Let's go back to France to study and investigate a bit more on the art of handcrafted guitars. This time Roger Daguet leads the dances.
Roger is extremely kind: he tells us about his life, his guitars and his
particular way of living with a job that, rather than customers, gives him new
His 'trick' is simple: fine quality woods, handmade pickups but, above all, he deeply understands
the needs and desires of those who call him asking for the perfect
guitar that he will build as if it was for himself.
Daguet Guitars have simple
and harmonious lines: easy to notice that they are daughters of his passion for
the 60s. Roger surprises also for the quality of his replicas, meticulously made from the pickups (Roger himself is who
designs and manufactures them) down to the smallest detail. And, among all, we
admit that we would like to play his Mosrite Replica for a few minutes...(or
for a lifetime!).
Once again it comes from France, this time, the evidence that the fine art
of guitar-making is more alive than ever.
1. GUITARS EXCHANGE: How did you end up becoming, or start out as, a luthier?
Roger Daguet: I needed money for buying LSD so…no… let’s talk the truth… I started playing music with my grandfather at the age of 4/5 years old. He didn’t (try to) teach me only music but also wood carving as he was a woodenboat carpenter so at a very young age I start to learn how to not cut my fingers with sharp tools. Then I grow up… in 1974, I asked my father some money to get an electric guitar, he told me I better have to make one myself… no problem I answered …I started to play music around the next year, mostly a kind of blues punk thing, and I start to make instruments for friends around. Shortly, I did some studies and ended up as engineer in mechanics. Making guitars and basses paid for my studies, my motorbikes, my travels all around the world. Then I stopped making any things for a long time (1987 to 2005), raise children, a family, a regular job in various industries as engineer/designer, then divorced, while I start making guitar again around 1993 to ended up today as a fulltime job for 5 years now…
2. GUITARS EXCHANGE: What inspires you to design and manufacture a new guitar?
Roger Daguet: Depend if it’s for me or a customer…if it’s for me, I make it for me… trying to catch some kind of sound in my mind and make some attention to my physical limitations (hands, fingers, the way I play, this kind of things…) in order to make it the easiest to play. I take a very special attention to the building, adjustments and wood choice in order to get the most resonant instrument I can, I design now my pickups to get more sensitivity, dynamics and sustain. Esthetically speaking, I am a kind of sixties freak I reckon, I often turn around the shapes of these times… If it’s for a customer…That’s exactly the same.
3. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Do you look for a given sound for any particular reason?
Roger Daguet: Well… I always try to get the most natural sound at first, with longest sustain and best definition I can get, because everyone could shape his own sound from a good base…it’s harder to get good things from a bad one…
4. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Select one and talk about: soul, jazz, blues, rock, pop…or other.
Roger Daguet: I love eating snail with butter and garlics…I love wine, specially Pessac Leognan -Pape Clément-…
Seriously, I love music with guitars, or not! Specially soul, jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, rock, pop, psychedelic, garage bands, I am a frustrated musician, as I never work enough to be as good as I would have to be…I have a special crush on psychedelic blues and rock things… Hendrix, the Allman Brothers, Jefferson Airplane, Greatfull Dead and lots more obscure artists.
5. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Are you a jobbing artist or a solitary artisan? Roger Daguet: I am a solitary caveman who works alone in his basement surrounded by tons of woods, dust and the smell of cellulose lacquers…few tools also.
6. GUITARS EXCHANGE: What was the last record or CD you bought? And listened to?
Roger Daguet: I am not a man of “one thing” and I am not a man who follows the rules (as often as I can though….) so here’s my last records shopping… JD Simo: SIMO (2012), Quicksilver Messenger Service: Live at the Fillmore 1968, Tinariwen: Emmaar, Anouar Brahem: Souvenance, Otis Taylor: My world is gone, Alvin Youngblood Hart: Motivational speaker
7. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Electric or acoustic?
Roger Daguet: Both! Good vibrations man…
8. GUITARS EXCHANGE: What is the secret behind your choice of wood?
Roger Daguet: Resonance: as long you take care of what you’re making, if the wood sounds clear and strong, you can’t go wrong.
...AND TWO HANDS
9. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Why should we consider luthier-crafted guitars as a viable option to guitars made by the large manufacturers?
Roger Daguet: Depend on what you are looking for…if you want your instrument be a part of you, it’s better to make it yourself… or ask someone qualified and opened to listen and feel who you are, what you want. You may find “the” guitar in the industry way, you may be wrong with a luthier too…it is always a matter of “soul” and relationship… Personally, I do my best to understand the personality of my customer; it’s a face to face relation. I often said when I make a guitar, that I meet a new friend more than I meet a “customer”.
10. GUITARS EXCHANGE: Who plays your guitars? Who would you like to have play your guitars?
Roger Daguet: Peter Greenberg (Lyres, DMZ, Barence Whithfield and the Savage), Nicke Royale (Hellacopters), Brian Molko (Placebo), Deniz Tek (Radio Birdman) And lots I can’t name now, famous or soon to be…please forgive me to forget you…
Who would I like to play my guitars? Link Wray, Hendrix, Ron Ashton, John Cipollina, Donald Roeser (aka Buck Dharma)…
Official Daguet Guitars Site: http://www.daguetguitars.com