Canadian Guitar Players

Virtual Museum



The First National Canadian Guitar Museum is born right here.  If you have any historical information on the guitar in Canada that you feel might be relevant (stories from Grandparents, pictures) please contact All submissions are welcome, especially anything that helps reveal the Guitar's role in shaping Canadian culture.






Guitar in Early Canadian Society 



The guitar is thought to have made its presence in Canada by the 1880's, when it was played mostly by women.



Here are some links to start us off:



Photo Collections

*      Vintage Gallery  Finest choice guitars from the experts at the Twelfth Fret Music Store in Toronto

*      Spanish Guitars - Nice site from a professor at Arizona University. Includes historical guitar makers of Spain.

*      Photo Gallery - Exceptional Guitars from the Gallery of Murch Music in Cambridge, Ontario

*      Riverside Music - Pic's  Windsor's Riverside Music guitar community



this is a painting of the headstock of eminent Canadian luthier Linda Manzer. See the Wet Paint Gallery - innovative fine art guitar paintings by Paul Chase, who has traveled extensively in Canada

History in the making?

Ovation is the First to send us a picture of an exceptional guitar.

Here’s a 2003 Collectors Edition, and this starts the new Canadian Guitar Players Museum!


LaDO Guitars

Joe Kovacic is the President and founder of Lado Musical Inc. established in 1973. He was taught his guitar-building craft in Zagreb, Croatia, and gained experience in Austria, Germany, and finally, reached North America where he remains "untouchable" when it comes to quality, craftsmanship and value. Joe has been building guitars and basses for top professionals, meeting and surpassing their needs, both in the studio and on stage.

Lado is proud to have held the title for "largest built and presumably the loudest playable electric guitar" in the world, Guinness Book of Record, 1987-1991. It still stands in 14 ft, 3 inches (4.35 M) tall, and 309 lb (140 kg) in weight and is on display in the Lado showroom.

Lado hosts a private school of lutherie at the shop in Lindsay, Ontario. More information can be found at:

Larrivee Guitars

Jean Larrivee started building guitars in Toronto in the 1960's, under the tutelage of German classical guitar builder Edgar Mönch. From 1968 to 1970, Jean built classic guitars in his home shop before moving into his first commercial space, the second floor of a theater. His work brought him into contact with many people involved with Toronto's thriving folk music community. At their urging, Jean built his first steel string guitar in 1971.

Following the tradition of European classic guitar builders, Jean designed his own distinctive shape, bracing patterns, and structural specifications. When he began to build steel string instruments, a task for which there were fewer well-established models, the experimentation became especially intense. His first steel strings were small dreadnoughts, braced in the Martin style, with an elongated X (the "railway crossing sign" design) and tone bars running at about a 45degree angle. Sensing from his work with classic guitars that a symmetrical bracing pattern might result in better tonal balance, Jean tried a bracing pattern consisting of a true 90degree "X" brace and tone bars running parallel to the bridge. The guitar had a strong, well-balanced sound. Twenty-five years later, and over 20,000 guitars later, a much-refined version of this bracing pattern is still the heart of all Larrivée steel-string guitars.

In 1977 the company moved to Victoria, British Columbia. The wet coastal forests of Canada's Pacific Rim produce some of the finest spruce and cedar in the world, and Jean realized that future growth could hinge on access to these tone woods.

In early 1998, Larrivée Guitars moved to a new 33,000 square foot facility in Vancouver, where 100 highly skilled people in the Guitar industry make 60 guitars a day. Many employees are respected guitar builders in their own right. A combination of old world craftsmanship and modern high technology combine to produce instruments prized around the world for their beauty, function, and lasting value.

Excerpted from

Godin Guitars


Godin started building guitars in 1982 in a village in Quebec Canada called La Patrie. The man that started it all is Robert Godin. Robert still owns the company and he continues to design the vast majority of our guitars.

A Canadian company with its head office located in Montreal and it build our guitars in four different locations, three in Quebec and one in New Hampshire. There are six factories spread out over about 1000 kilometers. Godin guitars are assembled here - the necks and bodies are all made in our original location in La Patrie, Quebec.

The Godin LG Signature

From the beginning the company has been more or less divided between the acoustic side and electric side. The electric side was originally that of a parts supplier to other guitar companies building their necks and bodies. You might be amazed to find out how many different guitar brands are all being produced in the same handful of factories. We're not telling you this because we want to divulge somebody's secrets but simply to let you know where we're coming from. In any case, what started out as some generic replacement necks and bodies soon evolved into a major business producing finished necks and bodies for many established U.S. guitar companies. The great thing about this is the tremendous experience that we gained building all of these instruments to their various specifications. The down side is that the sub-contracting business is a pain in the neck, so to speak, but more importantly it does not include the best part of building new guitars and that is: coming up with new designs and coaxing them through the process that begins with a sketch and ends with the music.

New Guitar Concepts
Unlike many other instruments that follow a fairly strict set of design parameters-think orchestral instruments-guitars truly lend themselves to variation in design. This capacity for variation manifests itself in two distinct ways, there is the purely visual variation such as, the lightning-bolt-shaped-pointy-headstock-you're-obviously-not-in-an-easy-listening-band guitar. In other words, guitars as fashion statements. Don't get us wrong, we are committed to high aesthetic values in all of our designs but what we find most compelling is the other type of variation inspired by the endless musical possibilities in guitar design. From designing a Nylon string guitar that can be played at stage volumes and feel comfortable to a primarily steel string player (Multiacs) to the creation of the multiple-voice instruments in our Signature Series, exploring new design possibilities is an integral part of what Godin does. The Godin commitment to new guitar concepts is typified in the Glissentar which is so much of a variation on the standard guitar that it isn't even a guitar anymore and qualifies as a whole new instrument. The Glissentar project was not born out of a marketing meeting (i.e.) "Man, I bet if we built an eleven string fretless acoustic/electric we could sell a boatload of them." Instead the Glissentar was conceived because of the intriguing musical possibilities it promised and hearing some amazing Glissentar performances from musicians like Michel Cusson, Fareed Haque, and Sylvain Luc (to name a few) that deliver on that promise reminds us of what a great business this is.


An American neighbour with a great Canadian presence.

In early January of 2000, Chris Martin and inlay artist Larry Robinson began a discussion about an inlay design for Martin’s 750,000th guitar. Something tasteful was required, but Larry Robinson also suggested that the inlay motif reflect the origins of the instrument in the Middle East, and bring to mind the guitars of the 17th century that were built for members of royal families. The original design was more ornate than this (inlays up the center of the sides and back of the neck, cast sculpted gold tuner heads, emeralds in all the peacock feathers, gold Arabic calligraphy everywhere, etc.), but due to time constraints and untried manufacturing techniques we focused on the D-45 Peacock that you see here. The guitar took more than a year to complete.

Although an American Company, Martin Guitars can attribute their presence in early Canadian society to their high quality sound and craftsmanship. The first Martin guitars most likely entered Canada by way of trading companies who exchanged Canadian goods for American and imported products.

A comprehensive story of the Martin Guitar Company which dates back to its beginning in 1833 can be found here:



Guitar History

A Brief Timeline

*      1265 Juan Gil of Zamora mentions the early guitar in "Ars Musica".

*      1283-1350 Guitarra Latina & Guitar Moresca are mentioned multiple times in the poems of the Archpriest of Hita

*      1306 A "gitarer" was played at the Feast of Westminster in England

*      1404 "Der mynnen regein" by Eberhard Von Cersne makes reference to a "quinterne."

*      1487 Johannes Tinctoris described the guitarra as being invented by the Catalans. This refers to the four course guitar. Each course represents one pair of double strings.

*      1546 "Tres Libros de Musica en Cifras para Vihuela" by Alonso Mudarra is the first publication to include music for guitar.

*      1551-1555 Nine books of tablature were published by Adrian Le Roy. These include the first pieces for 5 course guitar. The addition of the fifth course was attributed to Vicente Espinel

*      1600-1650 Many publications of tablature for the guitar. It's popularity begins to rival the lute.

*      1674 Publication of "Guitarre Royal" by F. Corbetta increased the guitar's popularity. It was dedicated to Louis XIV.

*      1770-1800 A sixth string was added to the guitar and the courses were replaced by single strings.

*      1800-1850 Guitar enjoyed a large popularity both in performances and publishing. Fernando Sor, Mauro Guiliani, Matteo Carcassi and Dioniso Aguado all performed, taught, wrote and had published their compositions.

*      1850-1892 Guitar maker Manual Torres develops the larger more resonant instrument we know today.

*      1916 Segovia performs at Ateneo, the most important concert hall in Madrid. Before this it was thought that the guitar did not have the volume for this type of venue.

*      1946 Nylon replaces gut as a string material




Circa 1834


This rare "Cittern" with its Stauffer headstock, decorative rosette, and birdseye maple back and sides was handmade by C.F. Martin, Sr. shortly after his arrival in America in 1833. Appraised at over $100,000 USD, it is now part of  the impressive musical instrument collection of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington.


Francois Roudhloff


Paris ca. 1835.


Restoration by Bernhard Kresse

Although all essential parts were original the instrument showed severe damages. On the treble-side a serious fracture had to be set. A 40 cm long rib crack was glued with a wooden ledge from outside. It had to be removed and was supported with cleats from inside.The repaired area had to be colormatched and varnished.

The restored instrument is in the collection of Brigitte Zaczek and was used for a CD- recording in 2000.








A 1904 post card. Notice the peg head, mustache bridge, & "fat" parlour style body...




Lots more to come (Rome wasn't built in a day either). The hunt for Canadian content is on!