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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Paldacci Guitars

The weight of Tradition: a crucial thing for me - PART 1

In this article, I will talk about an important topic: Tradition. A lot of things are in correlation with it, in the art of guitarbuilding. I'll probably make other articles about this subject, because it is a pretty vast topic.

Big Leaf maple & Madagascar Rosewood

I've always been fascinated by the art of tradition. I think this is the reason why I love Japan so much, because the respect they have for it is pretty intense. So, when we are talking about that, there are many topics where it apply: design, woods, woodworking-technics, tools... I've always been fond of old brands like Martin, Fender or Gibson, because they wrote history with their iconic instrument-designs. Telecaster, Stratocaster, Les Paul, Flying V, OM, Dreadnought, are pillars of our guitar-world.

As luthier, I had the choice to go in the world of the traditional lutherie and build instruments directly inspired by these monoliths... or the contemporary way. Let's be clear, I am not John Monteleone, Michihiro Matsuda or Ervin Somogyi who are some of the best designers I know. They built a strong identity and influenced generations of luthiers for a while now. I just try to find my way in the world of the guitarbuilding, respecting the work of my peers. It is very difficult to find an original design, and to draw the line beetween inspiration and plagiarism. To avoid this last one, you need to be well awared of other's work, because it is easy to be trapped and make something too similar with another's.

Benjamin Paldacci Headstock, Constellation Series, front.

Benjamin Paldacci Headstock, Constellation Series, back.

Now we talked about Design, it is important to enlight the weight of wood species, in the tradition of instrument-making history. For centuries, crafts(wo)men used rosewoods from many places in the world. India, Brazil, Amazon, Madagascar, Panama... and many more. Unfortunately, over-exploitation made things terrible and it became ethically hard to justify that you built an instrument with this kind of furniture. There are many alternatives today, who give us the opportunity to build amazing guitars, with material as precious as rosewoods... but when we are looking at Indian rosewood, the vast majority of the wood we could buy on the market comes from plantations. So, it is not unethical to use it (and it have amazing properties). When we are talking about maple or Walnut who are supposed to be more ethical, let's not forget that it take a while for these trees to reach the "mature point" of their growth. After all, whatever the wood I'm using, I have a responsability to supply myself as ethically as possible and to keep in my mind that traditionaly or not, I must respect many things to have the right to be called "luthier".

Benjamin Paldacci

Benjamin Paldacci Guitars

Panamean RW, Madagascar RW, Big Leaf maple, Claro Walnut

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