Passionate by music since his young age, Benoît Lavoie in Petit-Saguenay, is now a luthier of excellence that created guitars according to the needs of its customers. His secret ? It is associated with a doctor in acoustics and, together, they are studying how sound propagates in the guitar so that it sounds the best possible.
When he was a teenager, Benoît Lavoie had passions out of the ordinary. Passionate about sculpture, and a musician in his prime, the man repaired to his pleasure of old musical instruments which he had brought with him.
“The work of the wood I was always concerned. This is David Gaudreault, blacksmith for the Workshops, iron Wood, that has made me think of the violin making “, he told in an interview. Since that time, the passion of the violin lives in the heart of the Saguenois of strain. In order to truly become a luthier, Benedict has decided not to take the path conventional. Instead of going to follow a course in a school, he became an apprentice to Yvon Robert, a luthier well-known of the Saguenay.
In the early 2000s, he met Alex Boudreau, phd in acoustics. Thanks to the know of Mr. Boudreau on the science of sound, the luthier could correct the acoustics of his guitars. “We came in the research, and it has worked a long time with acoustic imaging “, explained the maker.
Benoît Lavoie has been involved in all stages of the design of the instruments. It creates parts from pieces of wood that he then assembles.
THE PROGRESS, JEANNOT LÉVESQUE
They have done several tests to develop the best acoustic guitar market. Thanks to their work, they understood that they had to move the opening of the guitar, usually at the center. On the side, this new location would create more of the bass frequencies to the source, and in addition, the musicians hear better. “Violin making, it is an equation with several parameters, and if there is a setting in the batch that is not good, the final result will not be there,” says the creator.
Mr. Lavoie has attended her first show of violin making, in 2012, to showcase its latest guitars for amateurs. “Violin making, it is a small world. Often, people have studied together and know each other. Me, I came out of nowhere, like a little new, with guitars that sounded very well, thanks to all of our research in acoustics “, has related the story of the father of the family.
Seven of his guitars were sold at this first demonstration, while the artist makes only 12 per year. This was a real success. His guitars are simple, elegant and powerful, the violin-maker with as much attention to the sound. The acoustics of the instrument is assessed throughout the assembly process.
“I think we’re the only ones in the world to compute the factor Q. This allows us to know, according to the energy we give it, the wood will be able to make us, and what type of registry it will give us back,” added the luthier. Alex Boudreau has put nearly five years to develop this calculation.
The luthier now walks to the greatness of the planet, to present his works of art, which are also useful as it is stylish. He visited Germany several times in the United States, and travels to Quebec, and to exhibit his latest guitars.
“This is not what I prefer. I’m a lot more happy when I am in my workshop with a plane and a piece of wood “, has, however, dropped the craftsman.
+ A TWO-YEAR PERIOD PRIOR TO THE DELIVERY
By creating only 12 guitars a year, some of which require more than 300 hours of work to Benoît Lavoie, the maker of Petit-Saguenay can’t afford to have too many clients. The assembly of a guitar can take considerable time, such as for the creation of a work of art.
“For a command, I always give a time limit of two years from delivery “, noted the maker. This is not necessarily the work of violin-making which takes time, but the wood that he uses should ” place “, which increases the total time of creation.
There are many steps that you can take to the luthier. He must find the material, he shapes to create the parts of the guitar.
It must then temper the pieces at the right humidity to ensure the performance of the guitar. “This is not at the level of the stages of construction that it blocks ; it is necessary to give enough time for the wood to be place in order for life to make its path “, he explained.
Then, he discusses the musicians who will use his instrument, in order to ensure that they appreciate. “This step tends to drag on, because clients must make decisions that they need to leave to mature in their spirit,” commented the artist. This gives, on average, 300 hours of work for the instrument.
On the other hand, when the artist made instruments for him, the creation time may easily be longer. He has confessed to hide some parts of guitars in his workshop, in order to decide whether to start over, one day, when it will find them.
+ MORE TOOLS
Specializing in jazz guitar, Benoît Lavoie, has the knowledge to design many other instruments. Recently, the maker has created a violin, a cello, a drum kit, an acoustic bass, an electric bass, an octave mandolin, and more !
If someone has a special request for the design of an instrument, it can call the luthier. Benoît Lavoie assembles hybrid instruments, or adapted according to the needs of musicians. “My work begins where that of the industries stop “, stressed the artist. As for specific techniques, visual, or for special instruments, the luthier is there to meet the different demands of its customers, which has led him to create much more than guitars.
It manufactures it all in his workshop in Petit-Saguenay, located in the basement of his residence. He also built this space by taking the materials of a demolished house in L’anse-Saint-Jean, which he then rebuilt on the side of the mountain to Petit-Saguenay. The original house had no basement and it was therefore necessary that Benoît Lavoie in created to install his workshop.
Interested persons may make an appointment with the artist to visit his workshop, see his dozens of creations that are on display.