Ian Davie - Singing Wood InstrumentsThank you for visiting my website. I also publish newsletters and you can read my most current newsletter in Downloads of this website.
I am a Luthier (maker of stringed instruments) working from a small workshop in the coastal Otago estuary village of Purakaunui.
When making an instrument my goal is to create a guitar with the highest degree of both form and function. One with high artistic merit and with the tone, response and playability of a fine hand crafted instrument.
I have crafted over 120 instruments to my own intuitive style since 1990. I came in to this craft from a life-long passion of creating art, mostly in wood.
My woods are selected from a variety of sources, and have now a good collection of traditional and New Zealand native pieces. I only use aged and dry woods. Some Kauri in stock is over 100 years old from cutting.
Native New Zealand woods regularly used in my guitar making include Kahikatea, Kauri, Kowhai, Houhere, Rimu, Matai, Tawa, Tawhai, Totara, Rewa Rewa, Black Maire, Ake-ake and Puriri. These woods perform comparably to traditional guitar-making woods. I also use classical woods e.g. European spruce, mahogany, ebony and rosewood. Ultimately, it all comes down to the Luthier's skill.
Over the years I have received many queries regarding New Zealand native woods. Consequently, I am in the process of compiling a directory of New Zealand Native Woods: their history, properties and uses for guitar making. You can access the directory to date in PDF on my Downloads page.
After years of experimentation with woods, bracing patterns, body styles and finishing etc., I have come to some firm conclusions as to what makes a first class sounding and playing instrument; culminating in producing a high-end made guitar with the WOW! factor.
My guitars are quite different and are unique in tone, looks and construction. Owners tell me that they have found qualities in their instruments, for example, long sustain, richness in volume and tone, and an extra sense of ownership that they have not found in any other guitars they have owned.
I played the piano for some years as a child, but with circumstances and a general lack of the essence needed to be a musician, it just dropped away. I have always liked the guitar and have owned one for most of my adult life, and have attempted lessons along the way. I play a little, testing the sound of each instrument for myself.
To pull an ensemble of wood, glue and strings together into this creative and useful form, is a great joy for me, with the added bonus of the company of many fine people and musicians.