Bio - Diogo Chavarria Amaro
I’ve started to build instruments in my home town (Viana do Castelo, Portugal), my first teacher name is Antonio Coutinho, he was the one who explained me all I know about what to expect from a guitar, and what implications a certain action can have in the results. He is a lot about sound, and I deeply thank him the time he spent teaching me.
After it, I’ve studied one year of hurdy-gurdy building in EMAO (arts and crafts school of Vigo, Spain), with Jaime Rivas. There I developed a lot on wood working but, of course, hurdy-gurdy wasn’t my thing: on one hand I’m not that mechanical guy that a hurdy-gurdy builder must be, on the other I play guitar since I’m 13 years old, so my understanding of the instrument was quite good. One thing brings another and my request for plucked string instruments became bigger and bigger… While keeping contact with my master and visiting many instrument builders in Portugal and Spain (mainly in Andalucía) I’ve made a course about French polishing with Jose Catoira.
At the crafts school in Leksand, Sweden, I studied with Matts Nordwal and specialized as a builder of plucked string instruments, making two mandolins as the exam.
I’ve divided the lutherie activity with archaeology in the beginning (that’s what I’ve studied and in what I’ve worked over eleven years). After some time I’ve opened my workshop and understood that I could make a living with instrument building. I’ve sold guitars, ukuleles, cavaquinhos, violas braguesas and one kora (African harp), you can see more in my shop. Meanwhile some instruments came to restore, I’ve used some of the knowledge on conservation from archaeology and learned about the way they were built.
My passion for music and nature brought me to this adventure of making guitars with a smaller footprint. I’ve made comparative tests between the “ordinary” woods and the ones I had at my disposal, made ethnographic studies to understand what woods have been used in instrument and furniture making before the Portuguese and Spanish expansion (before we start to use exotic woods in Europe). With the results I’ve made my first non-exotic woods instrument in 2013, it was a cavaquinho, and everything worked as good as with any other (usual) woods. After it I’ve made a guitar and understood that building instruments don’t need to depend on exotic woods. Not that they aren’t good, I simply don’t want to use them.
In 2016 I’ve moved to Sweden, I live here with my partner and four children. Right now my work is divided between Portugal and Sweden. I have a workshop in each country and respond to orders from both workshops. The future goal is to focus my work in Portugal.
It is a journey that takes me more than years. I hope I’ll keep this eco-friendly instrument building for all my life.
Working team (me and Emilia)