The North American Guitar | Unit 9, Waterside | 44-48 Wharf Road | London | N1 7UX
Call us on 0207 835 5597 or Via Email

The Somogyi Apprentices

As many of you will know the grand master luthier Ervin Somogyi has produced some of the world's finest luthiers from his apprenticeship programme throughout the years, and we here at The North American Guitar are incredibly proud to have become the home for many of them. From our dearest friend and one of the 'Original Three' luthiers, Jason Kostal, to the youngest apprentice Tom Sands and all in between. They are all in their own right creating some of the finest guitars available in the world right now, all with signature design elements, unique ergonomic features, vast tonal dynamic range and all with their own signature voice. It is no secret that once you've played a Somogyi apprentice instrument, your life will never be quite the same again, and your idea of what you thought a guitar could sound like will be converted to what an acoustic guitar should sound like.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the Somogyi Apprentices...

Jason Kostal

Based in Phoenix Arizona, luthier Jason Kostal  set up independently following four years teaching at the prestigious Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie and an extended three-year apprenticeship with Ervin Somogyi.

Jason Kostal’s rise to the upper echelons of the world lutherie scene has come through years of experience as a player, collector and latterly, builder of some of the finest guitars available today.


Kostal OM Cutaway Indian Rosewood - Pre Owned


Kostal Bespoke Build Slot for 2019 (35% Deposit)


Michi Matsuda

Former Somogyi apprentice Michihiro Matsuda was born and raised in Japan, before moving to the US to study at the Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie in Phoenix, Arizona, then with Ervin Somogyi in San Francisco.

After his apprenticeship, Michi then studied guitar repair with renowned instrument repairman Frank Ford of Gryphon Stringed Instruments where he is now part of the repair staff.

Michi builds a small run of guitars each year in his own workshop in Oakland, California, and we are delighted to represent Matsuda Guitars in the UK.


Matsuda M1 Cutaway Brazilian Rosewood & Italian Spruce - Pre-Owned


Matsuda Bespoke Build Slot for 2020 (35% Deposit)


Tom Sands
After six years of working in some of the UK’s top workshops, Tom found himself increasingly unsatisfied with the disconnect between final product and client. Looking to amend this and find a more rewarding process of making, Tom decided to transfer his craftsmanship into a different commodity. He left his job and built his first ever acoustic guitar in his grandfather’s shop, where he had often spent time as a child learning to fashion things out of wood. 

By June 2015, Tom had made contact with renowned luthier Ervin Somogyi, Mr Somogyi was impressed with Tom’s developing portfolios and invited him out to Oakland, California. During a two-week period, he undertook the challenging interview for a position as Somogyi's apprentice, thereafter securing a highly sought-after place on the team. 

Tom’s philosophy is a holistic one, he believes truly great guitars are born of great relationships. In a relatively short time, Tom's guitars have earned the acclaim of players, builders and clients alike with meticulously honed designs informed by an equally skilled hand for woodwork, as well a musical ear.

Tom Sands Bespoke Build Slot for 2020 (35% Deposit)



Julian Gaffney

Julian graduated from the Galloup school of lutherie then worked for Sadowsky Guitars for nearly eight years before beginning his apprenticeship at the Somogyi workshop. 

As you'd expect of a luthier with his pedigree, Julian's work is beautifully executed with a super-fast response and a full, rich tone. 

Gaffney Modified Dreadnought Cutaway

Fiddleback Mahogany & Sitka Spruce


Leo Buendia

Leo grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina before moving to the US to study under Ervin for three years. During this time, Leo was building his own guitars and continued after his apprenticeship finished, building an excellent reputation in his own right ever since.


Buendia Guitars Bespoke Build Slot for 2020 (35% Deposit)


Mario Beauregard

One of the first ever Somogyi apprentice's, Mario Beauregard is the most recent to join us here at The North American Guitar and we could not be prouder to represent his work.

Mario's luthier journey started in the 1990s, when a grant from The Art Council of Quebec enabled him to attend the Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie where he met Ervin Somogyi in one of his master classes. He was then invited to study with Ervin, which represented a turning point in his career.

During weekdays Mario would work and study with Ervin Somogyi and during the weekends he would drive up to Taku Sakashta’s workshop to learn about building archtops. He also went on to work as the designer in the R&D department of Lasido (Godin) for a period of  years. Now, Mario is a one-man operation in the small town of St-Denis-sur-Richelieu near Montreal, Quebec while continuing to act as a consultant in the industry.

Beauregard Guitars Bespoke Build Slot for 2019 (35% Deposit)


For more information on all our available bespoke build slots please do not hesitate to get in touch and one of our team will be more than happy to take your through the bespoke process to help we are here to help build you your dream guitar. 

Here is a quick video on our Bespoke Service:

Have a wonderful weekend.

Kind regards,


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