Located: Toronto, CANADA
"They are remarkable" - Rez Abassi
"These are beautiful guitars... fantastic" - Mike Borkosky
"Impeccable workmanship..... imaginative designs that flow beautifully and seamlessly from one part of the instrument to the other. The playability and sound are a testament to this luthiers art ... the necks are always perfectly shaped and meticulously crafted for playability and accuracy. The sound is rich and even throughout each register, so producing a good tone on these instruments is not a difficult task." - Dr. Anton Machleder, Assistant Professor of Guitar and Music Technology, Houghton College, NY
"The first thing you're going to notice about both guitars is the gorgeous esthetic and workmanship. Tony is a class act! "- Carlos Lopes
"Tony's cutaway archtop is truly a beautiful work of art, but more than that, an instrument that's a pleasure to play - even toned and resonant, with a great jazz sound." - John Welsman
"Awesome work!! I particularly like the hand carved model. Great style and workmanship." - Mile K (classicaljazzguitar.com)
"Your guitars are very beautiful" - Stan Jay (Mandolin Brothers)
re: the laminate archtop that you made for me.
I have owned a number of fine guitars over my 30-year (plus) musical career, including a number of fine custom made archtops. While I continue to play and enjoy a number of those instruments, your archtop is one of the finest instruments that I have played. It has been versatile on live gigs and has a very clear and "in tune" voice everywhere on the fingerboard. The materials used and workmanship on the instrument are world-class.
Added later - The guitar that Tony built is probably the finest archtop that I have owned Nov 2008
Gerard McVay (Dallas Texas)
Tony's guitars are such splendid instruments! They sound fabulous, play superbly and they look [dare I say] perfect! His guitars ALL have that great feeling of an instrument that embodies both Craft and Artistry!
I've known Tony Duggan-Smith for over thirty years and one thing I can tell you is that he is exceptional at absolutely everything he decides to pursue. He is recognized as a gifted composer and performer, but is possibly best known for is his instrument building. Tony has been a full time luthier for thirty years and is one of the few builders I know who is creative enough to constantly move forward, fearless enough to implement his innovations, and talented enough to make it all work. He has an artist's eye, a woodworkers hands, and a musician's ears.
I wanted to write you a follow-up email about the flat top and my impressions. What an incredible instrument. I would have to use too many superlatives to describe all the things I like about it. The things that sticks out about it to me are its tonal clarity and spot on intonation. It's like a piano with a great crystal clear, balanced voice all over the finger board. While the instrument is absolutely beautiful, its also solidly constructed and ready for the road. You are at the top of your craft.
Buyer of 16" brazilian rosewood flat top
Tony Duggan-Smith Custom Archback/Flat top Bouzouki/Guitar (Octave mandolin)
Hari Sihvo Commission - (my words)
Every instrument commission is important to the builder both as an expression of their craft and as a means of survival. Every once in a while you get an opportunity to make an instrument for someone really special. In my experience this does not have to mean a famous person but rather a person that inspires you to go the extra mile with what you create for them. Hari Sihvo is one of those people.
Learning what Hari has had to deal with over the past few years was especially significant to me, not just as a guitar maker but especially as a player. Music is important to many people but when you learn to express yourself through playing an instrument, the connection becomes all the more significant. It becomes another way to communicate. It is the best form of therapy for many, not just for the player but the listener as well and when you have the skills to play with others the experience expands exponentially. To have this taken away suddenly must be devastating. To find a way back to playing is incredible. I realize that there is a trail of people that played a role in Hari's journey, especially his wife Alison and I feel honoured to have been included in this journey.
Tony Duggan-Smith 2008
When I first met Tony, it was at a time of uncertainty. I’d lost parts of all 10 of my fingers a year earlier through cancer and having played guitar for 25 years, was struggling with the reality of never being able to play again.
My life began to change when I discovered that I could play mandolin with my limited faculties but as much as it was a revelation, it wasn’t a guitar. I’d always been a fan of the Pogues and recalled seeing them play live years earlier and wondering what the name of the exotic instrument was that Terry Woods played. I discovered that it was an Irish Bouzouki and that in many ways it was simply a bigger version of a mandolin. Hope sprang eternal!
I became aware of Tony through a colleague of my wife, who had commissioned a guitar to be made by him several years earlier. As much as my playing used to drive Alison nuts at times, much to my surprise the silence was now something she was also having difficulty dealing with.
In October 2007, Alison suggested I meet Tony with the idea of having a Bouzouki made for me. I never realized how meeting one person could change one’s life but my meeting Tony was that moment. When he and I sat down our discussion went far beyond music and was truthfully cathartic for me. If there ever was a question, I knew then that I had to have Tony build me an instrument.
I’d always dreamed of one day owning a Gretsch but I knew that that was no longer possible. In the end, what I got was far better – a combination guitar/ Bouzouki – or as Tony coined it, a “Guizouki”! The shape reminds me of a Gretsch but features such as the hand prints of my twin daughters inside the body of the instrument (Tony’s idea) make it mine.
The Guizouki has allowed me to regain a big part of my life that I thought was gone forever. Everyday it reminds me of what I had and how lucky I am to have what I have. For me, it embodies hope. And through it all, I also made a life-long friend.
Hari Sihvo 2008