Jean Larrivée began building guitars in the 1960s in Toronto, Canada. He had studied classical guitar but was working as an auto mechanic when he apprenticed with a classical guitar luthier, Edgar Münch Sr. Jean credits Edgar with teaching him all the essential elements of guitar building, using mostly old-school methods with hand tools. Jean says that it was during this apprenticeship that he developed the designs and techniques that the Larrivée workshops still use today.
Here is Jean as a young man shaping a guitar neck with hand tools.
Jean worked under Edgar's direction for several years, but when Edgar returned to Germany Jean struck out on his own. The business gradually grew, and he moved the workshop from Toronto to a series of larger and larger workshops in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In 2001, Jean opened an additional workshop in Oxnard, California to be closer to his US customer base. The Vancouver workshop closed during the recession of 2008, so all Larrivée guitars are now produced in the Oxnard workshops.
Now in his 70s, Jean continues to be fully involved in guitar production, constantly experimenting with tooling and production techniques.
Edgar Münch, with whom Jean apprenticed as a young man, was an accomplished classical guitar player and builder. It is no accident, then, that Jean has adapted many of the characteristics of nylon-string classicals in his steel-string designs.
For example, many of his steel-string models are built with the symmetrical X-bracing seen in this photo, a construction technique more often found in classical guitars.
Every Larrivée guitar starts as pieces of wood. Jean Larrivée prides himself on the quality of the wood used in his guitars. In fact, other guitar makers often purchase wood from his collection. Refusing to rely on brokers and dealers, Jean travels personally to wood sources worldwide to select tonewoods that meet his high standards. By traveling to the source and building personal relationships, Jean can locate and acquire wood supplies that are of of the best quality.
In this photo, Jean is selecting pieces of Indian rosewood from a small sawmill in India.
As of November 18, 2022 we have the following Larrivée instruments in stock. Click on a model or just scroll down to see descriptions and photos of each instrument.
Custom orders are also possible. Contact us if you are interested.
We had a bit of fun with this particular OM-03R from our friends at Larrivee. Upgraded custom features include: Bearclaw Sitka spruce top, glossy top finish, and abalone rosette. These 3 extras dress the guitar up a bit from the standard variety and the glossy bearclaw Sitka with the abalone rosette really 'pops.'
The maple binding on the body and neck is also an attractive feature. A great overall guitar for many styles, the OM paired with these tone woods is a winning combo. Strum away, or fingerpick to your heart's delight, this guitar should handle whatever you throw at it. It's already displaying immediate warmth in the tone, a good sign of things to come. Asking $2,299.00 with hardshell case included.
- Made in Oxnard, CA
- OM body style
- Solid Bearclaw Sitka spruce top with gloss finish
- Solid Indian rosewood back and sides
- Abalone rosette
- Tortoise pickguard
- Maple body and neck binding
- Multi-strip top purfling
- Mahogany neck with satin finish
- Ebony bridge and fingerboard
- Pearl dot inlays
- 25-1/2 inch scale
- 1-3/4 inch nut width
- Bone nut
- Compensated bone saddle
- Chrome tuning machines
- Hardshell case included
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