Ottawa's guitar repair shop



Biography

A Luthier for Ottawa

A life story would probably be useless to you if you're looking for a professional luthier. So I'm simply going to share with you the important facts relating to my story as a Luthier.

By definition, a Luthier is a maker of stringed instruments, and I believe that definition needs to be broadened to making And repairing stringed instruments. They are two seperate diciplines, yes, but they compliment eachother. Being skilled in repair makes you a better builder, and being a skilled builder makes you a lot better at repair.

I became fascinated with guitar making at the age of 17 while Ottawa guitar repair luthier in CEGEP at André Grasset (I'm originally from Quebec, CEGEP is the stepping stone between high school and university in Quebec.). My diploma in applied sciences. The subjects that I studied that directly affected my capabilities as a guitar maker were:

- Biology (3 courses). These classes allowed me to understand the structure of organisms on a microscopic level (wood)

- General Chemistry and Organic chemistry (3 courses). The material covered in these classes went hand in hand with biology, but also helped me understand finishing chemicals and adhesives.

- Physics: Mechanics, electrical and sound. What I was taught in physics is probably what re-enforced my comprehension of musical instruments. Understanding the engineering behind each instrument and hardware component is critical

- Calculus: Calculus is a tool that was necessary to master in order to apply physics and chemistry formulas.

After CEGEP, I went to England to learn Guitar making. Even though I love science, I wanted to follow my passion for the guitar. I took my courses at the Totnes School of Guitar making under the guidance of Phil Messer. Phil was a true inspiration to me and his course structure could not have been better for learning the craft. Our first day started with a large piece of paper where we started our manufacturing drawings. We then proceeded to making our instruments from scratch with hand tools. All the joinery was done by hand, routing done with a router plane. I learned how to make instruments like they did centuries ago.

Upon my return to Canada, I got a job at La lutherie MF in Montreal. I spent 4 years working with who I believe to some of the ultimate luthiers in our country. This is where I discovered instrument repair and restoration. Making a guitar is easy next to repairing a guitar that arrives at the shop in two garbage bags.

I also pursue ongoing education in my field by attending clinics and seminars offered by those regarded as the best. Events like the Northwoods guitar seminar at the Galloup School of Guitar Building, which I attend, offer clinics by some of the worlds most remown builders and repaimen such as Dan Erlewine, Eric Coleman, Linda Manzer, Tom Ribbecke, Roger Sadowsky, Tom Murphy, and many others

The experience gained while repairing more than 6 500 instruments is simply priceless. I worked on all types of stringed instruments from all periods of time and in all sorts of horrible conditions. This has not only developed my skills as a repair Luthier, but also as a builder. Many problems that I have had to solve had to be approached from a builders perspective. When working on unique hand made intruments, thinking like a builder is what makes a repair successful.

I now live in Kanata, Ontario. I work in my sunlit workshop on instruments that need love. Anything can be made better for the musician, anything can be repaired.