Guitars are a heritage – centuries of evolution, style, and emotion, all molded and sculpted by the relentless crescendo of time. But moment to moment, beat by beat, the path to novelty becomes increasingly more elusive to an ever decreasing pool of true innovators. Conversely, Marchione Guitars is an exciting hybrid of invention and classic training. Tethering centuries-old Italian craft to state-of-the-art technique, Marchione’s guitars are a marvel to behold and an endeavor we are thrilled to appreciate today. So, for something truly new, for something actually timeless; for today’s Topshelf Luthier, we are proud to feature Marchione Guitars, and Stephen Marchione’s unique ability to simultaneously look back while driving luthiery into the future.
Stephen Marchione: Now and Then
Raised in Bergamo, Italy, near the city of Cremona in the 1970s, Marchione was an early enthusiast for all things guitar. In particular, he was inspired by blueprints he discovered by the legendary D’Angelico archtop models. It would be this particular build that would draw Marchione into luthiery indefinitely and propel him to a future of style and design all his own.
Marchione went on to claim a BA in Music from Naropa University before embarking on his lutherie career in 1990. At first, he apprenticed under legendary luthier John Suhr, who was then making Pensa-Suhr guitars for Rudy’s Music. This experience would refine Marchione’s exuberant creativity and technique. He has since moved to the Lone Star State, where his style continues to evolve and evoke influence from this country’s most diverse city – Houston. He would go on to forge a style that draws from old world Italian techniques, enhanced by modern influence, and charged with unbridled creativity:
“Every instrument is built using hot hide glue, and the joints are planned by hand to ensure they’re truly perfect. We take additional steps during production that most people don’t even know about, but it’s similar to the way a great violin or cello luthier would make instruments.Stephen Marchione, Marchione Guitars
“Seductive, Transparent, And Perpetually Enticing”
From crafting, to selecting the wood; every guitar in Marchione’s shop is constructed in-house and made mostly by hand. But that’s not to say that Marchione’s attentive touch is tethering him to the more venerable building techniques. To Marchione, innovation is the key to his success and is the mantra that would lead him to truly inspired choices.
For example, Marchione developed a “neck-through” solid-body guitar when he realized the joints between pieces of wood were stifling the vibrations of sound. In another instance, Marchione put the fingerboard, pickups, bridge, and tuning machine set on a single piece of wood. The idea here is to create greater sustain and add to an already refined look.
But no matter what he takes on, Marchione puts an unmatched degree of care into every project he touches. One needs only to look to his website in order to get a sense of the boundless confidence evident in his work. As Marchione puts it:
“I build each Archtop to be the Ferrari of Archtop guitars. When you play a Marchione Archtop, you’ll find that playability, acoustic sound, and beauty are my focus.”
The Future: Timeless Guitars; Legendary Luthiery
Today, (and every day) Marchione enhances the guitar world from his Montrose-based workshop. His legendary roster of clients ranges from rock and roll revolutionaries and indomitable jazz guitarists such as Paul Simon, Vernon Reid, Mike Moreno, Mark Knopfler, Mark Whitfield, John Abercrombie, and Leo Amuedo.
For this, he is considered the finest young guitar maker working today (according to Chamber Music America) a status he has earned in every way. We are thrilled for the incredible work Marchione creates and remain enthralled to witness the future of this exceptional shop. Marchione is a skilled craftsman, whose years of wisdom and technique are making history in luthiery, one instrument at a time.