Monday, August 08, 2011

Luthier Allan Beardsell : Beardsell Guitars

About Allan Beardsell and Beardsell Guitars from

Allan has been playing, repairing, and generally thinking about guitars for most of the past 25-30 years. The last 15 years have seen him making them professionally for genius musicians luminous and obscure alike, from Lou Reed of the Velvet Underground, to avant-garde musician and filmmaker Henry Kaiser, from local dudes the Weakerthans, to Quebecois noise/folk fusionist Rene Lussier.

His work has been featured in "The Fretboard Journal" and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with his family, and likes to cook. He works amid a swirling miasma of wood, dust, shavings, smells and tools, in a small, chaotic, converted garage. Allan Beardsell has specialized in the creation of flat-topped steel and nylon stringed guitars. Recently, he has expanded this pursuit to include arched-top mandolins and electric guitars, electric banjos and harp guitars. His abiding interest in historical instruments and contemporary guitar technology has imparted a profound impression on the visual design and structural components of his work.

Allan explains what a guitar is to him (as explained in a presentation he gave at a PechaKucha event in Winnipeg, May 2010) in following words, It (guitar) is a tool, a mechanism that turns creative impulses into sounds. It is at its core part drum and part symphony. Rhythm, melody, and harmony, all rolled into one package. The earliest incarnation would have resembled something that we know today as a banjo—a west african instrument that is part drum, part lyre, or harp—made from a gourd, animal skin, and wood. At some point, a couple thousand years ago it came north into the middle east and the skin was replaced by a wood soundboard, the gourd body with a wooden one and the al Oud ("of wood") was born. During the crusades this oud was brought to France, sinew frets were added and it became the Lute. Then the body shape went from the egg shape, to the hips and shoulders of the female form, and in the early 19th century the 6-string version we know today emerged. So you can see that all along the form has imitated shapes and ideas we see in nature. Read more about Allan's ideas on this subject at his site.

Allan offers a range of instruments, named (Guitars) 4G, 3DM, 2GS, 9C, 9F, 7E, 7JKS, (Harp-Guitar) HG1, (Banjo) 8E, (Mandolins) 6A and 6B,

Additional Links from Beardsell Guitars

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