Jérôme Casanova is a guitar maker specializing in making guitars based on the classical forms, as well as restoring antique plucked string instruments.
“The plucked string instrument family is very large. It includes classical, folk and electric guitars of course, but also the mandolin, banjo, lute (which was very popular until the 18th century, and from which the craft of lutherie derives its name) and many other types of instruments” explains Jérôme. It is precisely this variety in instrument types and historical periods of making that first attracted him to this field of expertise.
In order to perfect his understanding of the various styles of making and ability to differentiate between makers, allowing him to attribute and value instruments, Jérôme spent time researching the history and pictorial representations of these instruments, and visited public exhibitions and private collections. For seven years he also had the opportunity to follow and observe the expert assessments made by Françoise and Daniel Sinier de Ridder. These two plucked string instrument experts specialize in the restoration of historical instruments, including museum pieces, and worked for Vichy Enchères amongst others.
At the same time, Jérôme pursued his own business making guitars in his workshop. “I have focused on the making of classical models, whose intimate nature particularly attracts me. However, I take inspiration from the techniques and work of luthiers from all periods to build my instruments. It seems essential to me to research this subject continuously in order to create my own sound and express my musical ideas” explains this passionate maker, who also restores plucked string instruments from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, Jérôme provides expert advice and instrument adjustments to pop guitarists such as Jean-Louis Murat, Jean-Louis Aubert and Thomas Dutronc, as well as the great classical guitarists.
Despite branching out into a variety of activities, Jérôme never felt he left the core of his field, as he points out: “For me it is all coming from the same source, allowing me to embrace all aspects relating to this family of instruments. I am always fascinated to discover new models and makers”. He is therefore delighted to have joined the team at the Vichy auction house, to take part in valuations for the major musical instrument auctions, and become a key participant in the plucked string instrument market. “The prices and trends in this market are changing rapidly. American guitars of the 1950s and 60s, such as those made by Fender and Gibson, are becoming more and more valuable. Across the Atlantic, collectors are proud of this national heritage and prices can easily go above 50,000 euros!” explains Jérôme.