mercredi 28 janvier 2015

Pay a tribute... To Japan (2)

Katsushika Hokusai

Hi everyone!

A lot of my friends knows that I am a real fan of japanese art, culture and History. I think that even if my guitars are not really "Japanese-style", I needed to put a little thing from this unbelievable country in my instruments because I really respect it!

The humility and skills of craftsmen from Japan is just a real, hudge and respectable thing, and I try to follow this way in terms of "perfection-search" from the gesture to the result of my work.

Guitarbuilders I'll talk about are probably one of the kindest and Humble people I have the pleasure to talk, and they always are a wonderfull source of inspiration for me!

Michihiro "Michi" Matsuda, "Michihiro Matsuda Guitars":

Michihiro is probably, in my entire and small guitarmaker life, one of the biggest influence for me. I discovered his work when I was at school, and when I searched some great ideas for my third guitar. I found his "official" video on Youtube, and I've been pretty impressed by his philosophy, the precision and the peacefull ambiance of his workshop. His rosettes, the aesthetic way of his guitars and the ideas of this craftsman are totally insane, but in the great way!

Segmented Rosette

His ideas for his "gunpowder guitar", his deconstructed ukulele or his harp-guitar are like, in the first look: "What happened? Why?", but when you take time to think about it, it 's like "ok, the idea is great, the work is perfect and the concept is awesome".

Deconstructed Ukulele
Gunpowder Guitar

Like M.Ervin Somogyi said, "Michi is a true genius".

Ryohei Echizen, "Echizen Guitars"

Ryo has been apprentice at Sergei De Jonge workshop, and I discovered his work on Facebook, like the majority of the work I'll show on this blog. First of all, he is a really cool and talented guy (like everyone I talk about in this article), and the quality of his finish is simply stuning.

He is very open-minded and try a couple of great things on his guitars. The Wedge from Linda Manzer, the elevated fingerboard, rib-rest... but he ally this to old-school vibes, like the french polish for example.


"The Wedge", a Linda Manzer technic

And he have one of the coolest cat I have ever seen, because you know, I love cats ha!

Like we say in Japan "Kawai Neko!"
 Of course, he is afraid by the workshop vacuum, but he looks like to be the perfect friend for every guitarbuilder!

 Keisuke Nishi, "Keystone Guitars"

Kei has been the apprentice of the great luthier Mario Beauregard. His "3D Rosettes" signature is wonderfull, and I love the way he make is joint beetween the neck and the body of his guitars. It is very difficult to do, and he do it perfectly!

He is not afraid to try some different things, like his last guitar... Quatuor spirit! His woods are probably one of the best I've ever seen too, always a shock to discover one of his new project!

The last project: The violin inspiration

Nice guitar heads!

Figured Honduras Mahogany

Ryosuke Kobayashi, "Ryosuke Kobayashi Guitars":

Ryo is the second apprentice of Sergei De Jonge I knew, with his fabulous carved rosettes. He opened his workshop in Japan after his apprenticeship, and his skills are pretty impressive!

What a great Bridge!

3D Head

Carved Rosette

As  you could see, his 3D Rosette and Headstock are pretty cool and it needs pretty good eyes/hands to make it! The entire guitar is really harmonious and there is no mistakes in terms of craftsmanship and color/wood harmony! His French polish is wonderfull too, like all the De Jonge apprentices I know.

What a nice cutaway!

Hiroshi Hirovich Ogino:

Hiroshi is one of the most impressive builder I've ever seen. First, he has been in apprenticeship with The legendary luthier Ervin Somogyi, just after Gustav Fredell. Now, he came back to Japan and built his workshop to create incredible instruments!

The first guitar he built at The Ervin's workshop is in the personnal collection of the master, just think about it... he is a real phenomenom and his carve-skills are just insane... it is probably one of the most impressive thing for me

What a rosette!

Great Shape!

What a lovely Endgraft!

Wenge is one of the best tonewood IMHO

Yuuki Nishihara, "Nishihara guitars":

THE Shop

I love this fingerboard

Yuuki is the last Japanese Builder I discovered, maybe 1 one year ago. Well, right now, I'll sound like an old man who repeat all of his words, but his skills are impressive! He build acoustic guitars, in a modern way in terms of aesthetic, but always with pretty great tastes!

This rosette is freakin Awesome!
Freakin' Brazilian RW set!

Keisuke Fuji, "Fuji Guitars"

Keisuke probably build the most excited rosette I've ever seen. It's a mix beetween classical and acoustic style, I can't imagine the work it is to patiently build the wood patterns and assemble them!

The pattern

The Rosette Nirvana!

 In terms of lutherie, he use pretty great technics like armrests, ribrests, the work is always super-clean... a true model for everyone of us!

What a great back with his ribrest!

Kenji Okumura, "Okumura Guitars":

Kenji is probably one of the coolest guy I know! He live in London (one of my favorite town), where he build great instruments, and repair a lot of old guitars! The great thing with him is that he always ready to talk about Japanese culture and he use a couple of new internet technology like instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. He is open to the world and he share a lot of his repairs and pictures of his current work. He is a incredible inlayman, and it's always a pretty clean work when you take a look to the result, this "Sangoku" is just insane!

His guitar models are really vintage, and it I'm ppretty sure that they sounds better than originals!

What a wonderfull Koa!

J200 style!

I love parlor guitars when I see that one!

Old style Rosettes!

Well, I hope that you discoverd one of these fabulous guitarmakers, and that you'll go to take a look to their insanely work, they deserve it!

Again, if you find some language-mistakes in this blog, I am so sorry for that but I try to do my best everyday to improve my english. Yes, I could write this blog in french but I prefer to open myself to the world and that everyone could understand myself.

Sincerely, Benjamin Paldacci

samedi 27 décembre 2014

Pay a tribute... To Canada (1)

Hi everybody,

It's been a long time that I didn't posted an article on this blog. I try to write something which's great to be read... but I took a little moment to think, and here is the new article.

As guitarmaker, I really think that I've been influenced by a couple of wonderfull builders. Things that I admire everyday and which feeds me intellectually are insanely high in terms of numbers.

All these people are really "open-minded", and I have the luck to talk with them regularly. They really helped me when I have some question or advices to ask to them, and this article is here to pay a tribute, and thanks them for everything they gave to me. I'll never be the guitarmaker I am today if they wasn't here.

I'll try don't forget anyone of them... and for that, I will write each article by country they live. First: Canada!

David Wren, "David Wren Guitars":

David Comes from Toronto, Ontario. When I decided to contact guitarmakers, he was on the first batch because I have seen his work, and I've been really impressed!  He was apprentice at Jean-Claude Larrivée workshop with Linda Manzer (another wonderfull guitarmaker!).He is a great photographer too! He was the first supporter about my work, and all his comments made my day because he is a really humble, talented and cool guy!

Wren Concert, Brazilian & Lutz Spruce

Mario Beauregard, "Beauregard Guitars":

Mario comes from St Antoines Sur Richelieu, near Montreal. He is one of the best guitarmakers in the world. He Curriculum Vitae is impressive (from his website):

In the beginning of the ‘90s, while he was in sales and repairs at Tom Lee music in Vancouver B.C., Mario started guitar building with luthier Robert D’Crivouir. A few years later he moved back to Quebec where he received one of his first grants from “Le Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec”.
The Art council enabled him to attend the Roberto-Venn school of luthery where he met Ervin Somogyi in one of his master classes. He was invited to study with him, which represented a turning point in his career.
During weekdays he would work and study with Ervin Somogyi and during the weekends he would drive up to Taku Sakashta’s shop to learn about archtops. He also went on to work as the designer in the R&D department of Lasido for a period of 4 years.

The first contact I had with him was an email I sent to him when I was at school, about bridge... I was not expected any answer because I knew he was a busy man, but he took time to answer to me, I was really honored about that.

I met him at Chant de Vielles Festival where I exposed my work with Michel Pellerin. He came to see him but he was kindest enough to take a look to my instruments. It probably was one of the most important moment in my life as guitarmaker. His last masterpiece is a Brazilian & Red Cedar Facette Archtop... no words to qualified this one, speachless...

Facette Archtop, Brazilian RW & Red Cedar - Back

Facette Archtop, Brazilian RW & Red Cedar - Face

Michael Greenfield, "Greenfield Guitars":

Everybody knows him, of course, he is THE man who build guitars to Andy McKee. I never had the privilege to meet him or to see his guitars in person, but I am impressed by what I could see in picture, and after little talks I had with him. He is a really cool guy, and the fact he made a rosette who inspired a couple of Guitarmakers included me (the spalted Mapple Rosette), is IMHO a really touchy thing to do. We are very lucky to have him at Quebec state, because he always surprised us with unnatural finish (take a look to the Andy McKee Cameleon guitar), and he have incredible skills!

Mike Kennedy, "Indian Hill Guitar":

Mike is probably my age, which is a great thing to talk with him, but of course he is far far away from me in terms of skills (laugh). I thought he was in the USA but I discovered that He was at Montreal, Canada. So, I asked to him if I could go to see him at his workshop and he gladly accepted. So, I've seen his work and it was like "OK, now my goals are far away than I had before!". He is one of the kindest guy I know, really humble and talented! He was apprentice at Sergei De Jonge Guitars, picked in person by the master. His french polish is particularly impressive, one of the best finish I've seen.

Art Deco Rosette

Sharleen Simmons, "Sharleen Simmons Guitars":

Well, Sharleen is an exception. She comes from Canada, but she came to Sweeden to share a workshop with Gustav Fredell (oh, wait... we'll talk about him later!). She works with Michael Greenfield a couple of months when she came to Montreal, you could understand why his work is so great! Well, I love her approach because she can ally the aesthetic grace to a stong build! The "immaculate-touch" of her guitars is awesome and I really think that she will be one of the best (if it's not done)

Wonderfull Claro Walnut!
What a rosette!

Linda Manzer, "Manzer Guitars":

She is one of the most talented luthier of the world. Like David Wren, she has been apprentice with JC Larrivée. I never talked to her, or met her, but I think she needs to be in this article when we take a look to all she bring to canadian Lutherie. I think about "the Wedge", her archtops or guitars she build to Pat Metheny.

Well, thank you for your time. Next articles will be about American, Japanese and European Builders... I think that it will be pretty long to write them because you know... too many incredible talents around the world, it makes you feel like really tiny, but it really is a true motivation to push you forward!