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August 8, 2007

On Owning a Larrivée Guitar

The UPS truck came by today to drop off a large box. Inside it was a hand-made Larrivée guitar. More specifically, the OMV-03RE, a grand concert with venetian cutaway. Very, very excited to have this guitar. It is no longer made, but the specs for the LV-03RE are similar.

How It Happened

Skipping back..for the past several years I've been wanting a second, small-body acoustic guitar to juxtapose against my huge Guild JF30 jumbo. I've looked at many guitars, and played a few, but it never was quite the right guitar or the right time.

A few weeks ago I was in Portland, Oregon, where the Tri-met train drove past the Apple Music Row acoustic guitar shop every morning and afternoon. One day I stopped in and found some very nice folks who were very knowledgeable and helpful (ask for Chuck, he's the most friendly, knowledgable, and approachable guy I've ever encountered in a music store). After some discussion I spent a litte time in a sound room playing the Larrivée grand concert cutaway and really, really enjoyed it.

I loved playing the guitar, but I just wasn't sure. After more conversation with the folks there I left the guitar shop with a business card, and spent the rest of our time in Portland boring Heidi with details about the experience. On the night we left Portland I realized that I really didn't want to go home without the guitar, but it was too late. I was a little worried, there was a limited number of these grand concert cutaways made. I emailed at my first chance, and with a follow-up phone call the guitar was on the way to Boston.

Why Larrivée

First, and most important, I love playing this guitar. I really like the tone of it and find the size a very nice break from the huge body of my Guild jumbo. It is hard to put down.

Second, I've been listening to other folks play these guitars for years. Some of my favorite folk artists (David Wilcox, John Gorka, Christine Lavin, Bruce Cockburn) have spent some chunk of their musical careers (songwriting, touring, recording, etc) with a Larrivée as their preferred guitar. I like this idea, of playing a guitar that I hear regularly in recordings from other folks.

Third, Jean Larrivée is a fantastic guitar maker. He still goes out and hand picks the timber used in making these guitars (doesn't rely on a third-party supplier for pre-cut wood). His building techniques are his own, and have been honed over the years by what he thinks makes a good guitar, not by what other guitar makers are doing.

If you have a few minutes, the video, I Build Guitars, is a nice look at Jean talking about the process showing some of their facilities in Vancouver, BC, the shop where my guitar was made.

Posted by mike at August 8, 2007 11:42 PM