Saturday, November 28, 2009

Davide Garbujo Chats with Custom Guitar Boutique

Italian Artisan Davide Garbujo has it all. Excellent work ethic, flawless woodworking technique, his own proprietary pickups and the largest guitar building workshop in all of Italy.

Yet with all of his great accomplishments he is the nicest, most modest Luthier we've come into contact with.

At a recent viewing of his guitars in NYC, Jazz sensation Mike Moreno said:, I wish I had a guitar like this when I was playing with Joshua Redman, I can't believe how effortlessly the sound comes out of these pickups without even trying.

NYC Jazz Composer/Vocalist Guitarist
Joe Giglio told me: It's really nice to play in the upper registers, your hand fits right in....btw, can I buy some of davide's pickups? These things are Warm as.....(I"m sure you know what he meant.)

There is so much happening for 2010, Davide will unveil a few new project's he's working on that will surely blow us all away, the fuse we currently have can go from, archtop like Jazz tones, to stratty like round tones, to hot rodded shred tones. We are so happy to be working with davide and are greatful he took the time to chat with us.

CGB: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?

Davide: I started playing the piano as a child. I made it into the conservatory and then after 10 years I moved on to keyboards.

Like all teenagers I was a rebel. I absolutely wanted to be a rockstar. One day making room in the garage to play with some friends, I found an old electric guitar that had only 3 strings; I had never played a guitar up to that moment so three strings was plenty for me..

I remained literally bewitched by that Instrument, that’s how it all started.

CGB: What inspired you to become a luthier?

Davide: As a child I saw my father and my grandfather work with wood, this was always and still is a fascinating thing for me.

After a few years of studying the guitar I began to buy guitars of every type, even if my dream was a LP and a strat that naturally I could not afford. I started experimenting with guitars of every type, until one day decided that it was the moment to build the guitar of my dreams with my hands.

I began to harshly work using the tools of my father and the wood tables that I had found thrown on the side of the garage. Since that moment I developed an interest in guitar making, and all the famous luthiers.

One day fate put me in touch with a famous Italian luthier. I began to study and practice in a school laboratory with hopes to open mine.

CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living building guitars?

Davide: I decided to risk everything and try to earn my living doing this full time, it’s very beautiful to immerse yourself in what you love . In the beginning it is indeed hard, but now i'm here!

CGB: Since day one of becoming a luthier, after all the experience through the years what is the fundamental thing you still do today that you did in the beginning?

Davide: A lot of things have changed since the beginning. I mainly worked in a garage doing repairs for friends and acquaintances, then the voice of reason finally arrived pushing me to get organized and open my own workshop.

I don't work with numerical control machinery, mine is a completely manual job and to build a guitar introduces a different list of problems, in Italy they say that the art of an artisan is that to know him to get by and to always find a solution to the problems.

Today I can count on a woodshop that is organized in an efficient way that allows me to work in a clean and orderly fashion which gives me an advantage for a “high quality product”.

CGB: What is your luthier or guitar building horror story?

Davide: In July I participated as an exhibitor in the Montreal guitar show. I sent the guitars well in advance, to have the certainty that they would have arrived with punctuality.

Me and Igor (Mazzone); the guitarist that shows my guitars, had arrived in Canada but in the hotel they told us that they had not seen any guitar...

I look for the consignment through the website of the company of consignments but the guitars were still in Paris and there were only two days to the beginning of the show.

At the moment I became frozen with anxiety and then panic overcomes me! Naturally i spend the following night without closing eyes thinking to a possible solution. The following morning the organizers of the Show contacted me and they tell me that the guitars are found in customs but they don't know if and when they will be released...what an anguish!

In the afternoon, I was contacted a few times by a customs agent who told me that he will deliver the guitars himself.

The following morning we went to the venue; all the other luthiers had already prepared their instruments and the show was about to open to the public, and I still don't have the guitars.

At exactly a quarter before the beginning it sprouts from the void Fernando, a boy of the customs that tells me with the smile: "...are you Garbujo? Perhaps these are your guitars!"

The only thing that I have been able to say : ".... I love you!"

CGB: How different are things today as far as luthery and the industry goes from when you first started building, any significant changes?

Davide: I believe that the industry and the luthery cannot be compared. The numbers of the industry are gigantic, a luthier is an artist, is able to a relatively low number of instruments, to advantage of the quality', surely.

Today's industry offers products of Asian mass production with advantageous prices, giving the opportunity to everybody to have an instrument.

For the one who looks for something unique and personalized, a instrument without time, created completely by hand in small numbers, an instrument to be collected and hardly built with the best materials the luthier will be' always the figure of reference.

A guitar of luthery is like a painting, a piece of art to jealously preserve and to taste with the soul, as a glass of good wine of year is tasted!

CGB: Have you ever had to deal with a customer who knew for sure they wanted a guitar from you, and then when you asked them what they were looking for, had the slightest clue about why they wanted one of your guitars? How did you deal with it?

Davide: Over that for the finishes, details, design and the aesthetics my clients love the dynamics of my sound, the warmth, the expression.

I try to create a personal sound, that doesn't imitate other guitars, but how tipsy of proper light.

I always succeed in understanding what a client wants, for me clients are special and I absolutely have to satisfy them.

When a client orders a guitar from me they know they will receive exactly the guitar they had in mind when they initially walked into my shop. This is the reputation I have acquired after years of working closely with my customers.

CGB: Do you have any favorite woods as far as sound and ease of use? For example I know cocobolo is very dense and can be a challenge to carve by hand.

Davide: I primarily use mahogany and ash for the bodies and maple for top and necks.

the maple quilted is the wood that I prefer for my tops, expect to see the range in 2010, it will be very rich.

CGB: What would you say to up and coming builders who are just starting out?

Davide: My suggestion would be to get a good teacher to learn from immediately so you can make things in the correct way.

Experimenting alone is a waist of a lot of precious time and money, if there is someone that makes you see the things in the correct way you’ll learn allot beforehand!

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Luthier?

Davide: There are so many the luthiers that I esteem, a name doesn't come particularly to mind but If I had to recommend someone from Europe, I would say without a doubt Frank Hartung and Nik Huber and my teacher, Mr.Frudua.

Garbujo guitars may be purchased via: Come pay us a visit. currently has one of Davide's Fuse guitars to help our customers decide if they would like to purchase one. If you are in the NYC Area and would like to test drive it please contact us to schedule an appointment.

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