Daguet Guitars Luthier Interview 1 Background
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A lot of questions…
I started quite young…
I started to learn the violin (popular peasant music trend) when I was about 4 years old. When I was 14, I asked my father if he could lend me 100 francs to buy an electric guitar on sale, my father answered that if I wanted one I could just make it for myself.
15 days later I had one…
So, no lutherie school, no training with luthiers but a lot of work with my grandfather who taught me how to work with wood (making wooden sailboats, he was a marine carpenter as a young man) and many other things.
So I copied some elements from one friend guitar and let’s go.
2 years later, this dear father gave me the choice to take a way for myself or to work for him on the second barge that we owned, since I was old enough to be “finally profitable for him”… I said no problem,
15 days later I was gone. 😉
I started playing (badly) with high school bands and a few asked me to make instruments for them. At the time I also restored English motorcycles that I salvaged from estates. Restoring motorcycles and making basses and guitars will help me finance my life and my studies up to a BTS in a design office.
Today at 60 years old I am more and more, quietly, no longer making music at all … Nor a motorbike…. it’s hopeless.
In fact, no, it’s very difficult to guide people on what they don’t know…
… from you, or, from anything else for that matter! Like those music stores that never ask me anything else than copies of vintage Epiphone and never wanted to go further.
However, it happened to me to work on overhauls of violins (hand mand bridges, settings, etc.) and now I make my own pickups, revisiting and I hope, improved what has been done since the beginning, by working a lot on a better transmission of the magnetic fields through the coils.
The result: more dynamics, balance and sensitivity while preserving the original sound colors!
Wellll…???? The Crestwood Deluxe and other Wilshire remain important.
I made a few Les Paul-inspired models that went away really quickly to my despair, (I was hoping to keep at least one…) but I’ll have to do half a dozen more this year. 😉
I have made unique models quite often too, I draw a lot, it mainly depends on the requests of the “clients” it is a collaboration. The “client” brings his feelings, I bounce back by making sometimes very different proposals if I feel that there is a way to do “more”.
It concerns all types of people, from the professional musician to the enthusiast.
The year “before the covid” I made a Crestwood “Custom” for a 78 year old boy who had always wanted to play the guitar and who, in a show, had fallen in love with it…
During my “career”, as a drawer Projector / Designer, I went from drawing with ink and drawing board 40 years ago… to the computer!
Today, almost all of my projects go through the digital modeling softwares.
I have just purchased a CNC machine that will allow me to perform repetitive and time-consuming jobs (parts of pickups, Crestwood bodies, own designed tremolos) which are of no particular interest in guitar making.
However i will raise a point here. I have often expressed on the dark side of CNC in instrument making, but, i would like to be clearly understood: i have nothing against CNC !!!
I just find dishonest to offer instruments manufactured in an industrial way, not to say “Chinese-style”, under the name “luthier’s instrument”… with the price that goes with it!
Today it is possible to buy programs of digitized models that you have “just” to start in production with the right machine. Or, make yourself poor models without much genius and choosen woods and care and fill the market place like a pissing cow in a corridor (French expression 😉 ).
The CNC is a powerful and very usefull tool, using it only for mass production while screwing up innocent enthousiast people is not correct.
My way and philosophy of building, i’ll allways keep the neck and final adjusting handmade. The only parts that will be done with the cnc will only be all the repetitive process and parts such as pickups, tremoloes, solidbodies and they will only be those of my own design.
For long times i sniffed about great and lost wooden pieces everywhere i could.
Through retiring craftsman worker stocks, bankruptcy, and so on … I have now a nice little stock!
I know what I own and how it will sound as completed instruments, it is more a matter of “experience” than anything else …
Today I continue to seek, not only to maintain the stock but as much as possible to improve it …
I have a few people I work with, Peltier Bois from time to time, recently Ashok Parek for Indian rosewoods and ebony resource.
I do myself quite a lot of parts, however, usually i take and use what i know as reliable stuff.
The most common suppliers for these parts are those that everyone knows, Fred Parts for France, Steward / LMII / Philadelphia / Crazy Parts for overseas…
When i can’t find something or dislike it the way it was done, i try to find a way to make it right!
Beside this, there are parts that I ask to local partners to do for me such as Setinox for laser cutting or Revetech for metal platings in example.
Years ago i choose to take a look on how work a pickup and what’s possible to make to improve it.
In fact, I found shitty boring to spin my brain and my fingers to make fine resonant instruments (“trying to”at least) and remain dependent, for the “electric” rendering, on average but usual pickups or even mediocre ones but popular…
There are lots of urban legends about pickups.
Most people are often drawn to brand names that bangs or the flashing looks (unrelated to sound….) or by the commercial bullshiting from some builders.
Personnaly, I started with the recreation of the Bisonic Hagstrom, a bass pickup that was a bit special in its design, because I was fond of the sound of this one after discovering that three of my favorite bands I loved the bass sound were playing on it: the Airplane, Allman’s Brothers, and the Greatfull Dead.
Then, I quickly realized the similarities and differences between this bass pickup and the P90 pickup … which Hagstrom didn’t developed further… and … BINGO! big improvement on the usual P90 !!!
From this time i start revisiting all possible pickups following the swedish recipe, even inventing new ones (the narrow window reading ones aka john and jane doe)… and each time it was a hit!
Old school nitro… Because it’s my wayyyy!
Experience again… just listen to how they sound, how they play and get yourself an idea.
Some are sounding more or less interesting than others, Customers are not that stupid (not everytime .. joke) …
They are looking for the most “musical” sound possible …
Though we enter into the world of legend and manic subtelty, “for me”, here again, the important thing is to know your stock of wood well !!! but… I am about to tell that probably nobody in a blind test will be able to tell the specie used for the fretboard…
When electronic hit the fan i have to be honnest, i can’t cannot…
I am a little color blind and this is an area in its own right that I have not studied, on the one hand, and I would not have time…
I am very fan of the work of Gilles Ferrand (it-11 audio), mister Jegou and Adam Wolfaardt.
Find a real job, not that saltimbanque trick! (“you filthy bastard” would have said Raoul Duke!)
Or … Learn everything you can in all possible areas, enrich yourself with life and experience …
And, if you still want it, just do it !!!
Well…I started with two planers, a 5 and a 7, two wastringues, 3/4 wood files, a “POF502” router, 5/6 chisels and gouges, a bench drill press, 2 paint guns and a compressor …
And that was all my tools for over ten years of production !!! (about 200 instruments by hand)
I am very poorly placed to give advice, Luthery was for me at first only a way to get a living of my own (being a kind of abandoned student) and today a way of securing an income more minimal than decent …
Today, however, I have a little more Tools … a grinder, a bigger router, a bandsaw.
AND i just acquired a CNC milling machine…
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