(alphabetical by company name)
1985 Guitar Co
Graham never imagined that his lifelong dream of working on guitars would have been such an adventure. From Spain to Vancouver, and Victoria to Montreal, he has been fortunate enough to have worked in some amazing places and met some even more amazing people along the way. What started years ago as a lofty dream has become a daily reality.
It all started with a trip to Spain to build his first guitar on the Southern Coast in a little town called La Herradura.
After returning from Spain Graham was lucky enough to work alongside Paul Iverson in North Vancouver, repairing and setting up guitars. Paul has been professionally working on guitars for over 40 years and is considered one of the best in the business. It is Paul’s experience, mentorship, and friendship that Graham credits his own skills and success with.
In 2019 Graham and his wife Shay moved back to their home of Victoria to have their first child Mays, and opened up shop. Since then he has built a reputation for his excellent setups, repairs, and friendly service.
In 2021 Graham got the amazing opportunity to spend some time at Mile End Guitar Coop in Montreal working beside some of the best Luthiers in Canada.
With the little spare time he has between client jobs and family he picks away at a few of his own builds.
Capital City Transistor and Valve
Filip started Capital City Transistor and Valve in Montreal out of his apartment, building and modifying pedals, guitars, and synthesizers for local musicians. Since then he's opened up shop in Victoria offering his services to anyone desperate for a competent technician.
He designs and manufactures synthesizers, pedals, drone machines and lighting rigs in his Rock Bay workshop. He employs advanced techniques including microsoldering and firmware modifications along with CAM design using 3d printing and laser cutting. His regular customers include Trent Reznor, Men Without Hats, Astrocolor, and Dark Sparkler.
Emmet McKusker Guitars
An avid guitar player, Emmet McCusker has been making musical instruments since 2005. Initially an electric guitar maker, he switched focus to acoustic guitars in 2009. Emmet has studied with David Freeman, Tom Ribbecke and most recently has worked with Wyatt Wilkie. Current acoustic instruments include OM, 000, and Parlour sized guitars, A-style mandolins and electric guitars. His studio is located on the edge of a wild ravine in the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, overlooking a coho salmon spawning stream.
Studio tours are welcome!
Bernard Funston began building guitars about 20 years ago, at the suggestion of his then-young children. He launched Funston Guitars in 2005 to begin selling his instruments in a market seldom considered by others: the circumpolar North, including northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Finland. His repertoire includes mandolins flamenco, classical, steel string acoustic, solid body and hollow body electric guitars. Funston instruments have made their way into the hands of musicians all over the world. In September 2011 a Funston guitar, commissioned by the University of the Arctic, was presented to Vladimir Putin in Arkhangelsk, Russia to promote Arctic dialogue and cooperation. In 2020 two Funston mandolins were included in the twelve instruments produced from paulownia for the President Carter Legacy Collection. Funston’s work has been showcased in guitar shows, winning the People's Choice Award at the Ottawa Guitar Show in 2014.
The Guitar Stand Guy
Born a long time ago in Antwerp, Belgium, to a very serious dad and a somewhat ditzy mom. On serious dad's prompting, got a seriously boring degree (chemistry), followed by several boring years at what is now the European patents institute. Went back to school & got a far more interesting degree (oceanography), left Europe & came to Canada. Yippie, great mountains to hang-glide from. Jobs in science, construction, oil patch, & more. Like to hike, ride my mountain bike, & putter around in my workshop where I build my creations, mostly guitar stands. That's it, folks.
Specializing in custom handmade headless electric guitars, Harms Guitars combines the finest hardwoods, electronics, and hardware to make each build a unique and inspiring tool for the modern musician. Luthier Joshua Harms is dedicated to best practices for design and build quality, for an instrument that honours the craft, inspires you to play, and draws others in to listen.
In 1968 I was at Bill Lewis music in Vancouver were I met luthiers for the first time. I was fascinated by folks building guitars and other musical instruments. There were no schools in the west at the time so I contacted established builders when ever I heard about them. I met a group of luthiers in Vancouver that had a shop above the Sanfrancisco Pawn shop on Hastings st. There was Ray Nurse, a lute and harpsichord builder, Michael Dunn guitar and harpsichord builder and two others. I was overwhelmed by all I saw there. In 1972 I started building and 50 years later I'm still Going strong. I build acoustic guitars in many sizes from oo parlor to jumbos classic and flamenco, built to suit the player. It's a good life. A great way to be a part of a community.
Joe Young Guitars
Listening to the faltering gramophone of my youth, the crackling radio of my adolescence, the true stereo of my adulthood and the natural sound systems of my middle life, I fell in love with many of the greatest musical artists.
Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Count basie, Thelonious Monk, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters and many more icons took me on a journey that brought music, carpentry and artistry together in one amazing form…the guitar.
I have an allegiance to wood that began in my youth, that has inflenced my life and that remarkably still gets me up in the morning and heading to my shop. As a professional carpenter and musician the logical career connection was to build fine instruments and, once I started, I couldn’t stop.
I am an independent luthier working in a thriving community on Vancouver Island . I build beautiful custom guitars and I love to share my knowledge and experience with others.
Reuben Forsland is well-known for his respect of traditional building methods, yet is always exploring new design and concepts through the use of rare and exotic woods and materials. His philosophy of building a great guitar extends to lives of the people it will touch through passion, inspiration and music . The art of guitar building is so much more than making a beautiful instrument. The detail of exact measurements and the intrinsic qualities of the different woods is what truly makes a guitar sound the way you desire. Precision in tone, resonance, and differentiation for each note played are the standards for a JOI guitar. Perfecting sound for the clients tonal desires and requirements - starting with my own bracing system, then matching it with the right combination of woods. That achieves two key things: the most ideal sound and absolute client satisfaction.
Martin Beck Guitars
Hi, my name is Martin van Humbeck. Welcome to Martin Beck Guitars.
I have been a member of the Guild of American Luthiers since 1997 and I have been building acoustic instruments for over 25 years under the name Martin Beck (van Humbeck just doesn’t fit on a headstock).
Each instrument is custom built in my shop, on the shores of beautiful Sproat Lake on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
While my own designs (the Ashley and the JJ) and Tenor and Concert ukuleles are my primary interest, I also build Dreadnaught, OOO, OM, Resophonic and Classicals.
My path to building guitars is far from what most would consider normal. I didn’t plan to become a builder, but like many things in my life, it presented itself as anopportunity and I’m seeing where it takes me. Most of my professional life I’ve worked within the sport of rowing, coaching and developing athletes. This is a career I continues today, living in Victoria BC and working for Rowing Canada Aviron. As RCA’s NextGen Program Lead I support athletes who have the goal of competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. As for music, I grew up playing the bagpipes. In my twenties I attempted playing guitar and drums in bands with friends. As the years passed this all took a back seat to life, family, and career.
I started building guitars later in life. When my son turned fifteen, we decided to build a bass together. This got me hooked, I couldn’t stop thinking about how to improve the next build. After a couple years of experimenting, learning, and creating expensive firewood I decided to turn my weekend hobby into a weekend business. In the spring of 2018 McDiarmid Guitars was born. Since this date I have focused on getting my guitars into the hands of musicians, gathering feedback on the feel and sound. Their feedback, good and bad, challenges me to develop and improve my skills.
I can be found most weekends, in my shop, surrounded by sawdust.
Michael Dunn Guitars
Michael Dunn has been actively making stringed instruments for 55 years. Trained in Spain as a classical and flamenco guitar maker, he eventually began making many types of instruments. Lutes, dulcimers, steel string guitars of all types , harp guitars, and became specialized in the making of Gypsy guitars . Known for his innovative forays into Art Deco and Cubist designs, his instruments are instantly recognizable. He continues to make guitars on a limited basis for discerning musicians.
Michael Kennedy Guitars
Michael Kennedy of Michael Kennedy Guitars strongly believes that a cohesive design in both structure and aesthetics is fundamental to producing exceptional instruments. His ideals for building could most succinctly be described as "clean elegance". Michael's approach to achieving these tonal and visual goals has continually developed over the course of his career but is rooted in the melding of science and instinct. With a formal education in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University and a three year apprenticeship with master luthier Sergei de Jonge, Michael strives to not simply keep these forces in balance, but use them collaboratively to create something greater than the sum of its parts. In addition to developing his own career, Michael co-founded the Mile End Guitar Coop 13 years ago with fellow luthier and de Jonge apprentice Jeremy Clark. The Mile End Guitar Coop is shared workspace currently home to 10 luthiers focused on mutual support, openly shared knowledge, and engagement with the musical community at large with monthly shop concerts.
What started out as my desire to build one tiny little Parlor guitar in the back room of my studio workshop, quickly took over my life. Guitar parts and sawdust everywhere, wash it down with a good dose of country music and I’m in heaven! I am a minimalist and I like tight, clean lines. No fancy inlays but rather choice detailing designed to compliment the instrument and speak directly to it’s new owner. I love to use reclaimed woods that I have salvaged locally. For example, my new line of FirCaster electric guitars are made from one piece of ancient reclaimed Douglas Fir. No unsightly glue lines, just tone and old age. I do like a good story and I value new client input into their instrument. Guitars should not only play a great tune, but they should tell a good story. Warren Murfitt was born in British Columbia and studied sculpture at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design. He has worked as a treeplanter, carpenter, artist and musician. He lives and works in Vancouver.