Where are you from? How did you start making guitars?
I grew up in Brisbane, here in Australia, a smaller town which produced some amazing bands during my youth in the 1980s.
I went to the local art school and studied illustration and design – my obsession with design surfaced in many ways over the years – eventually it found it’s place in my guitar making.
As a touring musician who worked part-time in libraries and bookshops I had read some books about guitar making and was inspired to learn to fix instruments and to set them up – starting with my own basses and guitars. I grew up in a house with a wood-workshop, my father being a french polisher and furniture restorer, and learned a healthy respect for some lethal woodworking machines from a very young age.
I made instruments in my home workshop at night and in my spare time for 7 or 8 years before making it my full time ‘outlet’ and ‘income’.
I had no burning desire to make the ‘best guitar in the world’ or to ‘fix’ perceived problems with existing guitars – rather, I wanted to create some designs that somehow fit into my own view of the instruments and objects of the 20th and 21st century. Along the way I found some new sounds and textures and some kind of ‘house style’ in which each instrument is unique but viewed as a series they hopefully add up to something new.
Have you influenced by the guitars from the 60s?
I am a bit obsessed with various side-tracks and dead ends of instrument design – my own choices for inexpensive instruments to make my music have led me to buy Eko, Yamaha, Maton, Travis Bean, Silvertone guitars and basses – basically anything different from the cardboard cut-out Strats and Les Pauls at the local pub.
Wandre’s work eventually blew my tiny mind – as it did so many others’ and I found a new inspiration. Before the internet all we had was one or two pictures in books – your stylish, exhaustive website changed all of that Stefano.
Emulating some of his methods and shapes has set me some very interesting design challenges in recent years and has introduced me to a whole new world of obsessive guitarists and customers around the world.
My home is in Sunshine in Melbourne, Australia. A block from here is the site of what was once the largest factory in the southern hemisphere – makers of the Sunshine Harvester and other farming machinery. Next door to me is Harvester college, then Harvester Road, Harvester Theatre, Harvester Primary School etc etc
Harvester Guitars sounded right for me. I like the industrial sound of it. I like the anonymity of the name. I make everything by hand here, but I like the historical connotations of industry and mechanisation.
Do you play an istrument? have you a band? what is your guitar on stage?
I play electric bass, double bass and guitar. There’s been many bands over the years but i still play and write songs.
I figured out years ago that I’m a bass player first and foremost and I feel at home in that zone beside the drummer – hence my current partial-deafness.
I play instruments every day in the workshop even if it’s just testing a pickup for a minute – it’s playing and gets the fingers moving and the brain engaged.
I do some of my best thinking with my old Kay Speed Demon bass guitar in my hands – it’s a late night songwriting machine and my favourite gigging bass.
Few things can move me like a short-scale bass through a large-scale PA system.
Your three favourite records of all time
hmmm well … for today only it’s :
The Stooges – Funhouse
Miles Davis – In A Silent Way
The Grateful Dead – American Beauty
The guitar of your life
My Guild Polara with Hagström Tremar and built-in magnetic, chrome kickstand.
What is your passion in the life – except the guitars?
20th century design history in all it’s forms – from guitars to buildings to typography.
Photography with vintage cameras ( will work for lenses ! ).
Have you a cat? a dog?
We have one dog : Manny – a crazy Staffordshire cross-breed rescue-dog/street-kid and we have just lost a beautiful soul : Olive our red Staffordshire Bull Terrier who sat among the wood and aluminium shavings with me for 13 years and posed for photographs with many guitars. She is sorely missed.
A 10 minute dog walk clears the mind and warms the bones whenever I’m half way through some sticky repair conundrum or need to escape from the spray-booth.