By Megan Routledge.
Linda Manzer who is a Canadian master luthier renowned for her arch-top, flat top, and harp guitars, has been appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada. She currently resides in Almonte, Ontario.
Manzer was a folk singer in high school and played guitar. Her career began when she wanted a dulcimer, but she couldn't afford to buy one, so she built one from a kit. She attended two art colleges, where she studied painting. For the craft of making flattop guitars she studied with Jean Larrivée from 1974 to 1978. She went to New York in 1983 and 1984 and studied arch-top building with Jimmy D'Aquisto.
In addition to her standard models, she has designed and built by hand over 50 guitar prototypes, including soprano guitar, the first acoustic baritone guitar, she also designed the first acoustic sitar guitar plus several multi-necked harp guitars.
She has designed and built over 25 instruments for jazz musician Pat Metheny, including the Pikasso, which has 42 strings and four necks. He has played the Pikasso on many albums including Imaginary Day , What's It All About, and Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories).
He played her baritone guitar on the album One Quiet Night. Plus she built and co-designed with Metheny a limited edition of 30 handmade Metheny-Manzer signature models to celebrate a 30-year collaboration with Pat Metheny.
Professional musicians who own Manzer guitars include Julian Lage, Carlos Santana, Henrik Andersen, Stephen Fearing, Milton Nascimento, Liona Boyd, Heather Bishop, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon, Roy Patterson, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Susan Crowe, and the late Gordon Lightfoot.
Her custom designs include the 52-stringed Medusa owned by Danish musician Henrik Andersen.
Dakota Tavern, Toronto - Linda Manzer pictured with L to R: International recording artist and producer Stephen Fearing (presented with a new Manzer guitar), Stevie Connor (Founder/Editor of The Sound Cafe) and Tom Allen (broadcaster. musician and author)
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