Marc Maingard – “Making trees sing again”

40 years of experience as a player and maker

At the tip of Africa, in a wild and beautiful place called Scarborough, lives Marc Maingard in his unique self-built home. Marc is a luthier of fine repute as well as being an accomplished musician, entertainer and composer.

Marc was born in Durban, South Africa, to French immigrant parents, and traces his family lineage to 1350. It is a legacy of craftsmen musicians, lute and viol makers to the French court. In his early years Marc received formal piano and violin training. Playing in the Natal Youth Philharmonic, he later took up the guitar and performed as a professional musician in South Africa and Europe. Unable to have his guitar repaired in the early 70’s forced Marc to attempt the work himself. “Voila.” He subsequently flourished as a repairman and for the last 40 years has devoted himself to guitar construction and restoration.

To further hone his skills, Marc apprenticed himself to a cabinet-maker, studying, among other things, marquetry and french polishing. This, combined with a year making violins and cellos, set the foundation for his developing talent. Whilst in the USA he worked with Santa Cruz guitar company making acoustic guitars and later with Jimmy d’Aquisto perfecting his jazz instruments. He also spent time with Martin, Gibson and Ovation and is now their sole authorized repair person in South Africa. For three years Marc performed in Spain and took the opportunity to refine his current line of Concert guitars. As he completes one guitar in four weeks, excluding varnish, they fall in the exceptional range.

Each instrument begun has been assigned the wishes of the client and carries this personality throughout the process. Marc is an old-world craftsman and each top is graduated and tuned by hand to give maximum resonance and sustain. Likewise it is voiced to assure that the balance and tone remain consistent or altered to accommodate the needs of the client.

It is the intent of Maingard Guitars to present the player a sophisticated instrument with well-developed, complex overtones and harmonics that will mature, inspire and challenge the guitarist throughout a lifetime.

In Marc’s words:

When I lived in India as a young 20 year old studying Yoga, Ayurvedic Medicine and Life, I often met up with various sitar, sarod, flute players and other musicians. When I complimented them I would invariably hear them say “Oh I don’t play very well, I have only been playing for 10 years (or something to that effect), you should hear my master he’s been playing for 30 or 50 years.” To a 20 year old student of Life these numbers seemed almost unbelievable, but now as I look back in my 63rd year, I begin to understand what experience means.

In my opinion there is little that surpasses experience or the gaining of wisdom in the dedicated and passionate human being , it was only recently when my mermaid deluxe guitar was being reviewed by Huw Price of Guitar Magazine of the United Kingdom that I realised the tiny and almost unnoticeable differences that my guitars now have. For example, after I had left my guitar with Huw, he phoned me for some details omitted in the interview, and mentioned how easy he found it playing past the neck joint, and how far his fingers could travel without having to remove his thumb from the back of the neck.

Well, that little something took me many years to arrive at, that extra 6mm (quarter inch) removed in the curve of the heel, combined with a Florentine cutaway, makes for ultimate ease of access to the higher frets. As all my necks are hand carved and shaped, they have progressed from fine to refined and better. This story shows only one aspect of the many, that make up 40 years of experience , which I offer to you in the process of crafting your dream guitar.