Oh yeah yeah !
With my artistic interpretation of a technical and traditional craft, I do my best to transgress the preconceived aspects linked to the utilitarian object that is the guitar, to reveal more of its plastic and expressive qualities, while granting great care to its ergonomics and functional dimensions.
The idea of vibration is central to my practice; firstly expressed in the acoustic rendering of my work, it is also expressed in the way I approach the wood material that I use. If the tree itself is silent, meditative, it is no less expressive.
-There is nothing more talkative than a tree, when it is tamed. (Le Clézio)
This question is each time a starting point for me: how to transmit what wood reveals in itself? How can the sensory and vibratory impression left in my mind by this material guide me and be transposed within the object?
The materials are for me adventurous guides who constantly influence my composition. On paper, the lines are placed intuitively at first, like fuzzy landmarks present on all its surface... leaving traces here and there, progressively defining the outline line of the guitar.
The final piece keeps in memory the sum of all these impressions left inside or outside its template: Thus, multiple visual links are created under the eye, giving way to a very personal sensation of the dynamic movement emanating from the instrument.
If wood, sound and music are an integral part of my work as a luthier, my creative passion is fueled by the idea that the instruments I create can transcend different materials towards this brand new object, expressive as much in terms of form and function.
Moreover, the work must be captivating in terms of sound. When this is done, then all of its aesthetic value is supported and enhanced.
You seem to build all sorts of instrument; - What is your speciality ?
The guitar is my main focus and the only instrument I currently make, in all its forms, either bass guitar or harp-guitar or guitar. I work both steel strings and nylons. I have repaired and worked on many historic stringed instruments such as classical guitars, lutes, and the Oud, which is at the etymological root of the word luthier, and the ancestor of the modern guitar : The first time that I saw very thin and tall soundboard braces, ... was in these -old world- instruments. What I have found energetic in such ladder-braced (or fan-braced) instruments I do now incorporate sparingly into my steel-string guitar builds. From the proportions of these century-old instruments, there is also much to respect, explore and learn from. I find them quite fascinating!
About my main use of the steel strings ; -Their heavier mass and magnetic nature offer a lot of possibilities. I am often asked to combine acoustics and -electricity- in my builds... My electrics are often designed with acoustics in mind, and my acoustics can display sonic and playability aspects of the electrics. It can be beneficial and creative not to sub-categorize a guitar while in its design stage. Most important are the combined attributes of the final instrument.
Fair enough! Can we meet and / or can I try your instruments before making any commitments ?
Sun, Moon, and Vibrations - in process
In the last years, I have been quite present on the road, participating in most major guitar shows, and offering hands-on experience of my work, while myself benefiting from meeting inspiring individuals and luthier-peers.
That said, with the recent Covid situation we all live, I don't have travel plans a this time :-For the next year, till at least winter NAMM 2022, I don't plan to go on the road with my guitars.
Working from emails has shown very effective for the past 21 years.
I sincerely wish that the current situation resolves, and that you can then come to visit me in Quebec city! Many have come, and its a great city to venture into. I too enjoy one-on-one meetings in the workshop. I will show you my current works, drawings, inspirations, woods, etc...alongside a trip to the best coffee shop in town or dinner if you have time. Just let me know a little in advance !
May 2-3 2020
The Holy Grail Guitar Show
Final sanding to Multi.
Presented in 2015 at both the Holy Grail guitar show and the Woodstock invitational luthier Showcase.
Previous guitar show presentation: USA @ The Boutique guitar Showcase, New York city 2017
Bass Maya no. 3 ( SOLD ) Featuring salvaged and local woods from Quebec and Canada.
This instruments has been visually aged using an oxydative process using the salts of iron, and features
an arm-rest element as well as a full-contact adjustable bridge. Maya no. 3 is very similar to the original Maya.
Raga-Guitar ( SOLD ) Bowl-Back acoustic guitar, very similar to Oudtar.
This instrument features an additioal set of 6 sympathetic strings, carpathian spruce top with - old world - oxidised finish
Video courtesy of : The boutique guitar
showcase tour 2017 curated by Jamie Gale.
Previous guitar show presentation: Europe @ The Holy Grail Guitar Show , Berlin 2016
This instruments has been built according to the - Local Wood Challenge- criteria,
event to be held during the Berlin HGGS. Maya no. 2 is very similar to the first one.
Multi no. 2 ( SOLD ) Multistring Archtop Guitar model, very similar to the first one :
This instrument will feature the works of pickup maker Lindy Fralin,
as well as a carved poplar back, carved Alska yellow cedar top, and opalescent graphite finish
With guitar maker Frank Hartung, at the Holy-Grail guitar show 2015.
Hollow-body electric guitar - Kouai - before assembly.
Photo: Anne-Marie Amyot
Working on Guitare-Fruit Wurcer. Headstock featuring Indian rosewood, copper, recon stone, alternativ ivory, and steel.
Inside the Raga guitar
Working on Oudtar
How does a project begins ? What would you need to get started ?
An impression, an imprint (or hint) of who you are, or what you desire.
Often, one email is enough:
-It can relate to an album, to a guitar model, a guitarist's personal tone, the tonal aspect of another instrument or a sound you imagine, a book you read, a painter you like, a story you have for me, etc.
-It can be inspirational, or be specific and driven by musical needs.
1-For a very specific example, see the current drawing to -Firmie-, a 33 string harp guitar I designed recently! This is as specific and as player oriented as it can be. More to come on Firmie !
2-For an inspirational example, see how -Guitare-fruit Wurcer- turned out, mid-build, from the client's email suggestion:
I hope you are doing well. Not sure how far along you are in the build, but if it’s not too late to try out some ideas for inlays or other decoration, here are some possibilities, staying with the Egyptian theme. This is from G. Maspero’s History of Egypt, we were very lucky to find a 1st edition in N. Wisconsin some years ago.
I won’t ask you to do anything too complicated at this stage, and if you are already at the finishing step that’s okay. But if you find anything inspiring here and it’s not too late to add some final touches let me know.
3- Last, a short email example, of a suggestion that could be made reality, based on one of my existing models:
- I think that the Maya is one of the most beautiful instruments I've ever seen. The combination of woods, the design, the finish, etc.
My question is can this be made as a six string guitar and what might the time frame and approximate cost be?
Keep up the inspired work it is helping to improve the look and sound of the future.