What a beautiful morning indeed. I set out on my quest for more amazing guitars except this time I head into the interior of B.C. to meet John Mcquarrie from Northwood Guitars and Trevor Kronbauer from Kronbauer guitars. I have been anticipating this trip since I returned home from my Vancouver Island Trip in early January.
It all starts here, on the road with three coffees in my gut, a 4:30am rude awaking and an empty car ready to be loaded with guitars. I pull over to take these photos right before I start my way up the Coquihalla and into the deep world of winter that us Vancouverites are so lucky to be sheltered from.
The skyline opens up into deep hues of pink and white with hints of blue as the guitar mobile aches up the mountain highway. Soon these colours change with the morning sun and the clouds seem to march away leaving nothing but a gorgeous blue sky over pillowy mountain tops. This looks like heaven to me and it kills me to not have my split-board with me to ride some of the powdery chutes calling my name. With seven guitars coming home on this trip, there is no room for winter sports gear, so I try my best to forget about my addiction to snow and dream about guitars.
My first stop is in Sorrento to visit Northwood guitars where John has been building me two very special guitars since early December. John and his dog “Scubby” are very inviting as I stumble out of my car with stiff legs and my early morning hair.
John immediately gives me the tour around his shop and I am very impressed. This man has one amazing work space in and outside the shop. The views from the window are of the Shuswap lake beneath the deep dry mountain ranges of this region. This seems like it could be one of the best spots in the world to spend time crafting instruments and I know John knows this as he guides me around.
John shows me someof the soundboards that he has been tuning and bracing, as well as the backs and sides for future guitars to come. I notice a stunning OOO Brazilian Rosewood set with a hint of natural green amongst the spears in the grain. I now have to seriously consider purchasing this guitar when it is finished because even as it is now I can tell it is going to be a supreme guitar.
After over an hour of chatting with John, I get down to business and I pick up my two new guitars that were just finished:
MJ V 70 Series: Engleman Spruce (Valemount), East Indian Rosewood Back and Sides, Bone Nut and Saddle, Ebony Pins, Venetian Soft Cut-away $3800
MJ 80 Series: Master Grade Engleman Spruce (Valemount), Master Grade East Indian Rosewood Back and Sides, Abalone Rosette, Rosewood Binding SOLD
I carefully add these beauties into my guitar mobile and say my good-byes to John and Scubby and make my way down to Armstrong to meet Trevor Kronbauer for the first time and pick up some more killer guitars.[break][/break][separator][/separator]
I end up taking all the backroads to Armstrong, making me quite late for my next appointment but Trevor is very understanding. It seems I talk too much and drive too slow, so making appointments on trips like this proves to be impossible.
This will be my first time ever playing a Kronbauer guitar and I have to say that this man has built up one hell of a reputation amongst players and collectors alike so I expect the best from his work. So this time instead of taking the tour and chatting about miscellanous interests I let the guitars do the talking and sit right on the floor to give them a play.
These guitars are outstanding. Trevor is not an ex-Larrivee builder so the neck and flow of the guitar is completely different then a lot of local luthiers. You could immediately tell that Trevor trained with local luthier Ted Thompson by looking at all the details and the extremely fine craftsmanship of his instruments. Now that I have had some time to meet the guitars I am fully available to talk it up with Trevor. I know one thing for certain though, I am leaving this shop today with every guitar here that is finished.
Trevor mentions that he has just completed these guitars a day ago and they have only had strings on them for around 48 hours. I tell him I want them and that they need to come back to Vancouver; he smiles and agrees.
Kronbauer guides me around his shop so I can take a gander at his work space and all I can think about is leaving this shop ASAP with my loot, finding a hotel, and playing guitar till dawn.
I take notes and photographs and make a list of all the guitars that Trevor is currently working on so that I have a good idea of what I want to see in Vancouver from Kronbauer Guitars. We discuss the idea of having a Vancouver specific set of guitars featuring all local wood and some custom inlay work to make then truly one of a kind. This idea really excites me and I must seriously consider this route in a couple months when Trevor has the time to build me some more guitars.
Trevor finishes off by showing me an all Rosewood guitar with a bevel that he has been building for Eric Church, and some stunning master grade Koa, Ebony, Cedar and Spruce sets curing in his private reserve. I feel incredibly blessed to have met a young luthier building such incredible guitars right here in B.C. from the best tone woods possible. I will be saving some of my own money to get a custom guitar built by Trevor and can’t wait to reach my hotel so I can spend some quality one-on-one time with the guitars I just picked up.
SJ-C: Sitka Spruce Top, Private Reserve Maple Back and Sides from Chilliwack, Rosewood Binding, Ebony Fingerboard and Bridge, African Mahogany Neck, Micro-dots, Bone Saddle and Nut SOLD
SJ-C: Sitka Spruce Top, East Indian Rosewood Back and Sides, Ebony Fingerboard and Bridge, African Mahogany Neck, Maple Binding, Bone Saddle and Nut, Micro Dots, African Mahogany Purfling $3000
OO K : Alaskan Cypress (Yellow Cedar) Top, African Mahogany Back and Sides and Neck, Maple Binding, Rosewood Fingerboard and Bridge SOLD
I round up my loot and head to Kelowna for the night.
Five new guitars and a tiny room. I grab the Lazy Boy intended for watching TV and drag it outside the room so I can have a comfortable playing space outside as well. The air feels warm and thick, yet somehow it begins to snow. This is perfect for me because I love snow. Watching it snow and playing these new supreme guitars lead to one amazing night. I don’t have much time to sleep because of the company of these guitars but I do my best.
Every guitarist in the world should have the opportunity to play these fine instruments so it is my extreme pleasure to be able to offer that experience.
Thank-you John and Trevor for the amazing visits and the even-better guitars. I look forward to coming back some time soon to pick up some more fine instruments from you both.