Bernard St Louis lives in North London, UK and has been a self-taught maker for over two decades.
With his natural talent and eye for design, his creations are still made with such heart and care, that he still gifts them with his own name to this day.
Beginning in 2000 after craving a better work life balance, Bernard took matters into his own hands. Armed with the desire to see a physical result as an outcome of his hard work, and an outlet for his creativity outside of his demanding job, he established himself as a Luthier and began the arduous journey of knowledge as he taught himself the ancient craft of stringed instruments.
As an eager student, he immersed himself in the endless knowledge of those that had gone before him and buried himself in the writings of his silent teachers, most notably, William Campiano and Jonathan Natelson.
After gathering together his first tools he set about on his first endeavour; a classical guitar.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
“My focus was and remains,
how to make the best possible sounding guitar with whatever pieces of wood I might choose to use.
After all, the old great masters made excellent instruments with limited tools.”
His love of the pure sound of the classical guitar turned his inquisitive mind towards his other great love. Jazz.
More specifically the sound of the Archtop Jazz guitar. The process for making an Archtop took him even further into the world of string instruments as the similarities, in regard to plate thickness between the archtop and a violin or viola consequently meant that he embarked on several years of violin and viola making classes. Attending Merton College, Cambridge Violin Workshop and finally a master class with Rod Ward, he became a member of the British Makers Association (BVMA).
Ever humble Bernard is a calm and measured maker, taking the upmost care over every step of the process and finishing each piece of his work with an undeniable eye to detail. He would say that he is always learning but it is obvious to anyone honoured enough to hold his work, that his passion for the craft still runs deep, and it is that exuberant joy that makes his work so outstanding.
“What I have learned is that it pays to just get on and build your dream!
Don't ask anyone if you should, don't believe anyone who may tell you that you can't, and discern the difference between real praise and incredulity that you might be successful.”