Making guitars is a sensual experience and a war.
I was born in Syria and have also lived in France and in the US. I have lived long enough in each of these countries for the different cultures to be part of me and for me to be, in a way, from nowhere.
I was introduced very young to music and to the amazing world of making things by hand. I learned several crafts; I studied arts and science; I even made a guitar before guitar making became the obvious road to follow.
I made guitars professionally for a few years and built a healthy following. But I wanted more. I wanted better skills, better understanding and better intuition. I reached out to Ervin Somogyi who, after the traditional interview, invited me to study with him. The apprenticeship was truly a coming of age journey in lutherie. Learning with Ervin and working with him and with Chris Morimoto was an intense, liberating and empowering experience. Coming out, I had grown and I had built the confidence I needed to follow my own path.
To me all our senses are involved in our relationship with the guitar—well, usually one doesn’t taste a guitar but smell is important. They all have an influence on what we feel and how we interact with the instrument. And just like the player when they play, making the guitar involves all my senses. The aesthetics of course, the grain of the wood, the shapes, the colors, build our expectations. There is also the smell of the wood when I work it, of the resins I use in the varnish and of the finished guitar when you open the case and when you hold it to play. It is already the promise of another world. Then the feel of the wood, the texture of the finish, the response of the guitar to the touch and the vibrations that carry into your body when you play. Finally there is the sound, which to me is the most important part since it creates all the relationships, between the player and the guitar and between them and the listener. I listen to each piece of wood I use and I keep listening as I build so that what the player and their audience hear hopefully transcends our world or maybe simply honors it.
I was listening to a recording of an early guitar. The player hit a note and in that single note, as it developed and expanded, it seemed there was a whole world. This is what I aim for, that feeling of substance and of place, almost palpable. I hope I can instill that in the guitars I make so that the player can feel and create their own world.
I voice every guitar with extreme care. I strive to make guitars that are highly responsive with a full balanced sound and a wide dynamic range. If playing my guitar makes you taste marshmallows or some other wonderful sensory experience, then I have achieved my goal.
PRICING AND ORDERING
My price for a guitar is currently $9250, plus applicable tax and shipping. To place an order, there is a $3100 non-refundable deposit; it covers materials cost and design time.
For acoustic and classical guitars, this price includes:
- European, Sitka or Englemann Spruce top.
- Indian Rosewood or Wenge back and sides. Other included tonewoods, while available: Madagascar Rosewood, Malaysian Blackwood, Striped African Ebony, Indian Ebony, Cocobolo, Padauk, Flamed Chestnut, Honduran Mahogany, Spalted Apple, Pear, Olive, Old European Walnut. There may be an extra charge for very special sets; please inquire.
- Mahogany, Spanish Cedar or Port Orford Cedar neck.
- Indian Rosewood or Ebony Fingerboard.
- Indian Rosewood or Ebony bridge.
- Choice of 12 or 14-frets to the body.
- Carved and colored rosette or simple wood rosette (solid wood or lines).
- Headstock veneer matching the back and sides.
- All wood binding and top and back purfling.
- Side purfling, if appropriate.
- Opportunity to choose neck width, string spacing and scale length.
- Gotoh 510 tuners or similar.
- French polish or lacquer finish.
- Special finishes are available and will be used as appropriate. They include shop cooked oil varnish (violin varnish), encaustic and hard wax oil.
- High end case (Hoffee, Calton, etc.)
- Full warranty within the limitations described below.
- Special or figured back and sides set: pricing based on cost. Matching fingerboard and bridge also based on cost.
- Highly figured or otherwise special top: pricing based on cost.
- Cutaway: $1250.
- Fan fret (multi-scale): $850.
- 7 or 8 strings: $850. Please inquire for other options.
- Scale length other than 25.4” (645 mm) or 25” (635 mm): please inquire.
- Other inlay: pricing based on specific design.
- Custom made tuning machines (VSTuners, Alessi, Rodger, etc.): pricing based on cost.
- Custom-designed guitar model: as negotiated.
- Vegan or other special requirements: as negotiated.
Electric guitars and basses have many customization options. I only use the best quality wood, hardware and electronics. Most common configurations are included in the base price. Please reach out with your project to get an accurate quote.
A limited lifetime warranty is issued with every guitar. It is tied to the original owner and covers faulty materials and craftsmanship. It does not cover normal wear and tear, mishandling, alterations and storage in extreme climatic conditions.
Feel free to contact me using the contact form on this page. I will be happy to respond quickly to your needs and requests.