More than 100 acoustic and 30 electric luthiers were invited to display their wares at the 2011 Montreal Guitar Show, which took place Friday July 1 through Sunday July 3, coinciding with the Montreal Jazz Festival. In addition to legendary guitar builders such as Linda Manzer, Tom Ribbecke, William Laskin, and Ken Parker, there were lots of extraordinary luthiers who are somewhat less well known in the U.S. Here are ten examples:
Alain Moisan (Canada) builds acoustic, Flamenco, and classical guitars. Shown here are OM, dreadnought, Flamenco, and two classical models (left to right), all featuring Moisan’s gorgeous rosettes.
A team of four luthiers comprise Fibenare (Hungary): The Benedek brothers (Attila, Csaba, and Árpád), and Gábor Goldschmidt. Up front are two Jazz Single-Cut models, one featuring a quilted-maple top (left) and the other an extraordinary one-piece flamed-maple top (right and separate photo). In the rear are an Erotic Junior, a Basic Jazz Single Cut - Rahan I, and a new Single Cut model with a single P-90.
Fernando Bernardo (Brazil) builds acoustic and classical instruments from select and often exotic Brazilian tone woods. Check out the truly exquisite top and rosette on this beautiful Gávea model classical guitar.
Craig Anderson (United States) built this instrument specifically for the Montreal Guitar Show. The soundboard was made from a spruce beam that came from a building constructed in the 1850s, the back is cocobolo, the rosette is spalted maple, and the fretboard inlay is of a maple leaf.
Jean-Pierre Laplante (Ontario, Canada) makes acoustics, solidbody electrics, and archtop electrics. Shown are four archtops in various styles, including The Morning Song (far right), a 17” instrument with a 25” scale, a quilted makore laminate back and sides, laminate spruce top, flamed-maple binding, an East Indian rosewood/flamed-maple laminate neck, a West African ebony fretboard, and a large inlay on the fretboard (see photo).
All of the guitars built by Paul Woolson (United States) feature elegant design touches. This back is particularly dramatic. Read about his unusual design elements—including what he calls "spider bracing"—on his site.
Edward Klein (Canada), who builds classical and acoustic guitars (sometimes out of very unusual materials, including metals), brought the avant-garde Ellipse Negra to the MGS, as well as this very interesting non-linear nylon-string model.
Speaking of metal, James Trussart (United States) is arguably the master of steel guitars—meaning constructed of steel, not played with a steel. He brought a nice selection of instruments of all types and configurations, including these four highly decorated beauties.
Along with several models of his acoustic steel-string guitars, Hubert Soumis-Pilon (Canada) displayed the 21-string Saradip harp guitar, a tribute to luthier Friedrich Schenck.
Gilles Pourtoy (France) is renowned for his acoustic, classical, and archtop guitars—but at the MGS he also showed this retro-futuristic electric with chicken-head knobs and lots of switches, an unusual custom vibrato system, and star inlays scattered across the fretboard.