At the Holy Grail guitar show 2015 - Estrel Berlin.
Kinloch Nelson with Multi at The Woodstock Invitational Luthier Showcase NY, October 2015. He is such a wonderful individual, and very generous of his time. On that day, he looked at my guitar, and said: - It gonna go fine!
I left the guitar with him for a few minutes... and he asked if I liked George Harrison ? I told him whatever he came-up with for playing Multi will be all right ; ) His version of -Blue Jay Way- was something to witness in person! Thanks Kinloch! The recording below is not perfect but captures the excitement that was shared on that day.
Blue Jay Way (The Beatles song) - Kinloch Nelson
Photos by: Peter Wilson
Workshop view, Mutli back carving in process, 2015
From the first sketches (left) that I did in 2013, it took literally a years for the idea
of a -harp guitar- to find its way into a dynamic outline that I was happy with. The more definitive sketch (right) hinted a -twisted body- from its lines, and a slim, compact and ergonomic form.
At first I thought of making the soundbox to Multi from thin wood strips, in a lute-like construction as I did for Oudtar.
I called a luthier friend who I knew had longer wood (longer than guitar size), surely because I had helped him salvage a Poplar tree several years prior. He makes double-bass backs out of Poplar, and I knew it was now ready to be worked.
Long story short, when I got these impressive Poplar wedges at my workshop, I couldn't cut through them...They felt so complete as they where...and I left them aside for awhile - until I decided to do the illegal thing to do : Go back in instrument-making history, and literally -carve out- my soundbox out of them.
This is how the Multi series was born as a more -sculptural- one.
Below is my first carving complete, a few weeks prior to its presentation at the 2015 Woodstock luthier showcase.
We can hear Multi in a video demo played by Jean-Marc Hébert at the bottom of this page. For those interested, there is also its whole -making of process- sequence, presented in text and pictures on the page Design and Construction.
But first, I'd like to share a sympathetic side note with you, that tells a little more about the whole creative process of the modern day guitar maker : For my own case, Multi is THE instrument that initially got immediate exposure as soon as it was completed. From forming it out of raw materials, finishing it, to presenting it to the public; the sequence all went very fast.
What is striking to the artisan is the contrast between creation context and presentation context. It relates to making and completing the work in solo for many (many) weeks, ...right before exhibiting it to a large public, usually having a travel day in between.
Presenting Multi in 2015, I participated in two back-to-back guitar shows. Here is a first picture set from the Woodstock Invitational luthier showcase :
As you can see...Quite a different atmosphere than being solo in a workshop!
On the right, is Jeff
Doctorow with Multi.
A few days later was the - Holy Grail guitar show - in Berlin. It is worth of mention, as this show was from the beginning put together by the EGB luthiers themselves. The HGGS will be missed for sure by everyone! I had the chance of meeting there some of my peers and see their work, which in all, is a quite a humbling and motivating experience :
Only later I could finally record the instrument before shipping it out. The recording isn't super perfect but the playing is ; )
Jean-Marc Hébert is a guitarist and composer I met in Montreal in 2009. 5 seconds into the conversation and we where talking about Marc Ribot. Bill Frisell, John Abercrombie, composer John Zorn, Mark Feldman and Joey Baron - those guys.
I later went to see Jean-Marc's show, and...I was blown away by his music.
Fast forward a few years later; and the JM7 was created for him, alongside the hollow-body electric guitar Kouai and Guitare-Fruit no.5.
Here is Jean-Marc Hebert playing Multi mostly acoustic.
To hear and see Multi 2, click here.
To see Multi 3 in the fabrication stage, click here.