Chris LaBonte is a luthier with a background not traditional for most guitar builders. He studied music, though not guitar, for many years, playing the saxophone in high school and college. Chris also has an extensive bacground in art, both two dimensional and three dimensional, with an emphasis in jewelry and metalwork. He has worked with John Cedarquist, a fine art furniture maker, since 1989, making pieces that are in many private collections and museums, including the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
The connection to the guitar began in 1982 during a study abroad year in Denmark where Crhis has a roomate who played classical guitar. That memory inspired him, albeit many years later, to learn to play himself. It was during that time he took up the challenge of building his first guitar. He completed it in 2001 while taking a guitar building course at Orange Coast College. The passion for building grew slowly, but took hold when Chris traveled to Spain to paricipate in the Romanillos Guitar Building Course, under the direction of Jose and Liam Romanillos. He returned to Spain, and consequently to the Romanillos course in 2006 and 2012 to further his knowledge and understanding of the classical guitar.
Chris combines his love of music and his skill as an artist and craftsman, using time honored building techniques, materials and his own aesthetic touches to build a traditional Spanish style guitar.