Tag Archive for WREN GUITAR WORKS | David Wren | profile

David Wren. Luthier Profile

WREN GUITAR WORKS | David Wren


David Wren Guitars. Larrivee days

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 Guitars. David Wren.

David Wren guitars- Wren inlay on a concert model




Pictures & portions of text courtesy of David Wren ©
References:
Interview with Jon Carroll (link)


Errors are unintentional although we try very hard not to make them- corrections or feedback are always welcome! Guitars are property of individual owners.
Any infringement of copyright is entirely unintentional. Any copyright issues should be address to: writers@guitarbench.com. We will attempt to resolve these issues quickly. Guitars remain property of respective owners.

©Terence Tan.

<span style=”font-size: 16pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>Build Diary| David Wren | Concert Guitar Alpine/ Cocobolo
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</a><a href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/LarriveeShop1977.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6253″ title=”David Wren Guitars. Larrivee days” src=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/LarriveeShop1977.jpg” alt=”” width=”533″ height=”552″ /></a></p>

<h3 style=”text-align: center;”><strong> </strong><strong>Please Click on the pics for fullsized view!</strong></h3>
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<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>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.”</span><span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”> </span><span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>In David’s own words:</span>

<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>”During the seventies and eighties I was privileged to accept orders from performers that included Bruce Cockburn,  Jackson Browne and Joan Baez. I produced close to two hundred guitars in the old Elmer Avenue and Oakcrest Avenue shops … everything from my original Concert body style to Orchestra Models and Dreadnoughts, as well as hand carved archtop jazz guitars. </span>

<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>From 1990 until 2009 I was a partner in the Twelfth Fret Guitarists’ Pro Shop in Toronto.  My responsibilities included developing the acoustic instrument roster with special emphasis on small-shop and individual luthier brands.  From 1996 until 2009 I also developed and maintained all aspects of the store’s website.</span>

<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>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</span>

<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana;”>In September of 2009, the call to build guitars again became too loud to ignore … it was time to sharpen my chisels once again. At that point in time I was able to build an instrument with my friend Sergei de Jonge, who helped me get my woodworking chops back up to speed, and along with his daughter Joshia, taught me to French Polish. The de Jonge family’s influence can be seen in my instruments in many ways … my finish, spalted wood rosette and side port are all from Sergei de Jonge.” </span>

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<p style=”text-align: center;”><a title=”Jack Spira Ditson style guitars” href=”http://www.jackspiraguitars.com/ditsons1.jpg” target=”_blank”></a><a href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/David-Wren.jpg”><img class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6254″ title=”David Wren Guitars. David Wren.” src=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/David-Wren.jpg” alt=”” width=”436″ height=”342″ /></a></p>
<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>I have always loved the older Larrivees and over the years have come across several of David Wren’s old guitars. Balance and response in spades have been their hallmark and suffice to say my appetite for a Wren grew year after year as I played more and more great sounding Wrens. His concerts have been very very consistent and the tone from even the simpliest of Sitka/ Mahogay combinations has been great. </span>

<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>Throw in David’s delicate inlay work and I always knew a Wren would be on the cards soon. I just had to wait for the right used one to come along as David was still heavily involved in the 12fret and not building. The stage was really set when David returned to lutherie in 2009 last year and started taking orders again!
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<p style=”padding: 2px 6px 4px 6px; color: #555555; background-color: #eeeeee; border: #dddddd 2px solid;”><span style=”font-size: 16pt;”><span style=”font-size: 18pt;”><span style=”color: #800000;”>Resources: </span></span><span style=”font-size: 9pt; font-family: Verdana;”>1. Stay tuned for our upcoming interview with David Wren!
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<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>I jumped at the chance to order a new Wren and after some consultation with David, settled on his impressive Concert model and the following specs:</span>
<ul>
<li>Concert model</li>
<li>Venetian rounded Cutaway</li>
<li>Top: European Alpine Spruce</li>
<li>Back: Figured “cloud” Cocobolo (from my stash)</li>
<li>Nut width: 1 3/4″</li>
<li>Scale: 25.4″</li>
<li>Tuners: Gotoh 510s</li>
<li>Modern assymetrical frequency compensated ebony bridge</li>
<li>Bone bridge pins</li>
<li>Modern assymetrical fingerboard extension (matches radius of peghead)</li>
<li>ebony body body binding</li>
<li>Modern assymetrical peghead shape with Wren inlay on front veneer</li>
<li>Tuners: Gotoh 510 tuners : antique gold finish with ebony buttons</li>
<li>Matching peghead backstrap</li>
<li>Simplified small Wren inlay at 12th fret position on ebony fingerboard : side dots</li>
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<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>As a fan of his inlays I had to get a signature Wren inlay, but instead of having at the 5th fret, David’s usual placement, he kindly agreed to inlay it onto the headstock and have a matching simplified inlay at the 12 fret. The cocobolo from my personal stash is a highly figured set with tight, small burly areas and cut just off the quarter. Some folks have called it “Cloud” figure, I just think it’s very pretty.</span>
<p style=”text-align: center;”><span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”><a href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Wren_guitar_6.jpg”><img class=”size-full wp-image-6260 aligncenter” title=”David Wren guitars- Wren inlay on a concert model” src=”http://www.guitarbench.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Wren_guitar_6.jpg” alt=”” width=”607″ height=”440″ /></a>
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<span style=”font-size: 11pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>David has very kindly agreed to document the build process of this guitar. So without further ado, here starts the build diary:</span>

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<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary part 1″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2010/12/17/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-1/” target=”_self”>Part 1: Raw wood, Joining the top and the Back</a></strong>

<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary part 2″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2010/01/02/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-2/”>Part 2: Preparing the frame</a></strong>

<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary part 3″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2010/01/09/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-3/” target=”_blank”>Part 3: Rosette, preparing &amp; glueing the back</a></strong>

<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary 4″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2010/12/25/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-4″ target=”_blank”>Part 4: Final assembly and voicing of the box</a></strong>

<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary 5″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2011/01/23/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-5/” target=”_blank”>Part 5: Finishing the box</a></strong>

<strong><a title=”David Wren Concert Guitar Build Diary 6″ href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/2011/01/30/david-wren-concert-guitar-build-diary-6/” target=”_blank”>Part 6: Carving &amp; finishing the neck </a>
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<p style=”text-align: center;”><a title=”Jack Spira Ditson1-45  style guitars” href=”http://www.guitarbench.com/Images for articles/spira/ditson diary/3.jpg” target=”_blank”>
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<div><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”>Links:
David Wren: </span><a title=”David Wren guitars” href=”http://wrenguitarworks.com/” target=”_blank”>http://www.wrenguitarworks.com/</a><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana; color: #000000;”><a title=”Jack Spira Guitars” href=”http://www.jackspiraguitars.com/” target=”_blank”></a> </span></div>
<div><span style=”font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana; color: black;”>Pictures &amp; portions of text courtesy of David Wren ©</span></div>
Errors are unintentional although we try very hard not to make them- corrections or feedback are always welcome! Guitars are property of individual owners.
Any infringement of copyright is entirely unintentional. Any copyright issues should be address to: writers@guitarbench.com. We will attempt to resolve these issues quickly. Guitars remain property of respective owners. <span style=”color: #000000;”><span style=”font-family: Verdana;”>
</span></span>

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