You may have heard, the devil’s in the details, but to Harvey Citron, harmony and Heaven are in those very details. Today’s feature Michaelangelo of music mastery in our Topshelf Luthier series is Citron Guitars and Harvey Citron, who above so many in the field, lovingly crafts every element of his instruments, from the body to the pickups and every detail in between with the care and dedication of a benedictine monk.
Harvey Citron – A History
Harvey Citron’s relationship with guitars has been a lifelong love of both music and luthiery. Although his first guitar was, “the cheapest Martin you could buy” according to Citron, he took that 00-17 mahogany top with no binding and “did everything with that guitar” even going so far as to “amplif(y) it with a DeArmond pickup and an Ampeg Rocket amplifier.”
As he got older, he continued to play music for soul and blues bands, but all the while fervently believed he was going to be an architect. Taken by a compulsion to design and engineer, but skeptical of such an application in music, it would be years before he set out to synthesize engineering and music in a real way. Citron’s first venture in luthiery came in 1974, where a partnership with Joe Veillette would establish the much revered Veillette-Citron shop. The business was exceptionally successful during its eight-year run, where hundreds of handcrafted guitars were produced and where supply often struggled to catch up to demand. A good problem if you’re a businessman, but for Citron – this life was not quite what he or the universe had in mind for his particular set of talents. When asked about the shop, Citron said he “felt like a factory worker in his own business,” and soon was taken by a desire to design custom instruments. So, he left the Veillete-Citron shop for Woodstock, NY in 1994, and lo, Citron Guitars was born.
Citron and Innovation
Harvey Citron and Citron Guitars are a thrilling evolution of tech, customization, and classical training. What separates Citron from the rest of the market are his fierce specificity and devotion to quality. For starters, Citron Guitars are completely handcrafted and constructed entirely in his Woodstock shop.
Even more specifically, Citron personally designs each element right down to the custom pickups, a trait widely cherished by the guitar and bass community for his unique ability to refine tone at an almost elemental level (Harvey Citron personally winds, voices, and positions each one to complement every individual instrument.) Meanwhile, other unique innovations like the Piezo-loaded and intonation-adjustable wooden bridge ensure a quality of sound unlike anything you’ll find anywhere else.
Finally, his distinctive hollowbody basses offer a continuously thrilling delve into the depths of bass shapes and sound that has become a coveted musical experience across the musical strata.
According to Citron, he “strive(s) to continually improve and create new designs, and build guitars and basses” to “provid(e) inspiration, such that something new and wonderful emerges that wasn’t there before.”
The Citron touch is one completely unmatchable by luthiers the world over. With total control of the body shape and sound right down to the pickups and boards, Citron is a heavenly harmony of detail, dedication, and delight.