Category Archive: Interviews

Enchanting harmony: Valenti Guitars’ celestial-inspired craftsmanship – an interview with Luigi Valenti

In celebration of’s 15-year collaboration milestone with the world’s foremost luthiers, we have had the privilege of joining forces with extraordinary craftsmen who push the limits of guitar making to new horizons. In this interview, we dive into the world of Luigi Valenti of Valenti Guitars, an extraordinary luthier whose guitars embody unwavering passion, meticulous attention to detail, and a deep understanding of what makes an instrument genuinely exceptional.

Luigi Valenti – Photo courtesy of Kelly from Selectron, UK

In a world where conformity often prevails, it takes immense courage to venture down an unconventional path and pursue a career in luthiery. Luigi Valenti’s journey is a testament to the power of following your passion, embracing the challenges, and staying true to your craft. Aspiring luthiers can draw inspiration from Luigi’s unwavering dedication and commitment to excellence. His story reminds us that taking the road less traveled, though arduous at times, can lead to extraordinary achievements and personal fulfillment. So, let us celebrate the courageous craftsmen who dare to forge their own way, shaping the world of music one instrument at a time.

Join us as we explore Luigi’s journey, his inspirations, and the remarkable artistry he brings to Valenti Guitars.

When did you first develop an interest in music and instruments, and what sparked your passion for luthiery?

I have been around music and guitars since I was 8; my parents wanted me to try playing a musical instrument, and I was undecided between Saxophone and Guitar. Ultimately, the sax was deemed too loud for indoor playing, so my parents went for a more gentle classical guitar. With ups and downs, I kept playing throughout my teenage years, switching to electric when I discovered Metallica, and it all spiraled down from there. My interest in Luthiery started around 20 when I modded and adjusted my guitar. I loved that aspect, and in the end, it took me so badly that now I have no time for playing! You have to pick one of the two to do it seriously.

Nebula Carved Semihollow N106

Can you share your training and education journey in the field, including any courses, workshops, or apprenticeships you have taken?

I learned the basics on my own, studying manuals and old Italian violin-making books; I was also lucky enough to start a BA course in Physics that gave me a lot more technical insights on the craft rather than just trial and error knowledge. After about two years and only three instruments made -with very few tools and skills I got an apprenticeship at Crimson Guitars in the UK. I stayed there for about a year; during this period, I learned a lot and made tons of mistakes, but I am also happy and proud to say that I have helped the brand develop its first production guitars series and its first models of pickups. When I returned to Italy, Valenti Guitars started immediately, and the real journey began. I also took a Master in Engineering of Musical Instruments at the University of Ancona in 2019, which helped me understand various other aspects of the physics and mathematics behind a guitar. I must say that I keep studying and learning to this day, as I think it is always a fundamental aspect of any craft.

Callisto model – carved top in Cocobolo

Can you walk us through your journey to becoming a professional luthier, including any challenges you faced and how you overcame them?

The most demanding aspect of my experience is the uncompromised dedication to the craft. Pretty much all my energies go into getting better at what I do; I spent years reinvesting almost all my profits in getting better machinery, better woods, and stock material, leaving little to nothing for myself. This also happens to this day sometimes. This, paired with almost no rest, drains you and takes you away from family and loved ones, and I find it very difficult to give myself a break unless my body physically demands it. The thing is that I don’t have any limit on the things I like: it is either 0% or 100%, and there is nothing in between. I think that this is why the brand got so well renowned so quickly, so it is both a blessing and a course, but it is how I do things.

Celestial bodies heavily inspire your building philosophy. Can you elaborate on how this influences your approach to crafting guitars, including your design aesthetic, choice of materials, and techniques used?

This goes back to my Physics studies and my love for Space overall. I love the balance, complexity, and sometimes clear simplicity of what happens there. To me, a musical instrument is all about balance, the harmony of shapes, elegance through logic, and defined rules; the beauty of this is that you can apply it both to the aesthetic aspect and the tonal response and playability. These are the rules I always follow.

A pair of Valenti Nebula. Photo by dealer GAK in the UK

Can you please describe your signature style and what sets your guitars apart? We see you offer true temperament on all your instruments. Would you mind elaborating on this feature?

As I said earlier, I like balance and harmony. To me, an electric guitar must be something elegant that transpires mannered luxury. There is a fine line between vulgar ostentation and reasoned display of beauty; I always aim to be in the latter. This is for what concerns the general aesthetics.
For the more technical aspects, I am a firm believer that we must know extremely well the processes of past builders and traditional ways of doing things; then, thanks to our new technologies and knowledge, we must implement and take everything a step further, always trying to improve over what’s existing. This is why I have an Uruboro in my logo: we always have to start from the beginning, move from there to reach another improved baseline, then repeat the process when needed. 

The True Temperament system is an excellent example: any experienced guitarist knows and hears that the guitar is not a perfectly tuned instrument. The frets position is an average of where the note should be, but it is not 100% accurate. The wiggly frets on a TT fretboard eliminate this problem, placing each note where it is supposed to be for each string, delivering a guitar that is as in tune as a piano. I really like the concept, but I must say you must have good hearing and experience in playing to understand, appreciate, and properly use this feature. Again it is a matter of balance.

Are there other places you draw inspiration from, whether musical influences, architecture, or other art forms?

Absolutely. All my shapes (even the ones not yet launched) follow the rules of symmetry defined by Renaissance painters and mathematicians, the top carvings on my Nebula and Callisto are a direct inspiration from my trip to Cremona, when I saw in person the violins and cellos from Stradivarius, Guarnieri, and Amati. No matter what, our eyes and brains are hardwired to recognize certain lines and proportions as nice and pleasing, and I try to follow those who put them in words and reason those feelings. 

Nebula Carved Semihollow

What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards of being a luthier, and how do you balance the creative and technical aspects of the craft?

I think that this is nowadays an extremely saturated field. There are thousands of skilled luthiers worldwide, and the internet puts everyone on the same level. You must stand out excellently, with almost no room for mistakes. Also, you need to create instruments with the character without being too eccentric; it is a difficult task considering the number of options out there.

Regarding creativeness and technicalities, I think that the most crucial aspect that must be taken into consideration is that my job is to provide a baseline layout of the instrument that represents what my experience and knowledge think is best. After that, all my skills must be at the service of the client’s needs. My job is to advise on the best path to achieve the demanded instrument’s characteristics; my preferences at this stage must be minimal. I can only focus on the technical aspect to deliver a perfect instrument for the client. The creativity kicks in when, after all the information is gathered, you must assemble them, following the rules previously mentioned. Sometimes it is challenging, but I enjoy this aspect of the process.

Callisto Carved top

What are your future goals for your business, and are there any new projects or collaborations you have planned?

Currently, the goal is to consolidate brand awareness across the main markets; This will also be done thanks to the great collaborations with Selectron for the UK and Kanda Shokai for Japan. These are my two main distributors, and I sincerely appreciate their trust in my work. Having a limited amount of instruments I can build during the year, it is paramount to collaborate with people that share the same view and love for the brand.
I am also developing some new models, which are almost at the finishing touches, and will surely be worth checking out once they’re ready (Single cut anyone?).

To conclude, can you share any final thoughts or advice for aspiring luthiers?

If you are willing to follow this path, remember it is a long, challenging journey. If you want this to be your job, you must be prepared to invest 100% of yourself in it to be successful, and sometimes this might not even be enough for the most strange reasons. But this can apply to anything, really. Apart from this, study, experiment, learn from mistakes, and be as objective as possible toward your final results. Focus on the flaws of your work, not the good things, and I wish you all the best.

Thank you for joining us on this captivating journey into the world of Luigi Valenti and Valenti Guitars. We sincerely thank our viewers for their time and interest in this exclusive interview. continues to be a global platform that celebrates the finest instruments and the exceptional talents of luthiers and boutique builders worldwide. If you are a luthier or builder passionate about crafting exquisite instruments, we invite you to join our esteemed community. Showcase your craftsmanship and connect with a discerning audience that appreciates the artistry and dedication behind every instrument.

Join, one of the largest and oldest platforms for the world’s most exceptional instruments.

Lorenzo Fugazza Showcases the Nebula 6 Carved Top model by Valenti Guitars, amplified through a Paul Amp from Diezel Amplification.
Situated at Oscar Guitars in Stockholm during the V&R Boutique Guitar Show, this demo combines the music of Lorenzo Fugazza with the craftsmanship of Valenti Guitars. The video production, executed by Nicolai von Cotta-Schønberg exclusively for, captures the essence of these remarkable instruments.

From Noise Rock to Aluminum Guitars: The Journey of Luthier David Giot

Aluminum guitars have continued to be produced by various luthiers and companies over the years, often appreciated for their unique tonal characteristics, sustain, and eye-catching aesthetics. While not as common as wood guitars, they have carved out a niche in the market for those seeking unconventional and innovative instrument designs.

Today, modern luthiers like David Giot continue to explore the possibilities of aluminum in guitar construction, pushing the boundaries of design and sound. Their dedication to craftsmanship and ability to incorporate aluminum into their instruments contribute to the ongoing history and evolution of aluminum guitars in the music industry.

From the bustling noise rock scene to the realm of aluminum guitars, David Giot has forged a remarkable journey as a luthier. With a background in science and IT, David’s passion for music and instruments led him to explore the world of guitar building. His fascination with aluminum neck guitars eventually led him to create his own prototypes and establish TTTides guitars. David shares his experiences, challenges, and unique approach to crafting personalized instruments in this interview. Join us as we delve into the creative mind of David Giot, uncovering the artistry and innovation behind his aluminum axes.

Can you tell us about yourself and your background as a luthier?

My name is David Giot, and I am 44 years old. I grew up in Cherbourg, French Normandy.
Almost all of my parents and friends worked in the submarine industry.
The sharing of their knowledge in metal and alloys is, until today, very helpful in my building technique. I studied technical drawing mathematics and machine automation in Rennes (french Brittany) and worked later for the Space Agency in Munich and on projects for the European Commission in Luxembourg.

When did you first develop an interest in music and instruments, and what sparked your passion for luthiery?

The noise rock scene in Cherbourg and Rennes was huge, and I had the chance to share that same passion with many people (Big up to Kfuel!, studio Chaudelande).
I played guitar in different noise rock bands, and I dreamt about owning an aluminum neck guitar one day. I ended up building my own aluminum neck guitar in my garage, with the help of my father, and continued building other prototypes for my friends playing in noisy rock bands. That was 18 years ago.
Also, until now and since 2004, I have had a small record label called Whosbrain Records; this was, obviously, a way to build up a good relationship among the noise rock community.

Can you share your training and education journey in the field, including any courses, workshops, or apprenticeships you have taken?

I learned how to deal with CNC automation machines at school, how to use 3D design software programs, but also I learned new techniques alone, etc…
The Internet is a wonderful thing to use to learn something. I did a lot of
prototypes and practiced different techniques for 15 years before launching TTTides guitars. Lots of try & errors were made back then.

Can you walk us through your journey to becoming a professional luthier, including any challenges you faced and how you overcame them?

After a career in science and IT, I wanted to get more control over my life and so my girlfriend suggested I go ahead and try what I always wanted to do, i.e., build aluminum neck instruments.
Also got the support of Heiko from OKKOFX and Don Vito, whom I share a beer with from time to time when they are on tour (Cheers, Heiko !).
He tried my first model02 prototype, liked it, and then pushed the brand to a nice forum called “aluminum axes” on Facebook.
About the challenges, Honestly, they were to set up a good working environment at first. It is still sometimes a struggle to have a nice way of organizing the workshop because I have never been an apprentice in such an environment. But I am trying every day to improve at cleaning and ordering stuff.

Can you describe your signature style and what sets your guitars apart from others?

I mostly think aluminum guitars should be neck-through.
So 95% of my guitars are neck through, and even a bit more as the aluminum goes for the headstock until the tail of the body.
I also came up with the panfront alu design, which is a guitar that has the neck and the front part of the body milled from one big piece of aluminum. The headstock is also pretty unique. And apart from that headstock , everything can be customized.

Can you share your experience with custom orders and how you approach working with clients to create a unique and personalized guitar?

I don’t have a click and buy approach (even though i might need to go this way soon). I prefer to talk to the customer about their needs etc …So I like to refine the specs with people about their project (they mostly know what they want anyway).

But regarding custom guitars, having to talk to the client before they buy is a natural way of filtering the compulsive purchases. The waiting list is also here to ensure that customers are 100% wanting their custom guitars.

I really don’t want to contribute to flooding the world with aluminum guitars (don´t get me wrong they are nice,  but they need to stay unique in a sense).

I also want to stay competitive in terms of prices , these guitars are quite expensive but I am trying to make them “affordable”.

What are some of the biggest challenges and rewards of being a luthier, and how do you balance the creative and technical aspects of the craft?

The biggest challenges are the attention to every detail… also machining a guitar and then finishing it by hand is a risky business 🙂
But having my guitars played live by bands I listen to and admire is really rewarding. Also, having clients ordering several guitars from me is something special.
Like this, you build a kind of relationship that is unique.
Most of the creativity comes from the customer themselves; I don’t take credit for those crazy ideas. I just try to implement them the best I can.

What are your future goals for your business, and are there any new projects or collaborations you have planned?

My goal is simple: try to continue my way with no growth, nothing crazy. Of course, I try to ameliorate my workshop and improve my working procedure.
I would like to have a bit more time to try new things, like some semi-hollow alu guitars (cheers Laurie !).
The collaborations with bands continue, and more will also happen (even if I am a bit late on that…).

To conclude, can you share any final thoughts or advice for aspiring luthiers, particularly those who are interested in incorporating aluminum into their work?

If you want to get into building aluminum instruments, do it for a good reason. Music and life around music should always be the main motivation for building instruments.
I guess, there are no special rules to get into it; it can be done with CNCs but also by hand, why not.
Cheers !

Thank you for joining us on this insightful journey into the world of luthier David Giot and his remarkable aluminum guitars. We hope you’ve been inspired by his passion, dedication, and innovative craftsmanship. From his humble beginnings to becoming a renowned figure in the music industry, David’s story reminds us of the transformative power of following one’s dreams.

We extend our sincere gratitude to you, our valued viewers, for taking the time to delve into this interview. Your support and engagement fuel our commitment to bringing you captivating stories and interviews. We invite you to continue exploring the rich tapestry of music, artistry, and craftsmanship that resonates within the world of luthiery. Thank you for being part of our journey.

1959 Fender Stratocaster – An inspirational story on paying it forward

Pay It Forward

Mickey “Guitar” Baker gave his 1959 Fender Stratocaster to Ivan Horn on one condition. To pass it on to another guitar player when his time came. Sadly, Ivan Horn, passed away earlier this year since cancer had taken over. Shortly before his death he called Rune Funch and met him in a cafe and told Rune that he was the one to now own the Stratocaster…on the same condition.

We heard this story through friends of V&R and thought this was such a beautiful and an inspirational story that we got in contact with Rune and asked if he would tell us the full story on camera. Rune agreed, which we are very thankful for, and below you can see and hear Rune lay it out in his own words. We full this story is important to tell and it´s something we could all learn a great lesson from.

Documented in dedication, deep respect and memory of Ivan Horn and Mickey “Guitar” Baker.

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Kopo Guitars Linen Fiber L1 Ouessant Acoustic Guitar

Holy Grail Guitar Show in Berlin marks an annual highlight for hand built guitars & basses from luthiers from all over the world. And this year was no exception.

It has been on our scope for years to get an interview with Fred on camera – and this year we finally managed to sit down with him and talk guitars and guitar building.

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Andy Baxter Bass & Guitars: Q&A

Could you please tell us a little bit about Andy Baxter Bass & Guitars and where you are located? How long have you been in the business?

 Andy Baxter Bass & Guitars was set up in my own name in 2009, at that time I was running the small business from the living room of my flat in East London. By 2011 the business had outgrown the flat so I set up shop in our first proper showroom in Andrew Weatherall’s recording studio on Scrutton Street in Shoreditch, which allowed me to expand even more.  Most recently in 2015 I moved in to the new showroom at 152-154 Hoxton Street, London, N1 6SH. Over the years Andy Baxter Bass & Guitars has established a name as the best place to shop for vintage basses in the UK and recently added vintage 6 string electric & acoustic guitars along with amplification to the inventory. I have always maintained the ‘by appointment only’ approach, as I feel this helps to keep the customers’ buying experience personal as well as allowing the right work/lifestyle balance for myself – that way everyone is happy. Continue reading

Mirabella Guitars interview Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015

Interview w. Cristian Mirabella at Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015.

We had the pleasure of meeting up with luthier, Cristian Mirabella, of Mirabella Guitars from New York in Berlin during Holy Grail Guitar Show 2015. On this video Cristian tells us a little bit about the history around him as a builder and also tells us a bit about one of this unique creations that he brought to the show. Guitarplayer, Ratko Zjaca, was kind to lend his time to demo the guitar.

“Mirabella Guitars and Restorations specializes in the creation of fine stringed instruments, the recreation of exact reproduction vintage pick guards and parts, as well as custom one of a kind parts and inlay work.” 

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Mika Vandborg: On His Guitars & Gear

mika vandborg pic 2

Photographer: Palle Schultz

Mika Vandborg is a Danish Guitarist. He has released 3 solo albums “Under The Sun”, “2010” & “Wall Of Books”. He changed his solo project to “Future Garage Sale Item” in 2006 and released the record “Future Garage Sale Item” in 2007. Mika also plays guitar in Love Shop and has recorded the last two records “Frelsens Hær” and “Skandinavisk Lyst”. Mika Vandborg & Søren Andersen have together started the projetct “Guitar Event” in March 2013. He has been a steady member of Gnags since 1999 and plays both on the records and live. Mika has worked with Dicte since 2004, also here both on the records and live. Mika is also a part of the project Dicte/Hempler. Furthermore, he has played live on records and tours with many different artists and bands.

Could you please tell us a bit about how you got into playing music in the first place? Do you remember any specific moment that sparked your interest in music and when was that?

I started playing the guitar because I heard Jimi Hendrix on the radio when I was 9 years old. I called my dad and said: “What’s that” and he goes: “Oh it’s Jimi” and pulls out a record full of naked women called “Electric Ladyland” that changed my life, and I decided that I wanted to play guitar for a living.

Could you explain to us why you initially got into the genre you’re currently playing? What musicians and bands inspired you the most over the years.

Again, it all started with Jimi and then came all the blues legends, especially B.B. King and Muddy Waters (Electric Mud). Eric Clapton and Ocean Boulevard was the soundtrack to my childhood. Along with Bob Dylan, The Band, Stones, J.J. Cale, The Doors. I guess that music shaped who I am. Over the years I have had different periods with AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy, Bryan Adams, and also old school funk like Sly & The Family Stones and George Clinton.

Can you tell us about the gear you’re using, and why? What is your main guitars, amps and effects?

Vox AC 30 TB is my all time favorite amp, but I also play Marshall JMP45 and Fender Super Reverb Amp. Vox is a crazy amp, it can solve any gig and fits right in where there’s space in the music – I love it. Marshall… Well, what can I say, for rock music it’s just perfect.The Fender Super Reverb amp is very clean and cuts like a knife.

Main guitars:

Telecaster with Bigsby 1968 or 69 don’t remember. Maybe the guitar that I play most gigs with. Like the Vox it’s an instrument with personality and big “work range”.

Stratocaster 1957 – Amazing guitar. So crystal clear and full of overtones. A dream come true guitar.

Les Paul 1968 and 1974. Full body but not heavy, because they both got pick-ups from 330 gibson from the late 60’is

Gibson SG 1968, aggressive piece of wood, full of tone and at the same time blues.


Hughes & Kettner “Tube Factor” is my all time favorit drive stomp box.

Crybaby and T-rex Gull Wah.

Fuzz – there’s a lot but I seem to come back and use Roger Mayer.

Does the gear you play live differ from the gear you’re using in the studio?

No, it’s the same. I got 3-4 different set-ups from big 16 loops T-rex system to old school “boards”. They are big, bigger and biggest…

In the video we did with you some time ago, you brought an amazing 1957 Fender Stratocaster – Could you eloborate a bit on the thoughts behind aquiring this guitar – any particular reason why you went for an original 1957 Strat?

I’ve always been dreaming of a real 57 Stratocaster, maybe because of Clapton. I remember trying a 57 at a gig, and I was like “this is the f…… best guitar I ever tried”. It’s the sound of the maple neck and the old wood + pick-ups that works so good together, the craftmanship is brilliant.

If people ask why the guitar is so expensive, I say: “Well it’s the Stradivarius of guitars. A Stradivarius violin costs about 4-5 million Dollars, so do you still think it’s expensive for the king of all guitars”?

Do you feel that new instruments lack anything compared to old instruments – how do you see this?

Well, I’m a sucker for old thing and history!!! But besides that, it’s like the vintage instrument gains personallity over the years. I tried many new guitars that was killers, but I would always choose a vintage. There’s a lot of talk about the wood and the years they have been stored, maybe it’s got something to do with it.

Are there any special guitars, brands or a models, that fit your specific sound or genre better than others, and if so, why?

I’m a traditional kind of guy so the big brands like Fender and Gibson fit me well, they sound like I wanna sound!

How important do you find the gear to be, in relation to the sound you’ re trying to produce?

It’s very important that the gear I use is the stuff I prefer, so I can make the sounds I dream of. But when that is said, I also find it funny when I end up playing on stuff I normally wouldn’t choose, because it makes me work differently, and have to compensate, which can be very musical and maybe open a door to something new.

Any new piece of gear in your arsenal of musical sound tools that you would like to give a thumbs up and why?

TC Electronic “Hall Of Fame”. That’s a GOOD reverb, I have to say.

Can you please tell us about your collaboration with Guitar Events – What is it about?

Yes!!! Guitar Events is a project I have with Soren Andersen (Gleen Hughes…). It’s a band that is founded around …surprise… Electric Guitars, and lots of it.

I released 3 solo albums. The latest is called “Wall Of Books” and came out february 2013. It’s a more quiet record with a lot of slide guitar. My earlier records are “2010” and “Under The Sun”. On those records I have a lot of guest stars like Justin Hawkins (The Darkness), Mads Langer, Ida Corr, Allan Vegenfeldt and a line up of Danish top players.

Any famous last words?

Buy the guitar you dream of, you only live once (as far as I know). Well, and please check out some of my music.

If you would like to know more about Mika Vandborg, please go to:

Mika Vandborg’s Website:

Mika Vandborg on itunes:

Guitar Event:



V&R Proudly Presents Bass Gear Ltd (UK)

We have had the pleasure of meeting our friend and partner Phil Nixon who is the owner the shop Bass Gear Ltd based in Twyford, in the outskirts of London. As the shop name suggests, it is exclusively dedicated to dealing with bass guitars and other bass gear.

At Vintage & Rare we are very happy to work with Bass Gear since their philosophy harmonize very well with ours. In the spirit of Vintage & Rare, Bass Gear focuses on bass guitars that are generally hard to find. This typically involves low volume production brands as well as iconic vintage basses. Bass Gear does not stock just anyting, but only what fits within this philosophy. Visit Bass Gear on Vintage & Rare to view a selection of world class basses for sale.

In the short video clips below you can watch Phil present himself, his shop and not least some  incredibly fine basses. Enjoy!



Marco Mendoza Interview – Thoughts & Perspectives Series

At V&R we have had the pleasure of meeting the legendary bass player Marco Mendoza. As part of our Thoughts & Perspectives Series, we have made a short interview in which he reflects on the theme of comparing yourself to other musicians. He has some very interesting thoughts on how musicians inspire and learn from each other. Enjoy.

You can learn more about Marco Mendoza here.