1. William Laskin – Custom Guitar Maker
William “Grit” Laskin has been building custom guitars since 1971. He the originator of many innovations in guitar history. One thing that he specializes in now is custom art inlaid in guitars. He also authored The Guitarmaker’s Canvas, published in 2003, which documents his experiences and knowledge.
In 1997, He received Canada’s prestigious Saidye Bronfman Award For Excellence, the first and only instrument maker to be so honoured. He is also an elected fellow of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts, and included both in the University Of Toronto’s “Who’s Who In Canada” as well as the Encyclopedia of Music In Canada. Most recently he received the Estelle Klein (lifetime achievement) Award, from the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals.
In addition to building the instruments, Laskin uses them as “canvases” for his engraved inlay art. He is now internationally acknowledged as having single-handedly taken the tradition of musical instrument decoration beyond the purely decorative. For Laskin, the inlay medium has become a tool for communication, not merely embellishment.