that are heavily inspired by the work of Manuel Reyes; Dyer-style harp guitars; and student models of various guitars.
To date, Jeff has built several hundred guitars in his career, and feels that his current instruments are by far his best creations to date. Jeff would like to thank all of his family, friends, and customers for their continued support, he could not have achieved any of this were it not for them.
LAUGHLIN GUITARS, CANADA
Bob Laughlin is a self-taught Vancouver luthier building a variety of acoustic stringed instruments since 1977. Bob's an enthusiastic supporter of the Guild of American Luthiers and attended their 2nd convention in the late 70's as well as a dozen or so subsequent ones. He attended the first Healdsburg Guitar Festival in 1996 and exhibited there in later years.
The early focus was on steel-string acoustic guitars and more recently on archtop mandolin-family instruments. Locally sourced BC woods such as Big Leaf maple, Yellow cedar, and Sitka spruce are used as much as possible.
ANDREW NEZIL, CANADA
Andy Nezil learned classical and acoustic guitar construction from luthier Michael Dunn and apprenticed at the Larrivee guitar factory in North Vancouver, B.C. Nezil has specialized in the building of custom New York style archtop guitars since 2006.
“I was a musician long before I was a builder and have strong opinions about how a good jazz guitar should sound and feel. It’s about tone, timbre and ergonomics. I strive for perfection. All my instruments are hand carved and built by me. No robots, no carving machines, no plywood, no plastic. I use the finest British Columbian spruce and figured maple for my guitar bodies, figured sugar maple necks, all wood bindings and purflings (including f-hole bindings). Gabon ebony fingerboard wood, tailpiece wood, finger rests, etc.”
DION GUITARS, CANADA
Dion Guitars is a one-man operation specializing in hand-crafted acoustic guitars.
While the freedom of independent craftsmanship 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.
NORTHWOOD GUITARS, CANADA
John McQuarrie's love of guitars began in the 1970's when he began taking Royal Conservatory lessons. This early instruction led to rock bands and his first electric builds in high school woodshop class in the 1980's. After a seven-year tenure with Jean Larrivee, John branched out on his own in the mid 90's and began Northwood Guitars in the Vancouver area. With a growing family, John moved the operation to Sorrento in British Columbia's Shuswap region in 2006, where he continues to build world class instruments.