Gijs de Wit Guitars Interview
NAME: Gijs de Wit
LIVING IN : I live in Heerenveen, a town in the Northern part of the Netherlands in de province Friesland.
TRAINING & BACKGROUND: I began my building carreer around 1980 , building/repairing and customizing electric guitars, my mentors were Anno Galama (known as the man who did the guitars for Jan Akkerman , of the band Focus) and later Peer Dellen who run the official Gibson and Martin repairshop in Den Hague . I gradually shifted to acoustics over the years, and the Holy Grail Guitar Show /Berlin of 2016 my first big guitarshow as acoustic builder.
PLAYING: I play guitar from age 12 , I was born in 1959 , so I’m playing over 50 years now.
NAME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL BAND : In my younger days I played in several local bands, mostly blues/bluesrock bands. Nowadays I spend most of my time building and designing acoustic guitars, if I play I try to get accustomed to DADGAD tuning and to write my own pieces.
LUTHIER YOU ADMIRE THE MOST: My favourite builder is Jordan Mc Connel.
INSTRUMENT YOU DREAM TO HAVE ONE DAY: I really would like to own an very early Gibson style ‘O’ (pre 1920 model/noncutaway) one day.
LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT: BIll Evans/Tony Bennett ‘together again’.
LAST MUSIC SONG YOU PUT IN YOUR CAR: Allan Holdsworth ‘Joshua’ .
LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO : La Conner Guitar Festival in may 2022.
MOST IMPRESSIVE INSTRUMENT YOU EVER HAD IN HAND: The Most impressive guitar I ever held was a 12 string brazilian/german spruce with brazilian rosewood neck by Jaroslav Mach back in +/- 1985
MOST STRANGE RESTORATION OR REPAIR YOU HAD TO DO : The most strange restauration/repair I did was making a neck to a 1936 National Duolian body I bought from Kathy Wingert, pics are on my insta account.
Concepts come to me as I daydream holding a inspiring piece of wood, not immediately, can take some days/weeks but finally everything falls into place like a puzzle, important is what I feel, not what I think
My flagship model is the one I built for the la Conner show, now for sale at Dream Guitars NC : steelstring guitars/multiscale.
The sound of a guitar must inspire the player, that is the best a guitar can do. the rest is secundary. Also it should inspire by it looks ; the rest is not secundary at all, everything counts; the whole thing must be a unity, all aspects must whisper “yes”.
In case of a custom instrument you are limited in choices; that can be a blessing ! helps to really focus on the essence.
Still many features come to me by intuition, always my main tool.
Questions I ask are mainly on the style of music he plays and measurable things like neck width, string spacing, scalelength etc.
Jesse van Ruller is the very best Jazz guitar player here in the Netherlands, the only non-american that won the Thelonius Monk award; he plays one of my guitars.
Lutherie in the Netherlands is difficult for an artisan builder like me, it is somewhat better for luthiers that make mainstream type guitars at an affordable price; expensive one-of-a-kind stuff is difficult to sell here, that’s why I look for possabilities to sell guitars oversea.
Dream Guitars in North Carolina is representing my work for the American player, and I’m thinking of attending the Fretboard Summit in Chicago august 2023.
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