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GUITAR MAKER

Tony Duggan - Smith

I have been playing guitar since I was 13 and still haven't been able to put it down!

With a background in Fine Arts both in Europe and Canada I have had the good fortune to play, write and record with some very gifted artists and musicians along the way.

Since the beginning I always had a problem finding someone I trusted to work on my instruments. A problem most players understand! Through a strange job opportunity that involved painting the internal organs of a 60 foot long fiberglass cow, I met Rufus Stewart, an instrument maker/repairman who is well loved across Canada. He was the first truly gifted instrument artisan that I met and he set me off on a course (winding this way and that) which has led me to where I am today. An experienced luthier building master quality instruments and restoring vintage gems.

My 'apprenticeship' included studying instrument repair with the brilliantly fearless Steve Darke, traveling around folk festivals and applying my art skills to creative pearl inlay work and apprenticing with Jean Larrivee both in Toronto and Victoria B.C., including designing and executing many adventurous, non traditional inlays. The open ended silver border I designed is still in use on his guitars today as a key recognizable element. Both I and the fantastic Heather McRae were instrumental in establishing the Larrivee inlay dynasty known world wide. Heather is largely responsible for the stunning romantic style that is associated with Jeans instruments that has carried over to this day with the excellent work of Wendy Larrivee.

Following my time with Jean, I became head repairman for Ring Music in Toronto under the legendary Bill Wager and Michael McLuhan and built both acoustic and electric guitars during this time. I went on to work with George Gray which included designing some pretty crazy electric guitars which I still consider relevant, unlike many designs from that era!

During these years I was writing and playing with the most excellent Canadian Band, Pukka Orchestra.

After receiving two major Arts Council Awards I was able to study Archtop design and construction with my good friend Linda Manzer who had herself the good fortune to do the same with Jimmie D'Aquisto. Prior to this, Linda and I had worked on a concept together that has become known as the 'Manzer Wedge' and is being used by many guitar makers on hundreds of instruments around the world each year.

My archtop studies with Linda segued into working part time on her instruments for the next 12 years while building my own commissions. This was a venture which worked out well for the two of us. Linda had orders for many archtops and flat tops which I got to work on and in turn expand my experience and skill sets unique to these instruments while we both had fun.

This brings us up to date and now I am spending more time on my own instruments, some of which can be seen on this site. As you can see by the instruments shown, I build primarily archtops, and flat tops but they can include interesting side trips like the Octave mandolin/Bouzouki guitar shown here on the site.

It is a long and windy road that gets us to the here and now. If you would like to intersect with my path to discuss an instrument being built or a fine instrument in need of repair or extensive restoration just contact me.

MY CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CRAFT

After studying Fine Arts at renowned schools in England and Canada I was instrumental in championing a new direction for decorative guitar inlay on Jean Larrivee 's instruments, including the introduction of flagship 'Presentation' models 1976-78.

Co-creator of the Manzer Wedge in 1984 with my good friend luthier Linda Manzer who first put the idea into practice on her masterpiece 'The Pikasso' and on many instruments since. The Wedge has been adopted by many other individual luthiers worldwide as well as larger guitar manufacturers. Of course I incorporate this element on many of my own instruments.

Restoration and repair on hundreds of historic and current master quality instruments that have added to my arsenal of design and function knowledge of the guitar and that have been instrumental in the development of own work and knowledge shared with other builders.

BIOGRAPHY

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Contact information

tonyds@pathcom.com

tel 416-699-7082

Located: Toronto, CANADA

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