The annual Guitars by Hand luthiers show, topped off with an evening concert, returns on Oct. 13 to Errington hall, where each custom-made instrument has a story.
One of those stories comes from Sooke luthier Reuben Forsland (Joi Guitars) whose Harmonic Hendrix Home Guitars are made using wood, paint and nails from Jimi Hendrix’s childhood home.
One of these guitars (Forsland plans on making 10 and is getting ready to make the fourth) will be on display at Errington War Memorial Hall (1390 Errington Rd.) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., along with many other guitars, ukuleles, lutes, banjos, dulcimers, harps and other stringed instruments made by luthiers from the Island, Gulf Islands and Powell River.
Following the show is a concert at 8 p.m., where guitarist Marc Atkinson and his trio will headline, with performances also from violinist Cameron Wilson and an opening from the New Generation Jazz Quartet.
Tickets to the concert are $20, with ages six to 12 getting in for $5 and those under six free. They can be purchased at Cranky Dog Music in Parksville, Heaven on Earth Natural Foods in Qualicum Beach, at the Errington General Store and online at erringtonhall.tickit.ca.
The Guitars by Hand show is free to check out.
Making a guitar from the baseboards and floorboards of a house is not the most conventional or easy notion, but Forsland was on the hunt for something special when he came up with the idea.
“About May of 2014 I started looking for something special that was Hendrix that I could install into a guitar, and I found that there was a home, the only family… owned home, from Jimi’s childhood, and that there was a man who owned it, and it was dismantled and in storage,” said Forsland.
It took him six months to find the owner, but in the mean-time, Forsland was commissioned to make a guitar for Slash. “I thought it would be very cool to be able to install some of that Hendrix home in Slash’s guitar, kind of as a surprise. So I did that and he loved it.”
But, in thanking the owner of the Hendrix house, they discussed what more Forsland could do withe the wood from the house.
Working two years to get licensed through Authentic Hendrix, Forsland has since made three guitars, but plans on making 10 total.
Going through the pieces of the house and finding the best wood for the guitars was a challenge, said Forsland. He ultimately chose seven-inch fir baseboards from Hendrix’s room for the guitar tops, and fir floorboards from the bedroom and the living room (where the Hendrix family’s record player was kept) for the neck.
Forsland also used nails removed from the wood as in-layed fret markers, electric copper wiring from the home as smaller fret markers on the side of the neck, and paint scraped off the wood as part of the rosette around the sound hole.
For the sides and back of the guitar, Forsland used African Blackwood to honour Hendrix’s heritage.
“The are fantastic sounding guitars,” said Forsland, noting the fir wood looked to be old-growth based on the high grain count and age of the home, making for a good tonewood.
Use of the African Blackwood also helped, as it’s “on par with any of the best woods in the world, acoustically,” he said.
“It’s killer stuff. It sounds amazing.”
The price for purchasing one of the guitars comes out at $25,000, said Forsland. He added that a large portion of that money will go to the Jimi Hendrix Park Foundation in Seattle.
For more info on Forsland’s work, check out joiguitars.com.
Forsland is just one of the many luthiers who will be at the Guitars by Hand show Oct. 13 at Errington Hall, running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.