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Author Topic: Reddit Style: Ask me anything!  (Read 13543 times)
Matthew Larrivee
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« on: August 23, 2016, 05:36:19 PM »

Hi all, I was recently reading and following several AMA’s over at reddit and I thought that you guys might enjoy something like that here.  Have you ever wanted to ask something of Larrivee? We’ll here’s your opportunity – Trivial, or Enormous: Ask away!

For those that don’t know me, I’m Matthew Larrivee son of Jean and Wendy Larrivee, and a second generation guitar builder. I manage the shop here in California, build guitars, and do most of the R&D.


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ducktrapper
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2016, 06:16:18 PM »

Hey Matt. How's things? How high is up? Who put the bop in the bop sha bop sha bop? When are you going to build a 330/335 style electric or an arch top? Why are there never good answers to good questions?
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2016, 06:29:38 PM »

Hi Matt....wait that sounds like the beginning of an AA meeting.No questions at this point but maybe if I ever have money to spend again I'll come up with something.
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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2016, 06:33:59 PM »

Hi Matt,

I'll bite and ask a serious question (or two or three):

You've told us your responsibility at Larrivee; what is John Jr.'s job description?
Are there other family members active in the business beyond the four you've listed?

What's your timeline for revealing the specs of the 50th Anniversary model, and when will you start taking orders?

 
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2016, 07:06:45 PM »

Hi Matt,

I'll bite and ask a serious question (or two or three):

You've told us your responsibility at Larrivee; what is John Jr.'s job description?
Are there other family members active in the business beyond the four you've listed?

What's your timeline for revealing the specs of the 50th Anniversary model, and when will you start taking orders?

 

 +1
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2016, 07:45:12 PM »

Hey Matt. How's things? How high is up? Who put the bop in the bop sha bop sha bop? When are you going to build a 330/335 style electric or an arch top? Why are there never good answers to good questions?

Archtops and Semi Hollow guitars are still on the agenda, but they are admittedly at the back of the line right now. The market for electric guitars softened dramatically about a year and a half ago and we’re waiting for it to return before we put “energy” into the process. We’ve actually done a lot of work towards archtops already include a carve top programs for a single cutaway, and body designs for a dual cutaway offset body. We’ve also already done some extensive pickup designs including a reproduction of old DeArmond 1100 Rhythm Chief, and some special Humbucker and P-90 designs. I can’t see it being sooner than 3+ years away at this point.

We have several new instruments being built right now including 3 new classical guitars, and some other yet to be release items. Most of our energy is being put into these models right now. We’re also doing large runs of new marquetry inlays showing as well
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« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2016, 07:54:59 PM »

The market for electric guitars softened dramatically about a year and a half ago and we’re waiting for it to return before we put “energy” into the process.

We have several new instruments being built right now including 3 new classical guitars, and some other yet to be release items. Most of our energy is being put into these models right now.

A hard market for Classicals - wouldn't have guessed that.



What's your timeline for revealing the specs of the 50th Anniversary model, and when will you start taking orders?

This 
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2016, 07:55:29 PM »

Hi Matt,

I'll bite and ask a serious question (or two or three):

You've told us your responsibility at Larrivee; what is John Jr.'s job description?
Are there other family members active in the business beyond the four you've listed?

What's your timeline for revealing the specs of the 50th Anniversary model, and when will you start taking orders?

 

My brother currently resides in Canada and travels here regularly. He’s currently handling all of the Marketing, Social Media Presence, Photography, Online Store, and a good portion of the customer service. When here in California he helps out in the shop with Neck fit, and whatever else needs to be done.

Involved in the business are my Father, Mother, Myself, and my Brother. My sister Christine was for a long time but she’s moved to Calgary with her husband and is an amazing teacher now. My 12 year old son comes and helps me over the summer and has already told me this is what he wants to do – he’s known it since he was 6 or 7. He comes and passes me guitars as a route binding, catches parts for me on the thickness sander, and helps around. I try not to push him too hard so that it doesn’t become a chore for him.

We’re really starting the 50th plans now in earnest. I think we’ll probably over several smaller runs of varying cost and features. I would guess a month or two from now you’ll know more
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« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2016, 07:59:07 PM »

Archtops and Semi Hollow guitars are still on the agenda, but they are admittedly at the back of the line right now. The market for electric guitars softened dramatically about a year and a half ago and we’re waiting for it to return before we put “energy” into the process. We’ve actually done a lot of work towards archtops already include a carve top programs for a single cutaway, and body designs for a dual cutaway offset body. We’ve also already done some extensive pickup designs including a reproduction of old DeArmond 1100 Rhythm Chief, and some special Humbucker and P-90 designs. I can’t see it being sooner than 3+ years away at this point.

We have several new instruments being built right now including 3 new classical guitars, and some other yet to be release items. Most of our energy is being put into these models right now. We’re also doing large runs of new marquetry inlays showing as well


3+ years? I'm saving up now!
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« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2016, 08:17:45 PM »

Matthew, a question was asked on the forum just a few weeks ago with regard to the Larrivee family guitar collections, like basically what they consist of and how many, and who are the players in the family besides Jean?  If you responded I missed it and I apologize for asking it again...
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2016, 08:35:19 PM »

Matthew,

Thanks so much for doing this, not to mention making amazing instruments at prices we can afford! 

I'm curious as to what you think Larrivee's best wood combination is.  What is your favorite?
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2016, 11:53:42 PM »

  How is top wood selection done?  Does stiffness come into play and are they shaved down based on that?  Or, is there a standard spec for thickness?
Thanks!
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« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2016, 12:18:59 AM »

Two questions

1) What is your favorite body shape and why?

2) How did Larrivee land on the design and neck shape of the 12 string models?

I played a lot of 12 strings before I ordered my Larrivee and nothing came close in terms of comfort, tone, workmanship and value.

Thanks.
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2016, 03:36:19 AM »

Matthew,

Thanks so much for doing this, not to mention making amazing instruments at prices we can afford! 

I'm curious as to what you think Larrivee's best wood combination is.  What is your favorite?

I think if you were to ask each of us Larrivee’s then you’d get different answers – Mostly because as we age our hearing changes and we enjoy different sounds. As you get older you lose high frequency hearing so brighter sounding guitars become more appealing as you compensate for hearing loss. Personally I currently really like Black walnut, and other low-med density woods such as light weight swamp ash and silver oak. The Black walnut / Alpine moon spruce or walnut / walnut are my current favorites.
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2016, 04:09:56 AM »

  How is top wood selection done?  Does stiffness come into play and are they shaved down based on that?  Or, is there a standard spec for thickness?
Thanks!

The process is a little different for different varieties of spruce because how we obtain the wood is slightly different. How a top is selected occurs a few different ways. Generally, we start with sets of AA and AAA wood and we plain or sand one side just to get a visual look at the wood. Rejects are turned into the thin brace stock (which we refer to as fingers, and tongues). From there my dad will join them and a team of two people glue them up as fast as he can join them. We usually do this once every month and a half and it takes a couple of days. From there I plane and sand them down to rough thickness.

Jean, or very rarely me when he’s away travelling, will then grade them into 4 rough grades 03, 40, 09, and “reserve”. At this point were deciding on a few different factors including width of grain, compression, run out, stiffness, and color. Different grades have different requirements. So for example with the 40’s we try to pick tops that have wider grain and medium to high stiffness, 09 tops will generally get tighter grain and so on and so forth. The process really gets to the heart of the art of Luthiery as it is the maker using feeling and intuition to decide. When we hold a piece of wood in our hand we can know in a heartbeat or two what it’s going to be by visual inspection, tactile feedback through flexing the soundboard, and gut intuition. I’m a very logical thinker, and for me this process is very hard to describe because it’s not a process that can be easily defined by scientific method. it’s an art.

From here we grade further, so from the -03 stack we take the lowest grade top and turn them into -02’s, from the reserve grade the best become Presentations and show guitars, etc.

Once graded, we then install the rosette and the top is then sanded to the final thickness. While there are general rules for thickness, we make adjustments for individual tops. For example if the top is very stiff I’ll thin it out a little extra when doing the final thickness sanding. After final thickness sanding we grade the tops again, this time primarily bases on looks and stiffness – For example from the 09 stack the less stiff tops will become -05’s and so on.
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Matthew Larrivee
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« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2016, 04:20:48 AM »

Two questions

1) What is your favorite body shape and why?

2) How did Larrivee land on the design and neck shape of the 12 string models?

I played a lot of 12 strings before I ordered my Larrivee and nothing came close in terms of comfort, tone, workmanship and value.

Thanks.


Hmm that’s a tough one. Sound wise I really like OM’s and LV’s but from a building perspective I like building L’s and D’s. Two of the tasks that I do on a daily basis are routing the binding/purfling channels and side sanding after binding; and the most difficult guitars to do are OM and LV because of the tight curves. So we’ll call it a love hate relationship. 

As far as the 12 string neck goes the shape is very similar to the six string and is based on a three-point arc, so it is a true portion of a circle, not a ellipse as people often think. Most probably what you’re experiencing a really good setup. Thank you for the compliment
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2016, 04:42:17 AM »

OK I came up with a question...are you talking archtops like L7's and L5"s or are talking 335 or 330 style's?
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 OB LA DE OB LA DA,LIFE GOES ON---BRA,It is what it is,You just gotta deal it,
One By One The Penguins Steal My Sanity*Eat The Rich*, Keith and Barefoot Rob on youtube
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« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2016, 06:02:02 AM »

The process is a little different for different varieties of spruce because how we obtain the wood is slightly different. How a top is selected occurs a few different ways. Generally, we start with sets of AA and AAA wood and we plain or sand one side just to get a visual look at the wood. Rejects are turned into the thin brace stock (which we refer to as fingers, and tongues). From there my dad will join them and a team of two people glue them up as fast as he can join them. We usually do this once every month and a half and it takes a couple of days. From there I plane and sand them down to rough thickness.

Jean, or very rarely me when he’s away travelling, will then grade them into 4 rough grades 03, 40, 09, and “reserve”. At this point were deciding on a few different factors including width of grain, compression, run out, stiffness, and color. Different grades have different requirements. So for example with the 40’s we try to pick tops that have wider grain and medium to high stiffness, 09 tops will generally get tighter grain and so on and so forth. The process really gets to the heart of the art of Luthiery as it is the maker using feeling and intuition to decide. When we hold a piece of wood in our hand we can know in a heartbeat or two what it’s going to be by visual inspection, tactile feedback through flexing the soundboard, and gut intuition. I’m a very logical thinker, and for me this process is very hard to describe because it’s not a process that can be easily defined by scientific method. it’s an art.

From here we grade further, so from the -03 stack we take the lowest grade top and turn them into -02’s, from the reserve grade the best become Presentations and show guitars, etc.

Once graded, we then install the rosette and the top is then sanded to the final thickness. While there are general rules for thickness, we make adjustments for individual tops. For example if the top is very stiff I’ll thin it out a little extra when doing the final thickness sanding. After final thickness sanding we grade the tops again, this time primarily bases on looks and stiffness – For example from the 09 stack the less stiff tops will become -05’s and so on.

Wow, thanks!  Such wonderful insight!  I've seen this pondered and debated here for years but you just cleared it all up.
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« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2016, 12:08:31 PM »

Hi Matt,

I'll bite and ask a serious question (or two or three):


Are you suggesting my questions aren't serious? I'm hurt.

Matthew. Does Larrivee still have its own saw mill? Are you still supplying wood for other builders. Are any other guitar brands, fully or in part, being built at your plant?   
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« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2016, 02:16:35 PM »

Hi all, I was recently reading and following several AMA’s over at reddit and I thought that you guys might enjoy something like that here.  Have you ever wanted to ask something of Larrivee? We’ll here’s your opportunity – Trivial, or Enormous: Ask away!


Excellent Thread Matthew!  It will likely be the Forum favorite!  Thanks so much for answering our questions.

Next question;  Do you plan on offering Indonesian Ebony to any standard model lines or only as a custom?

Second question;  Recently Dave's Woodstock had a single D-40R with a Torrified top that sounded awesome.  Is there a plan to offer this as an option?

Thanks
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