Jean Larrivée

Jean (Jean-Claude) Larrivée. Guitar builder, b Montreal 6 Jun 1944. A mechanic by training and for three years a guitar pupil of Robert Neveu at the RCMT, Larrivée apprenticed as a guitar builder intermittently during the mid-1960s with Edgar Münch, a German builder then living in Toronto.

Larrivée, Jean

Jean (Jean-Claude) Larrivée. Guitar builder, b Montreal 6 Jun 1944. A mechanic by training and for three years a guitar pupil of Robert Neveu at the RCMT, Larrivée apprenticed as a guitar builder intermittently during the mid-1960s with Edgar Münch, a German builder then living in Toronto. Larrivée also worked in New York with Manuel Valasquez before opening his own studio in Toronto in 1968. His production reached about 30 instruments a year at this time. After guidance from Matt Umanov in New York, he began making steel-string instruments in 1970, modifying the Martin design. In 1977 Larrivée moved to Victoria, BC, establishing a workshop which by 1979 had 16 workers and an annual production of 1000 guitars. He relocated the company, Jean Larrivée Guitar Ltd, in North Vancouver in 1982, and subsequently produced steel-string guitars (in several body shapes and sizes) in the main, but also double basses. In 2001 Larrivée opened a second factory in Oxnard, California, where he oversees the production of gloss finish acoustic guitars. His son, John Larrivée Jr., manages the Vancouver plant which produces the satin finish instruments. Among Larrivée's early apprentices were Sergei DeJonge, George Gray, Grit Laskin, Linda Manzer, and David Wren.


Further Reading

  • Laskin, Grit. 'An interview with Jean Larrivée,' Mariposa Folk Festival Newsletter, Mar 1975

    Morgan, Zak. 'The Larrivée tradition of handmade Canadian guitars,' Canadian Folk Music Journal, vol 23, 1995