William Laskin has earned international renown in part due to the startling visual impact of the graphic inlay work that highlights his instruments. Departing completely from traditional guitar aesthetics, he has pioneered such diverse and unusual materials as azurite, coral, camel bone and Tahitian black pearl. He has the uncanny ability to breath life into his subjects using unconventional acid oxidizing techniques. His fluid images are modern, almost surrealistic. His stimulating inlay seminars have attracted artisans from across the continent. In 1995 Larry Robinson wrote the definitive book on inlay, featuring Laskin’s work.
Inlay is just one of the visual attributes of a Laskin instrument. The wood worker in me has always been delighted with William’s flawlessly executed design details. Seamless mitred marquetry leads the eye past exotic woods, to outline a perimeter of classic proportions. His radical “armrest” flows out of the traditional guitar shape like a cresting wave. It has been universally embraced by even the purists of the classical guitar world as a significant ergonomic improvement. He melts form and function together into a whole that is rarely seen outside of nature.
While Laskin’s inlay work has set new standards for his contemporaries and his craftsmanship earned credibility and respect globally, it is the astonishing sonic properties of his instruments that have secured his place as a world class luthier. An accomplished musician, composer and recording artist himself, Laskin has developed a highly evolved ear for the nuances associated with concert grade instruments. His complete grasp of the physics involved in modes of vibration and resonant frequencies guide him as he conceptualizes and executes more and more departures from mainstream lutherie.
It is a curious collection of talents one needs to excel in the world of instrument making. Laskin exhibits the precise ordered mind of a seasoned mastercraftsman, yet time after time shows the courage to take an artistic “leap in the dark”. This is a person who is realizing his dream of propelling the acoustic guitar to a new evolutionary plane.