Canadian Craft Business – Guitar Making

BNN (Business News Network) speaks with guitar maker William “Grit” Laskin about the art of craftmanship into today’s throw away world, and how to make it a viable business.

Grit Laskin Shop Tour

A brief tour of renown guitar builder William “Grit” Laskin’s workshop!


Grit Laskin is a recipient of the Saidye Bronfman Award for Excellence in the Crafts. This video was directed in the field and in the edit suite by Gregory Pilsworth on behalf of the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Editing by Lori Schroeder and camera work by Karl Roeder.


William (Grit) Laskin received the 2010 Estelle Klein Award at the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals(OCFF) annual conference in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Oct 15, 2010. This film, commissioned by OCFF, was produced by Roots Music Canada, and shot/edited/directed by Andy Frank.


This short film was made way back in 1974 and released for TV broadcast in 1975. It was one of a series of short “filler” films the CBC commissioned of the 2 filmmakers. The director, Phyllis Wilson, was the wife of Graeme Ferguson, the (Canadian) man who invented the IMAX system. Dave Douglas, her filming partner, was involved in actually constructing the first Imax camera. Dave is still associated with IMAX as a director. “The Fires Of Kuwait” is one of his films. The music in the background is an old instrumental piece of mine. We recorded it in the workshop. The shop I occupied from 1974-76 was previously a body-rub studio. Hence, the furry red wallpaper.


Just in time for John Lennon’s 70th Birthday, Grit Laskin completed our latest commission. This guitar was a complete joy for us and what Grit came up with may be one of his most memorable Inlay themes to date. Here what Grit has to say about the project – “I was asked [by Dream Guitars Owner Paul Heumiller] to explore the general theme of “Peace”. I chose to incorporate portraits of three people who I feel have done more for the promotion of peace around the world than anyone else in our time. These three are: Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and John Lennon. Mandela and the Dalai Lama are on the headstock, depicted within the shape of a hand displaying the peace sign. On the fretboard, on a series of 5 different placards, of the kind one would see being hand-held in a street march, are the lyrics from Lennon’s song: “All we are saying is… give peace a chance”. And John is peering out from behind one of the signs. The inlay was created with 4 different types of shell, 9 different types of stone, metal, then engraved. It took 80 hours to complete.” – Grit Laskin We could not be more delighted with any guitar. The body, extraordinary Brazilian Rosewood and Sitka from Grit’s amazing stash, features dual bevels, a soundport and a cutaway. The voice is angelic, sonorous and sweet with lots of energy. But the artwork is sublime, so realistic and so poignant, as only Grit Laskin could create.

MONTREAL GUITAR SHOW ’11 WILLIAM “GRIT” LASKIN BLUE TRUMPET AND BLUEPRINT FOR CURVES PG’s Rich Osweiler is On Location at the 2011 Montreal Guitar Show where he visits the William Laskin booth. In this segment, we get to see and learn more about “Grit” Laskin’s Guitars and the creative and technical process used to make them. For more Montreal Guitar Show videos or to view Premier Guitar’s COMPLETELY FREE digital edition magazine, be sure to visit http


One master luthier on another, Linda Manzer talks about William Laskin guitars.

KW Guitars

Ken talks about Grit and guitars.

JK Guitar

James talking bout his main guitar, his Laskin.


Jesse Cook talking about meeting Grit, and circumstances that led to ordering his first Laskin.


Grit & Jesses Cook chatting about their relationship in the studio of Roots Music Canada, 2010.

BG Guitars

GL Guitars

Want to learn even more about Grit? There are many more video interviews on this site, where you can watch and hear his wife Judith, as well as some of his friends and musical associates talk about some of Grit’s other pursuits in the music community.