Instruments

Over the years I have built a wide range of guitars and other instruments. The instruments shown here represent my favourite designs and most regularly commissioned models.

My philosophy of building has been shaped to a large extent by a respect of tradition coupled with a desire to build upon it. This may sound contradictory to some but it is an idea that can always be found in the greatest designs that stand the test of time.

One of the best examples of this idea is the Lloyd Loar designed mandolin. Distinctive and elegant, it has a genius to its shape and form that is a blending of the violin tradition with a bold and contemporary new direction.
When a design comes along like this, I see no need to change it for the sake of change and it is still one of my favourite instruments to build.

However, I have built a 10 string version and I constantly assess and modify what is under the top to tease out the finest tone possible.
For it is with the tone that I am most preoccupied, in whatever instrument I build.

One of the more obvious areas of departure from tradition is my use of non-traditional tonewoods, especially my use of New Zealand native timbers. Rare, unique and beautiful, they are timbers that I have acquired over twenty years of building and it is a delight to showcase them in my instruments. The most often asked question regarding these woods is "How do they sound?", but that is not the right question. The correct question is not about the isolated tone of the wood components but the tone of the finished instrument, and that is more than the sum of all the individual tonewoods.

Simon Fox performs Shallow Sea on his Williams Tui Model

In the end, it is the sound of the instrument itself that is the only important question worth asking, and one that is best left for others to answer....

"Thank you 1000000000000 for involving me in your amazing work. But the guitar.......oh my god....... I simply loved it. There is no better guitar on earth in my experience. I am really quite haunted by it. I miss it, though I played it less than 3 hours. Never felt anything quite like this about a guitar. Haunted.......... You are a magic man Laurie.. Thanks again. I hope our paths will cross and merge in the future. Un abrazo. m"

Michael Chapdelaine, Professor of Music UNM Music Department
http://www.michaelchapdelaine.com

Guitar
Steel string and classical models
Mandolin
Mandolins in the Lloyd Loar tradition
Ukulele
My Hihi models are tenor ukulele in two styles