Larrivée History

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(Sources include Larrivee's website, WikiPedia, and Larrivee customer service emails.)

  • 1967: An old house in Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1968-71: Basement of Jean’s Townhouse in Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1971-72: Above the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1971: First steel-string guitar
  • 1972-73: Storefront on Mount Pleasant in Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1973-75: Portland Street Shop in Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1975-77: Dwight Street in Mimico, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1976: 8 people, 25-30 guitars/month
  • 1977-82: Esquimalt Shop, Victoria, BC, Canada
  • 1977: 14 people, 4 guitars/day
  • 1982-92: 267 E. 1st Street Shop in North Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1983: First solid-body electric
  • 1984: switched from hot lacquer to catalyzed modified polyurethane finish
  • 1989: First use of CNC
  • 1991: 11,000 sq ft, 35 people, 25 guitars/day
  • 1993-98: Victoria Diversion shop in Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1993: 50/60/70 series introduced with large sound holes, 383 built
  • 1995: switched from polyurethane to McFadden UV polyester finish
  • 1996: 50 people, 20 guitars/day
  • 1997: 60 people, 40 guitars/day
  • 1997: D-Lite, D-03 introduced
  • 1998-Present: Cordova Street Factory in Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • 1998: 33,000 sq ft in Vancouver, 100 people, 60 guitars/day
  • 2001-Present: Yarnell Place Factory in Oxnard, CA, USA
  • 2010: switched from McFadden UV polyester to a new dual-cured finish (partial catalyzation with cobalt & peroxide, and UV light)
  • 2010: went to a stacked heel with the -03 series, then reintroduced the -02 series with stacked heel, and went back to one-piece necks for the -03 series

Ongoing discussion on the Larrivee Guitar Forum


Virtually all gloss guitars have been made in california since 2001. From 2001 to 2003 many of the bodies were made in Canada and then completed in America. The first truely completely American Made Larrivee is an L-09 with Serial #80000 which resides in the Larrivee Collection for sentimental purposes.
While there are some parts that made or shaped by CNC, I wouldnt nessesarily call that automation. There are no robots assembling parts, or spraying finishes, or buffing. There are no conveyor belts moving instruments from one step to another. The work is all hand done. I know in many cases many of the parts that have moved to the CNC machine have been done so because i'm terrified of using a machine called a shaper (A 5" tall, 3.5" diameter router spinning at 7500rpm).
As a family (and a company), we have a policy that we will not alter the instrument for the sake of technology - I.e. we will not change the core design of the guitar for the sake of "fitting" it to a piece of technology for the sake of increased production.

— Source: Matthew Larrivée January 7, 2012

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