acoustic guitars

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Seagull is a Canadian company and sub-brand of Godin Guitars that produces acoustic guitars. Born out of La Patrie, a small village in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, this company hand crafts acoustic guitars targeted towards working musicians. Established in 1982 by Robert Godin and a few of his friends, this company specializes in making acoustic guitars with solid tops as opposed to laminated tops.

Seagull guitars use a distinctive and recognizable headstock which places the tuning machines roughly in line with the nut to improve tuning stability. Most models are available with either the Godin Quantum I electronics (featuring an under saddle transducer) or the Godin Quantum II electronics (with both a transducer and small microphone which can be blended together).


Northwood guitars are handmade in Canada by John McQuarrie. While at school John studied classical guitar with the Royal Conservatory of Music. He made his first guitar as a high school wood shop project. John continued building and repairing instruments throughout high school and was hired by Jean Larrivee in the 1980's. This job lasted seven years and provided valuable experience building both electric and acoustic guitars. John left Larrivee in 1994 and began Northwood Guitars in Langley, B.C.. He continued to build and repair guitars and other instruments and began attending trade shows worldwide to promote his product. He now has a loyal dealer network in locations around the world. In 2006, John and his family moved from Langley to the small hamlet of Sorrento, in the British Columbia interior. He is also the on-site luthier at The Nimblefingers Bluegrass Festival held every August in Sorrento.

Laskin (William)

William Laskin has been making guitars since 1971 and worked for a while with Jean Larrivée in the 1970s. Laskin is an innovator in acoustic guitar design - he originated the built-in armrest and ribrest edge beveling. He also co-developed the sideport soundhole. His steel-string, classical and flamenco guitars are known and coveted around the world. Laskin is also a master of inlays and sometimes uses his guitars as canvases for engraved inlay art. His years of craftsmanship have been recognised with both the Order Of Canada (in 2012) and the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence (in 1997).

Source: Laskin website (5 December 2017)


Jean Larrivée started out as an apprentice to classical guitar maker Edgar Munch Junior in Toronto in 1967. In 1970 Larrivée aquired a workshop above the Tarragon Theater and began making steel stringed acoustic guitars. He developed an X-bracing system still used today. Larrivée's business grew steadily, which meant several changes of location.  Many talented luthiers spent time working for Larrivée in the 1970s, including: William "Grit" Laskin, Linda Manzer, Sergei de Jong, David Wren and Tony Duggan-Smith. In 1977, seeking a warmer climate, Larrivée moved the business to Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC.


Peter Hopkins first became interested in carved archtop instruments back in 1973 when his father built a Gibson A-5 mandolin. He was in awe of the process of carving a solid piece of wood into an instrument of sublime beauty. Peter continues to impart that reverence for the creative process into each one of his hand-crafted archtop guitars.

Source: Hopkins Guitars website


Michael Heiden began making instruments in Vancouver, British Columbia in the 1970's. He developed a reputation as a skilled repairer and restorer and he used his experience of working on fine vintage instruments to create his own line of guitars and mandolins. Heiden found most of his time was devoted to building mandolins as they became very popular. Recently he has taken a renewed interest in building guitars again and offers acoustic, archtop and Selmer-style Gypsy Jazz guitars.

Source: Heiden Instruments website


Garrison is a Canadian based company, whose innovative ideas concerning acoustic guitar design started as a rough sketch on an airline napkin. For founder Chris Griffiths it was the product of an interest in guitars that started when he was just 12. By the time he was 17 he was working as a guitar repairman at his local guitar shop - but after a while found himself unemployed.

At 19 he started his own company in  St. John’s Newfoundland - Griffiths’ Guitar Works - with a simple but effective ethos, building custom guitars at budget prices. It paid off, and now Griffiths’ Guitar Works is one of the largest custom guitar stores in Atlantic, Canada.


Maton was established in 1946 by Bill May, a Melbourne-born jazz musician, woodwork teacher and luthier. Maton opened their first factory Canterbury, Melbourne, in 1949 and in the following years more than 300 different models made there. In 1990 Maton relocated to a bigger and more modern factory in Bayswater, Melbourne. 2002 saw another move to Box Hill, Melbourne to an even bigger factory to satisfy the growing demand for Maton guitars.

Source: Maton Guitars website (24 February 2018)


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