Maker of Guitars and Other String Instruments

Laurie Williams



Laurie Williams has been called a pioneer in his use of native New Zealand timbers and while there is an element of truth to this it may be simply a desire to use what is available locally. In his words:

"Of course, I am fortunate to have available locally, some of the most uniquely beautiful, not to mention the oldest, wood in the world. How could I resist? On the other hand, I have had the incredible privilege of discovering the rich tonal potential contained in the greatest of all southern hemisphere species living today; the majestic Kauri. The path to that discovery was like a tramp in the New Zealand bush; never seeing far ahead with the progress often slow. But perseverance can bring great reward and this can be clearly heard and seen in this remarkable tone wood.

To say that building with these woods has been a challenge is an understatement. I have spent many years refining my designs and comparing my woods with the rosewoods and spruces but one of the great benefits of working with these timbers is that it has taught me to think outside the conventional wisdom and to separate myth from fact.

It is not new, but I have learnt first hand that it doesn't matter what you choose for the back and sides, it is the soundboard that is the over arching influence in producing great tone. You just can't build a great sounding instrument without a great soundboard.

I have built with many fine woods but my finest instruments continue to be those with select kauri tops.

I have been building professionally since 1992 in a one man workshop at home and my instruments are all made here from start to finish. I have built over 160 instruments to date and average ten to twelve instruments per year. It is a hands on style of building that takes me out to the forest in search of timber, felling trees, milling wood, drying it and so on all the way through to resawing back/side sets, sound boards, bracing, etc. It gives new meaning to the phrase 'personally selected tone wood'. Most of the woods I use, start out as rough sawn timber; I seldom use off the shelf products as I prefer the greater artistic control starting from the rough gives me. I cut my own solid wood purfling and binding stock as well as design and cut all shell inlays, including every logo inlayed into the headstock."

Laurie's new venture is the construction of violins, also from kauri.

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