Welcome Lars Rasmussen
Lars Rasmussen is one of those names in the luthier world that when spoken about people’s ears prick up and listen. With a waiting list of over 2 years and a professional full-time luthier since 2016 and his career has been like a rocket ship with demand for his guitars from clients all over the world. Offering a stunning mix of modern lutherie mixed with a classic look and feel and a toe dipped in that Swedish simplicity and minimalism that we all love so much.
Admired and highly respected by the likes of Dana Bourgeois, Jason Kostal and Ted Åstrand, there is no doubt Lars is the luthier to watch this year.
Both Lars and I have been chatting for some time now about the possibility of us working together and the stars seemed to align last year when we met at the 'Woodstock Invitation Luthiers Showcase' to realise the partnership. It was, in fact, long-standing friend and one of the 'TNAG Original Three' luthiers Jason Kostal, at the show that said if there is anyone you can add to the TNAG roster it should be Lars.
We caught up with Lars earlier this week to chat about his work, studying with the best and how it feels to have the likes of Jason Kostal posting and praising his work on social media.
Lars' guitars on show at 2017
Woodstock Invitation Luthiers Showcase.
BM: Lars it is so great to finally get some time to chat! So first of all can, you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
LR: Hi, thank you for taking the time to talk!
Well, music has always been a big part of my life, and I have always liked making things with my hands... When, in my mid-teens, I realised that guitars were actually made by someone, I became pretty much obsessed with the idea of trying to make one. About the same time I found out about a guitar making school in Stockholm, and I started to do everything I could to get in there. They only accepted two students each year, so I spent two years in cabinet making schools to hone my skills enough to be able to apply. When I finally applied and was accepted, there was no going back, I was so into it!
I came out of lutherie school in 2007, and during my final year there I got to apprentice with Dana Bourgeois (more on that later...) On my final day in his shop, I asked him for advice on how to progress as a luthier, and his short reply was ”Do repairs”. So I did. For the next four years, I worked in Stockholms busiest repair shop and did about 2000 repairs in that time. While doing that, I also slowly started building my own guitars, I did about six guitars a year at that point. After a few years, I was offered a teaching position at my old lutherie school, which was something I couldn't say no to. I spent about five years there as a helping teacher, still building my own guitars on the side. Two years ago, my wife and I had our first child, and I decided that I couldn't do several part time jobs, so I finally took the big jump and started building guitars full time. Im so glad I did! Also, im so glad I had all these years to really hone my skills and find myself and what I wanted my guitars to be like.
BM: Tell us a little about life in your shop?
LR: My shop is located in my home, in the small town of Östertälje, just 30minutes south of Stockholm. Its about 60sqm, half of it is located downstairs in the basement and thats where I do all the woodwork and things that creates dust. Upstairs, I have remodeled an attached garage which is a dust free space where I have a spraybooth and also do all post-finish work, like polishing and setups etc. It so nice to have the shop in my house, i used to rent space in central stockholm, where i had about an hour to commute each way. Now i have about 10 seconds, which is great.
BM: You studied at the world renowned Carl Malmsten School were you made pretty much everything from arch tops to lutes to classical guitars. At what point did you realise you wanted to focus on the steel stringed acoustic guitar?
BM: You are great friends with Ted Åstrand (Åstrand Guitars) and Tobias Lindberg (TLL Guitars). That must be great having such close friends in the industry. Do you help each other out when you are stuck on a build?
LR: I am so happy to have both Ted and Tobias as close friends. Sweden is a small country, and I feel lucky to have such talent to bounce ideas with. I got to know both of them when I got the position as a help teacher at my old lutherie school, they were both in my first class. I'm happy that they don't hate me, haha!
BM: How do you overcome setbacks?
LR: Spending about 150-200 hours on each guitar, trying to make it perfect, can sometimes be a challange. Especially the closer it gets to the finish line, the more time it takes to fix things, especially on delicate finishes. One little ding or buff through, and im back four or five weeks if its say an oil varnish. That can be very challenging, so naturally, its important to stay focused and work in a clean shop to minimize the risks for things to happen. When things do happen however, i try not to loose sleep over it. I switch to a different task and come back the day after with fresh eyes. Sometimes it can be fixed easily but sometimes its just better to bite into it and start over with the task.
BM: We have two stunning instruments being built for The North American Guitar which have already sold! A stunning O & C in a matching pair of Brazilian Rosewood (CITIES certified). Can you tell us a little about these guitars?
TNAG's C & O in matching sets of Brazilian Rosewood.
LR: Im so excited for these two! It the first true pair that I'm making, and I cant wait. My stock of Brazilian Rosewood was imported in the early 1950’s and I bought it in the form of raw planks, all about 25-30mm thick. So each block of wood gives me two or three matching sets. The sets for your guitars came from a pretty special plank, with the most stunning figure and spiderwebbing. I got three sets out of it, and heres a picture of one that I just recently made from the third sibling set.
I'm going to Italy in a few weeks to source top woods, and hope to find two tops that were cut next to each other. These guitars will be spectacular, what a great way to start our relationship!
BM: What are your plans for the rest of 2018 and 2019?
LR: In about 3 weeks I'm heading to Japan for the Osaka Sound Messe show, I'm bringing two guitars there, and I'm also finishing a couple more right now, so things are busy. When I come back I will start a few other guitars before I get to do any work on your pair. Oh, and next year I have #100 coming up, that's going to be a special guitar in some way!
BM: Thanks Lars, we are so excited to welcome you to The North American Guitar luthier roster and just cannot wait to get our hands on those guitars!
LR: Thank you Ben, its a huge honour for me, cant wait to see what ideas we can come up with together in the future!
For more information on securing your 2019 build slot with Rasmussen Guitars please contact us on +44 (0) 207 835 5597 or email us here.
Have a great weekend and enjoy the sun!