Interview, Luthier Focus

Interview with Mark Gaiero

Mark Gaiero's unique resume includes time spent learning from legendary builders Ervin Somogyi and John Greven, as well as making puppet armatures on a popular stop motion animation movie!

From LA to Portland, Mark’s history is a fascinating blend of complementary crafts and disciplines, with everything seeming to dovetail logically into the next project or pursuit, all of course leading him to making amazing guitars. Check out Mark's photos below for a peek into his history working for Laika Studio and other projects!

More than many luthiers, Mark has a particular focus on using alternative tonewoods, with myrtle and walnut as his "Core Model" offerings and a long list of uncommon and salvaged woods as custom options. In our chat, we dig into this increasingly relevant topic. He says...

"We have all these options for tonewoods—seems like a good idea to use some that aren’t on the Endangered Species list. I do use some tropical hardwoods, and there are some that I prefer just based on their conservation status. I decided to make that call out of the gate. Ervin has been very encouraging of it from the get-go, and I think he would like to be able to experiment a little bit more on his own builds. But he feels that people expect primarily Brazilian rosewood when they order a guitar from him, because there’s kind of an inherited perception that’s come down through the generations. There’s kind of a hierarchy of tonewoods that people have in their minds, that I don’t think is based on reality as much as it’s based on a number of other factors. It’s a very complex issue. But Ervin told me many times when we would talk about this sort of thing: 'Be very mindful of the choices that you make when you first introduce yourself to the general public, because those will be the things that you become known for, and those will be the things that people will want and expect from you.'"

Check out Mark's photos below!

To see more of Mark's work, check out our "New Luthier" blog post or visit his website.
Reach out if you'd like to custom order a Gaiero guitar through us!

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