Hello and welcome to part two of our exciting interview with Luthier extraordinaire, Mitchell Morris. We'll waste no time and continue where we left off last week...
What is the best thing about repairing instruments?
Some clients consider their instrument to be like a member of the family, so when they put their trust in me and I can take something that has been broken which is that meaningful to them, and then bring it back to life, it means a lot to them and to me as well. That’s the best part for sure.
And making guitars, what’s the best thing about that?
I really enjoy making someone’s dream instrument a reality, the greatest part of that is being able to collaborate with a client, to share ideas with each other and to allow the whole project to flow naturally until the guitar has its own spirit. I find it a lot fun to work on my own projects and having complete artistic freedom is awesome, but with another person’s guidelines, views, and restrictions we can take these projects in a direction I never would have dreamed of; to places I couldn’t have gone without their ideas.
What do you see for the future of aPurla and the guitar making industry in general?
Increasing lack of timber is going to play a bigger and bigger role in guitar making, not only will sustainable harvesting be inevitable, but things like composite materials (such as hemp, carbon fiber, resins etc) and recycled materials will start playing a bigger role in manufacturing of our new musical instruments. In the past guitar makers have been overindulgent. We thought we had an abundance of resources and so didn't plan for the future, but now the world just calls for well made, well-constructed instruments that will last. The focus needs to be on construction, which plays an equal part to materials. Without good construction the best guitar can sound flat. aPurla is already starting to be part of the change in Australia, so we can only hope we will continue getting support to keep innovating and making incredible instruments, by experimenting with new resources and techniques to bring back the craftsmanship to this fine art.
What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness is the very first song played on a custom piece you’ve been working on for months… hahaha…. But I guess true happiness can only be found inside. It is something to be shared; my fiancé always says ‘a joy shared is a joy doubled’.
I hear you are working on some pretty ground breaking sh*t,
what projects do you have going at the moment and what’s the motivation behind them?
For the past two years I have been working on a project that is very close to my heart, it is my new Tree Hugger family of guitars, set to be released at a launch night event in March this year. It’s a series of first edition guitars including three traveler sized models and three electric models. All the guitars are constructed from recycled materials where possible, and I sourced almost all the wood from demolished iconic Queenslander houses. I also used high end long lasting parts for the hardware. This project includes some outstanding recycled guitar bags, each with a unique design. The bags are made from old truck tarps, with the straps being made from recycled seat belts, but the plush inside is the best part, it’s nicer than my pillow! The bags were made by our good friends at Crea-re a very inspirational and innovative company.
The motivation behind this project was the simple fact that timbers are becoming either too expensive, non-existent, or being put on the rare endangered list (just recently all rosewood has been listed on CITES – things are getting serious. source here.). So before we run out of trees I wanted to create a series that proves to the public and other guitar makers that we don’t need rare timbers to create a great quality instruments with excellent tone.
Instrument grade timbers require slow grow trees for stability and structure the timbers used for constructing guitars currently cannot be grown quick enough to meet demand, therefore I felt we needed to look at other options, and this series is just the start.
Another project I have slowly been working on is a line of customizable deluxe vintage valve amps with all hand wired point to point circuitry, very high end components and installed in a timber cabinet that I finished with guitar finishes, they look really cool and unique and they sound outstanding. The motivation behind this one was that I wanted a great sounding seven watt tube amp that was light weight, easy to carry and that could be played at full volume to bring out the full potential of the amp at all sized venues, this product didn't exsit, so I made one! Turns out a lot of other people like the amp too, this encouraged me to make a 30 watt to further experiment.
Let's end on some words of wisdom, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?Whatever you do or how long you have done it, you can always learn more, so don’t take yourself too seriously. Take what you learn and apply it to all aspects of your life, because your work and your life will be empowered not just by what you can do, but by who you are as a person.
Great stuff! We appreciate it Mitchell and we look forward to bringing you all more from the world of aPurla. See you next time.
Incase you missed part one of this series, you can find it here.