Stratoblogster Labs: Boaz Elkayam, Enigmatic Traveling Luthier
Who’s the “Most Interesting Man in the World”? Is it really the Dos Equis beer guy? Naahhh!
It could be guitar builder Boaz Elkayam!
The highly respected luthier and musician travels the world, sometimes by motorcycle, building stringed instruments to support traveling the world for the purpose of meeting other luthiers and discovering more methods, materials and building techniques, in spite of language barriers and other cultural differences.
Just people speaking “guitar,” making it all work out. And seeing the world!
Equally at home contributing cutting-edge ideas or operating in the most primitive conditions, from 1998 to 2002 Boaz was an adviser working with Prof. Michael Kasha and the late luthier Richard Schneider at Florida State University’s Acoustical Physics Research Laboratory.
He also has ventured to remote areas of Mexico and South America where luthiers make serious instruments with a knife as their sole tool. Inspired by such discoveries, Boaz has created high-end, highly sought-after guitars with simple hand tools used centuries ago. The Victorinox company, makers of the famous Swiss Army Knife, even asked him to build a guitar using their product.
So while today’s builders argue pin router vs CNC, and the meaning of "hand built," Boaz reminds us that in the big, historical picture — unless you can do it without electricity, maybe you should just shut up. Remember, Stradivarius violins were made before electricity, routers, lathes, drills, sand paper and computers were even thought of.
Also a player, Boaz is invited to perform and lecture around the world when he’s not sourcing special wood in some secret third-world location by motorcycle or building an instrument for someone like Liona Boyd or Kurt Rodarmer; both internationally renowned classical guitarists.
Representing the guitar culture as an adventurer who lives life, seeking quality experiences, this guy should have a show on Discovery Channel, like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations! In reality, the world’s most interesting people aren’t always in commercials, nor do they have their own television shows.
Either way, it’s always cool when they’re guitar people!
Discover more about Boaz Elkayam at boazguitars.com. Yes, he has a website!
JP Holesworth authors the Stratoblogster Guitar Blog and resides in rural Oregon, surrounded by Pinot Noir vineyards, hop plantations, medical MJ farms and extreme environMENTAL consciousness. But he loves red meat and vacuum tubes!