The first Larrivee guitars were based on European classical Guitar designs, and therefore had no inlay designs on them. It wasn’t until 1971 when a man named Jim Hale added some very basic inlay designs (snowflakes, diamonds, etc.) to the guitars. Jean met Jim through a friend, Eric Nagler, who owned The Folklore Center, a music store in Toronto. Jim did only a few decorated guitars, however, as classicals continued as the primary model.
It wasn't until 1977 when Tony Duggan-Smith joined the company and modern inlays were seen on the instruments. Tony (who had been inlaying instruments prior to this and studied fine arts in England and Canada) produced various inlay designs, some simple and some more elaborate depending on the guitar model, and it was during this time that the silver border was first seen on the headstock. Before Tony left the company he designed the open ended border still used to this day. Tony moved from Toronto to Victoria with the company, but after six months moved back to Toronto with Linda Manzer.
In 1978, Jean hired artist Heather McCrae and she spent a little time with Tony Duggan-Smith getting to know the basic ropes of inlay before he left. She went on to establish the wonderful romantic style associated with Larrivée's to this day with her elaborate figures and creatures, and superb engraving. She worked on and off with the company for two years producing wonderful designs, and during this time Wendy took over the inlays. Wendy was educated in art, and as a result, inlay designs continued to burgeon.
Over the years the inlaying of pieces has been done by several employees and family members, but since 1979 all of the engraving has been done by Wendy with one exception: in 1998 an employee named Sarah Briggs was brought on to assist Wendy with Engraving fretboard inlays. Under Wendy's guidance, Sarah designed one inlay called the Joker. In order to bring inlay work to more people in a cost effective manner, in 2007 Larrivée began experimenting with laser engraving on traditional materials.
C-72 Presentation Cutaway
L-72 Presentation Custom