" You know I think so highly of you and your stunning, inventive, impossible work.  Truly, it’s a special gift to have you in the profession..."
"- Ken Parker,
May 2021
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Progression & Framework -

My name is Thierry André and I am passionate about the guitar. I am particularly interested in human desire seeking expression, whether through voice, sound, tones, shapes or colors - Art and music are of the same energy, and I open-up to all these unspeakable beauties of life in my daily work ; I highlight them as best I can, all delivered in the following category: products / musical instruments / guitars - handmade with passion.

If you want to know a little more about my experience as a luthier, how I came to make my guitars as they are today...And what's coming-up next...This page is for you!

1992 - 

I learned the basics and subtleties of guitar making from '92 to '97 under the direction of André Brunet, a passionate individual and skillful teacher. I owe him a lot ; He had a keen eye, a good sens of humour, and a clever way of saying that the work can always be better. I recall him telling his students ; -You can do this. Go! For the teenager that I was at that time, this meant everything. 

Thierry André at work-workshop image for Andre Instruments

1998 - 

First working for musicians and establishing my workshop in the cosmopolitan city of Montreal, I naturally came into contact with a wide variety of string instruments from various parts of the world - Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and the United States:

-My repair work & study of these ancestral instruments, which lie at the source of traditional stringed-instrument making, are what led me to imagine new forms for the guitar, and (much) later develop my very own expressive language in my guitar making craft. 

 

As I got initiated by clients to -world-, jazz, and classical music, all these different sounds influenced me. As I kept close to the general outline of the guitar for some time... I inevitably explored my then genuine interest for the origins of the guitar

 

Making a lute, and later a series of chordophones in the exploratory mode, opened my understanding of the guitar itself.

2005 - 
I wanted to understand more... So in 2005 I traveled to Santa Cruz CA, to meet and study with my second teacher, luthier Fred Carlson:

-I had produced enough work to be awarded an artist grant from the
Conseil de Arts et des Lettres du Québec, making possible this apprenticeship with Fred. He shared with me his take on guitar design, and how it was -OK- to take the time needed to fully cover this singular aspect of instrument making.


Back in Montreal, I stayed close to Fred's experimental approach, and I made a total of 57 round body instruments which taught me a lot about the possibilities of sound, form, ergonomics, and alternative materials like skins, carbon fibre & composites.

These -small instruments- I could also make affordable to the locals and studio musicians ; For some, I would take their commission on Monday, and deliver the instrument by the next weekend! This was an intense, high-speed apprenticeship with tone, shapes & materials, that punctuated my guitar making and repair practice.

I was quietly returning to the acoustic guitar format with my creations, and I obtained good sonic results with the ladder-braced Guitar-fruit series, in late-2008:

Guitare-fruit w/sitar
Guitare-Fruit - folk
2009 
In 2009 was the important guitar show in my Montreal hometown ; I decided for the occasion to merge some of the ladder-bracing qualities I had just worked-out on Guitare-Fruit, into a 17'' jumbo more standard-shaped
acoustic guitar titled Sakura.

Being part of an international guitar show was a thrilling and key experience. I was able to learn from others and know better where to go in my work.
Sakura-acoustic guitar-Thierry Andre Instruments
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Sakura - A return to guitar-size, in a more traditionally shaped steel-string guitar, featuring an intermixed x-bracing & ladder bracing. 

-Sakura in Japanese means cherry blossoms, referring to the American black cherry tree chosen to compose its sound box.

Neck is Honduran mahogany, while side-port vent & binding details are ebony with dyed Sycomore accents. 

2011 

This is when I decided to truly unify my production, and let go of the -smaller- instrument idea, giving myself the chance to work fully my creation's characteristics as full-scale guitars in the future:

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This decision will have paved the way for the realization of more ambitious 3D oriented works, such as my study on the extended body instrument made of composite, entitled Po in 2008, and the round body steel-string acoustic guitar Oudtar in 2011.

The latter, referring to the Oud (the Arabic lute), will have prepared me for the realization of Oud Masmoudi in 2013.

These three combined instruments will have taught me more about working with 3D forms and mould-based shell assemblies:
2013 

I then pursued exhibiting my work more and more at the international Guitar Shows.

 

Meeting with my luthier peers from Canada, the United States and Germany, will have given me valuable feedback on my craft.

 

This will have put my instruments in context, and as part of a larger collective vision and creative movement:

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Shai Sebbag with Oudtar 2-Holy Grail guitar show 2014, Estre Berlin, Gemany
Guitarist Shai Sebbag with my Oudtar-2 guitar (right), exhibited at Estrel - Berlin in 2014 as part of the first edition of The Holy Grail guitar show.
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Guitarist Emil Petrov with Multi
Photo: courtesy of Lars Mullen.
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Main exhibition hall at Estrel-Berlin, HGGS 2016
Photo: courtesy Deimel Guitarworks
Receiving comments from international players was equally influential. From 2014 to 2018 I thus experimented more on the instrument's size and register:
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Guitars, harp-guitars and basses (below) such as MultiMaya, Multi 2, Maya 2Maya 3, Raga-guitar, Old-School archtop, and Guitar-Fruit Wurcer, all have in common a quest for acoustic expression, while exploring the adapted merging of acoustic and electric guitars.

2019 - 2021

The coming of Sun, Moon, and Vibrations in 2019, and that of the Clara archtop in 2020, is in-line with this movement initiated, to create works that are expressive in both form and function, and which maintain historical relevance through their sound and ergonomics.

"Thierry André is a unique talent in the guitar world whose work has baffled, intimidated and inspired me since I first met him. - Each Andre guitar is a sculpture, a piece of fine art to be enjoyed amongst the works of Giacommeti, Kandinsky and other pioneers.

 

I have enjoyed collaborating with Thierry on the design of the Clara archtop which took us both to new places!"
- Michael Watts, July 2021

Sun, Moon, and Vibrations is a blown-up version of my early round-back creations, and intermixes both contemporary guitar making with primitive lutherie techniques : - Its Poplar soundbox is carved-out from solid wood, in a fashion reminiscent of some old-world instruments like the Tar, the Sarod or the Pipa. - 2019
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The Clara archtop is a traditional x-braced 16.5" archtop guitar. It features a neck humbucker that is suspended from the inside of the guitar, attached to its neck block. Its controls are also set into the tailpiece, giving priority to its acoustic function and structural integrity. - 2020

2022 -

 

Currently in progress is the experimental & expressive piece Echoes of Time. This is a baritone scale harp guitar, seen primarily from an intuitive angle, appealing to primal memories and to the notion of artifact: 

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Echoes of Time is truly a study on the possible expressive nature of the musical instrument. Playing on the fine line between expressiveness and function, its making process is for the occasion reversed from my usual:

- I respected in every detail a small naive sketch that I made for it, before finding ways to build it for real.

I thus invested time in covering every details of this build, so it becomes an acoustically responsive instrument.
Such project is fun as it sometimes can bring unsuspected technical ideas to the table, that would not come about from a more standard work process. I will keep you posted on this one!
Summer and fall 2022 -
This year will also see many fascinating projects take form, namely the re-visit of my works Oudtar and Raga, which I will do my best to merge into an even better, redesigned and more ergonomic round-body acoustic steel-string guitar.

Also, the harp-guitar
Multi3 will be taking shape, along with a few electric hollow-body instruments, both guitars and bass.

 
2024 -
I am currently in the planning phase for my 2023-24 guitar builds. Contact me for further details.

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