WREN GUITAR WORKS | David Wren
David Wren is a really talented Canadian luthier who trained under Jean Larrivée along side Grit Laskin, Linda Manzer, Sergei De Jonge and Tony Duggan-Smith. Jean Larrivée spoke of David Wren saying: “He worked for me for five years, and he was by far the very best that ever worked in the shop. He is very, very talented.”
In 1973, Wren took inspiration from Irving Sloane’s “Classical Guitar Construction” and undertook an apprenticeship with Jean-Claude Larrivee. Other notable luthiers he worked with during the Larrivee workshop days were: Grit Laskin, Linda Manzer, Sergei de Jonge, Tony Duggan-Smith and George Gray. It was during this time that Wren struck up a relationship with Bruce Cockburn who ordered several custom L’arrivees in the mid 70’s including; 12 fret classical body sized steel string and later, a spruce topped, Macassar ebony back and sides affair with a Florentine (pointed) cutaway.
Wren soon struck out on his own in 1977, in a solo workshop with an annual output of 20-24 instruments. During his active period at Elmer Avenue and Oakcrest Avenue workshops, Wren produced approximately 200 instruments including Concert, Orchestra, Dreadnought flattops and carved archtop Jazz guitar. Demand was fueled by a very favourable 91/100 aggregate score in a Frets review as well as top performing artists, such as Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Browne and Joan Baez. Wren built a total of 3 instruments for Cockburn- the first with Cedar top, Indian rosewood back and sides with a Florentine cutaway, the second again in Cedar/ Indian rosewood but with a Venetian cutaway (damaged in fire) and the last, a replacement for the second was sprayed blue. Browne and Baez have 1 Wren each, Browne’s most likely with a custom Angel inlay and Baez likely influenced by a Sitka Spruce/ Brazilian Rosewood Single O sized guitar she played.
Then came a change of pace, teaming up with Grant McNeil, Wren developed the Twelfth Fret Guitarists’ Pro Shop acoustic instrument department, focussing on luthier and small shop instruments. Wren says: “Working in a retail environment that specialized in high-end acoustic guitars gave me access to a wide array of instruments from all over the world. Studying these instruments in detail … their dimensions, resonant frequencies, top graduations, plate radius details … was an education that has been invaluable to my developement as a luthier”
Late 2009, Wren restarted his lutherie career after a brief period of revision with the De Jonge family of luthiers and is now offering several models with comtempory features such as spalted wood rosettes and side ports.
Check out David’s build diary of a Concert model I recently ordered from him here.
David Wren: http://www.wrenguitarworks.com/
Interview with Jon Carroll (link)
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