I’ve always been in love with the guitar. One of my earliest memories is being too small to properly hold my father’s Fender Mustang, but still strumming the open strings; amazed at the sound it made.

In 2015, at the age of 19, I went to Spain to take a one month guitar making course with Master Luthier, Stephen Hill, at The European Institute of Guitar Making. I had practically no woodworking experience, but Stephen was able to teach me the techniques and how to use all the hand tools effectively. I very quickly fell in love. Two weeks into my one month and I had already started trying to figure out how I was going to stay longer.

I was able to convince Stephen to let me stay and build a second guitar, turning my one month into what would become a five year long apprenticeship.

For five years I was in Granada, Spain, the heart of guitar making, learning from one of the great masters of the Spanish guitar. While working with Stephen, I made his Model 2 guitars — making more than any of his past apprentices, I worked with him in building his Master Model guitars — the first apprentice to have that honour, and I also taught a fair bit of guitar making at the EIGM. I was completely absorbed in the Spanish tradition and tapping into the experience of someone who has been building amazing guitars for over 35 years. 

This apprenticeship allowed me to start building guitars under my own name that are at a very high level; guitars that are truly one of a kind, with wonderful playability and sound, and made for customers from all over the world.

After apprenticing with Stephen for five years, I decided to move back to Canada to start my own workshop. I’m proud to bring the Spanish tradition of guitar making to my hometown, and to be one of, if not the only, luthier in Canada with my level of authentic Spanish training.

I believe that guitar making is not immediately an artistic medium. Shaping and gluing some pieces of wood together and tying strings on it does not make you an artist. Guitar making becomes a form of art when the luthier creates something that looks beautiful, feels comfortable, and sounds amazing. 

The sound a guitar makes will be the most important aspect for nearly all luthiers and guitarists, however the look and feel of the guitar is also incredibly important. You see the guitar before you feel the guitar and you feel the guitar before you hear the guitar. And so, a guitar should be visually beautiful so you want to pick it up and comfortable to hold and play so you want to hear it and continue to play it, so while what you hear is the most important, it is also the last aspect of a guitar you experience.

I aim to make each of my guitars a unique piece of art.

As a builder, I mix non-traditional and modern aesthetic with traditional and authentic Spanish guitar construction. Additionally, every rosette I make is unique and made personally for the client; and with special inlays and different head shapes to match the theme, no two guitars of mine will ever be the same. I also prefer to use more sustainable materials when I can, rather than endangered rosewood species. While materials such as Brazilian Rosewood make a fantastic guitar, I believe almost all woods can make a beautiful instrument as long as the luthier understands the material’s specific characteristics.

- evan kingma

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