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Soul and Six Strings

Andrew K. Howard Stephan Connor is a luthier. If your hands know their way around six strings, you already know what that title means—he makes guitars. But more accurately, the Falmouth resident makes classical guitars for world-class musicians like Angel Romero, Eliot Fisk, and many others. And much in the same way that making music requires more than plucking strings, shaping a guitar is more than simple woodworking: Connor’s craft innately blends art, music, physics, and soul to create instruments that bear his label. Connor spoke with Cape Cod Life about his start in this esoteric craft, why the view from his Cape Cod workshop beats that of his former studio, and the excitement of hearing notes soar from a new guitar for the first time.

“My introduction to the art of lutherie was at a small school in Saskatchewan, Canada. The name of the school was Timeless Instruments. I attended an intensive two-month course, during which I designed and built a classical guitar. It was more challenging than any course I had ever taken in college. I was immediately captivated by the process and fascinated by how guitar-making seemed to encompass so many fields: music, art, physics, and engineering. I found my passion there.

“There are no guitar makers that have directly inspired me. I am inspired more from my interactions with musicians.

Andrew K. Howard “I was a bit rebellious growing up but always loved music … when I was young, I lived in many different places. I went to kindergarten in Greece, fourth grade in Australia, etcetera. The common denominator was spending summers in Woods Hole, where my grandfather had been active as a scientist. I’ve always loved the Cape. I got married at Nobska Beach in Woods Hole a couple of years ago, and I feel so fortunate to be living here with my lovely wife, Anju.

“When a new design comes to me, it is exciting. When I first string up the guitar, it can be a religious experience and very satisfying. In general, the most satisfying part is hearing the musician play the guitar that I made for them. It can be in Carnegie Hall or in my workshop. It is always fulfilling and deeply satisfying.

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