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Luthiers Beyond Limits

It is the record of successful group exhibition at the winter NAMM show 2018.

Alquier guitars. Beauregard guitars. Klein guitars. Matsuda guitars. Pagelli guitars. Tao guitars.

Here is the official statement text, wrote by Ed Kellere.

Every guitar is a kind of myth made real. Every guitarist discovers the myths surrounding their instrument and builds on them- the musician becomes a vector for those myths:  a conduit for sound, working with the guitar. A great luthier recognizes these sounds, playing techniques, the ensemble of gestures, and fuses them together with a design aesthetic, recombining the parts to produce an extraordinary instrument.  

THE LUTHIERS:  Alquier, Beauregard, Klein, Matsuda, Pagelli, & Tao

Luthiers Beyond Limits are a new association of visionary  builders who have, collectively, advanced the contemporary benchmark for design.  They formed this group to exhibit together based on their mutual respect for and recognition of the innovations they have all made. In the past decade [and more] they have been at the forefront in design thinking and ‘breaking the mold’ of guitar design.

It is often said when a group like this assembles [and it is true]: collectively they hold centuries’ worth of hands-on knowledge and mastery, and thousands of years of wisdom. They look forward, too: the Luthiers beyond Limits group champions an evolutionary approach to sound, material, design, feel, ergonomics, technique, gesture, image and myth all together.

Across their work, they connect all the histories of the instrument- acoustic and electric, flattop steel, classical, jazz, archtop [and other instruments, of course];  they also think outside the domain of design that guitar builders traditionally look at: learning from the design of architecture, bridges, Japanese cabinetry and woodwork, hot rod car culture, the fabrication of classical cellos and violins, applied mathematics and physics; and of course the ‘space age’, looking both in rear view mirror to the Stratocaster [and its minimalist optimization of fabrication process, as well as the Strat’s always futuristic design] and forward to cutting edge uses of CNC, aerospace glues, carbon fiber, nomex- and bamboo, for a CO2 neutral footprint.  

In each of those jumps to other disciplines, these designers reveal a set of techniques and material innovations that has changed the sound- and myth- of the guitar for all of us. They have identified, in a very trans-modern way, our modes of playing and listening- the ensemble of the guitar’s familiar sounds and gestures- and they go beyond, to discover and unfold new sounds, techniques, gestures, aesthetics for the guitar.

Luthiers Beyond Limits has chosen the first hexagram from the I GING Book of Changes [Ch’ien with its six lines] as the image to represent their association ‘Beyond Limits’.


‘The first hexagram is made up of six unbroken lines. These unbroken lines

stand for the primal power, which is light-giving, active, strong, and of the

spirit… Its energy is represented as unrestricted by any fixed conditions in space…’

‘Hidden form is the master of visible form.’

Heraclitus, fragment 54

“There is an invisible universe within the visible one, a world of causes within the world of effects. There is force within matter, and the two are one, and are dependent for their existence on a third, which is the mysterious cause of their existence. There is a world of soul within a world of matter, and the two are one, and caused by the world of spirit. “

The Life of Paracelsus, F. Hartmann

Both Heraclitus and Paracelsus [the 15th century scientist and philosopher] suggested that there might be a ‘hidden form’ in all things;  these guitars explore that hidden form, and make it a reality.

In all these luthiers’ work, a profound time travel is operational. The guitars look deeply into the history of our instrument, and bring that history forward to utterly reinvent it.  At the same time, they anticipate the music which will emerge from a truly alchemical project, and look forward, inviting this music into our world. No doubt they will be as surprised by that music as we will be.