The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

SOLD! John Larrivee Classical Guitar, 1969

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Here’s a historical piece – a very early Larrivee classical guitar, built during 1969 in Toronto when John Larrivee was studying with Edgar Monch. This is one of Larrivee’s very first guitars, as evidenced by the label. These first labels were hand typeset, and had not one but two spelling errors, in both the first and last names!

Built to undeniably European specifications, this guitar clearly shows the influence of Edgar Monch. At this point, Larrivee was working from his home and had not yet taken on any staff, most of whom have turned out to be among Canada’s top luthiers. That group includes Grit Laskin, David Wren and Linda Manzer.   We invite you to click the manufacturer’s link below,  which leads to a Larrivee photo archive from those early days. 

This early Larrivee is built with a Sitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood for the back, sides, headplate, backstrap and bridge, Mahogany for the neck and Ebony for the fingerboard. It has heavy lacquer checking and a few repaired, cleated cracks in the top.

The original hard shell case is included.

Grant MacNeill owns a slightly later Larrivee Classical, built in 1970. Here are his comments about that guitar, which also apply to this one:

“First it is a slipper foot heel, something that officially John never did but he apprenticed with Edgar Mönch who would always have used a slipper foot. So, clearly John was not quite ready to make the leap to a dovetail. No doubt he must have soon after this guitar was built as I’ve never seen another slipper foot on a Larrivee classical. Mönch and Larrivee both used the fake slipper foot which actually conceals a dovetail.

This guitar is 650mm scale. All of John’s classicals in the 70s and 80s…the golden era of Larrivee classical guitars…were all 664mm long-scale. This 664mm was the typical Spanish Ramirez scale of the time.

Everybody has returned to the “German” 650mm scale which would have been what Mönch would have been doing. The huge leaps in string quality means that nobody is interested in the long 664 scale any longer

The back of the neck has a Mönch style head-splice joint and ebony reinforcement strip down the back…again these are not seen on later Larrivée

So from these features, John was clearly still strongly under the sway of Edgar Mönch and emulating what he learned from him.

The workmanship is very clean. The joinery and binding is tight and very well fitted. This is a guitar that was truly built by John himself from beginning to end without any input from Dave Wren, Grit Laskin, George Gray, Linda Manzer or his other staff. Each and every part was personally fitted by him as he had no staff until after 1970.

Last…the spelling of Larrivee on the label is wrong…spelled as ”Larrive”.

I asked John about this and he remembered that the darned printer (those weren’t his words…grin) got it wrong and John could not afford a reprint for several months. I gather he is still a little annoyed at that printer!!! “

Price: $1950 CAD
  • Model: Classical
  • Year: 1969
  • Finish Gloss
  • Class: Vintage
  • Country of Origin: Canada
  • Condition: Fair
  • Date Posted: 15/08/2018

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITIES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 3.43lbs 1.56kg
  • Scale Length: 650mm 25.6in
  • Nut Width: 52mm 2.04in
Larrivee Website

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