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Sergei de Jonge Biography
Necessity brought de Jonge, 57, to the luthier's trade in the late 1960s when he started guitar-playing lessons: he simply couldn't afford to buy the instruments he wanted. "My teacher had a custom guitar that I lusted for, but when I found out how much it cost...well, you can imagine, my hair completely stood on end."
De Jonge had just started teachers' college when he had a chance meeting with Jean Claude Larrivee, the soon-to-be godfather of Canadian guitar builders. "I asked him if I could work with him, and he said, 'Come around to my shop on Tuesday and we’ll talk.' So on Monday, I went to teachers' college and dropped out. Then on Tuesday, I went to Larrivee's shop and—luckily—became his very first apprentice."
De Jonge's intention was to build a single guitar for personal use. But Larrivee made him work in the shop for six months before he was allowed to build anything. By the time his guitar was finished, de Jonge was broke, so he sold the guitar and had to make another one. He sold that one, too, and a third, and then he was hooked. "That's how I started," he says. "I just kept on going." He now ships his guitars to the United States, Europe, and Japan.
-Ottawa Citizen, July 2007
Artists who play de Jonge: Don Henley, The Gypsy Kings