Photo by ASHLI BARRETT/Advocate Staff



The real sound of cool

Nothing, absolutely nothing, lights David Gilmore’s fire like hearing a really good guitarist strumming one of his handmade instruments.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, lights David Gilmore’s fire like hearing a really good guitarist strumming one of his handmade instruments.

“There’s nothing cooler than hearing one of your guitars being used by somebody who really knows what he’s doing,” said the owner of Gilmore Guitars of Red Deer.

Fortunately, some very seasoned guitarists have purchased and now play his locally-made six-stringers.

They include Tom Wilson of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (and formerly Junkhouse), Dan Walsh, who used to play with Fred Eaglesmith’s band The Flying Squirrels and who has three of his guitars, Ontario singer/songwriter Brock Zeman, and local performers Levi Cuss, Bradley Abel, and Jesse Roads.

“I’ve sold guitars as far away as Ireland,” said the local craftsman. But his word-of-mouth sales have mostly come from across Canada.

Gilmore, who studied guitar making in Saskatchewan in the mid-1990s, makes every part of his unique instruments himself — from hand-planing the guitar necks and using a jigsaw to cut narrow slots for metal frets, to creating a hidden support system for the wooden guitar faces.

“With the string tension, there’s 150 pounds of pressure across here,” said Gilmore, who noted all guitars could “implode” without internal supports.

As well as not using an assembly line or computerized milling process — (“I do everything by hand,” said Gilmore) — he also doesn’t use veneers.

He prefers working with solid woods, such as African mahogany, Sitka spruce, western red cedar, ebony and maple.

Each of his acoustic guitars take about 150 hours to complete, and each electric guitar requires 90 to 100 hours of labour, so they respectively start selling for $2,500 or $1,200 each.

Gilmore said this is far below what many custom guitar makers charge, but “I don’t have the brand name awareness yet.”

He believes his main customers have, so far, been singer/songwriters and veteran guitar players because they most appreciate the quality and subtle sound distinctions.

“Every guitar has a personality.”

The 52-year-old spent the previous three decades working in radio sales and D.J.-ing — much of that time at the local stations CKGY and Z-99.

But his affiliation with music actually started when he was a toddler.

“I used to play my mom’s guitar like a stand-up bass,” he recalled, with a chuckle.

After leaving the family farm near Weyburn, Sask, at age 18, Gilmore played guitar in a rock band. He said he might still be doing it, except the drummers kept quitting. “It was really hard to keep personnel . . . ”

He later took a break from his radio career and studied, with his wife Adrienne’s blessing, at the Timeless Instruments lutherie (string instrument making) school in a fairly remote part of Saskatchewan, north of Moose Jaw.

The joke goes that Tugaske, Sask. is halfway between Eyebrow, Sask, and Elbow, Sask. “which makes it about the armpit,” said Gilmore.

He made guitars as a hobby for many years after taking the 10-week program, but decided to go professional by opening his shop three years ago.

One of his most popular styles is called the Model A, as a tribute to Adrienne for all her support.

Gilmore said sales of original guitars at his shop at Bay 6, 4676-61st St. in the Riverside Industrial Park are slowly increasing, with 12 handmade instruments sold last year and 16 projected for this year.

“You definitely feel a sense of accomplishment everyday.”

He also offers a limited selection of factory-made new and used guitars for sale, and does guitar repairs.

Sometimes all of his musical passions come together when house concerts are held at the shop, with live performances from musicians touring through Alberta.

Gilmore also records podcasts, available on his website, of various professional guitarists playing his handmade instruments.

For more information, please visit www.gilmoreguitars.ca, or email david@gilmoreguitars.ca.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

WATCH: Red Deer teacher engages students with “cool” science experiments

On Thursday, he made fire dance to the beat of the music

Province purchases land for new Red Deer courthouse

Construction to begin in the fall of 2019

Parking costs in Red Deer are going up — so are parking tickets

City council raises parking rates by 25 per cent starting July 1

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates in Red Deer

Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month