I started playing the guitar at the age of 11 (that was some twenty years ago). From the very beginning I was interested in how to create different sounds with different instruments. Whether or not I could actually play them, I soon found out that I just had to make some noise!

One day I heard that a neighbour of mine had thrown his guitar in the dumpster. There was a missing tuner and apparently he wasn´t interested in fixing it. So I took it home and was still kind of shocked that someone had let it go. With my beat-up Eko I was soon playing along to my favourite Nirvana songs.

I became obsessed with guitar gear. I can´t tell you how many pedals I own or how many different tubes I have in my drawer. Of course there needs to be different amps for different situations was my way of thinking.

But I think that spending huge amounts of time tinkering with guitars, pedals and amps helped me to form my views of a good guitar tone, understand how instruments are made and why do they sound like they do. Having played in a number of different bands has helped me for sure. Playing music for living almost happened for me. When I started to see my friends becoming working musicians I realized that maybe it was not for me. I simply just wasn´t good enough to turn into a professional. Instead of playing music for living I started to think if I could become a guitar builder and a repairman.

Before I knew I was studying guitar making in Ikaalinen. I did my internship periods at Ruokangas Guitars in Finland and at Pete Howlett Ukulele in Wales. I also had attended to Pete´s ukulele building course a little earlier.

When I was still in school luthier Jarno Salo approached me and asked if I was interested in sharing a workshop with him in Järvenpää. Of course I was and after I graduated we joined forces.

I also teach a guitar making class in Järvenpää. I have definitely learned a lot from seeing how the students build their instruments, solve problems and design things. And it´s also a welcome change from what I normally do at the workhop.

When I think of ”a perfect guitar” one thing comes to my mind. It needs to grab you – not the other way around. Of course every guitar needs to be setup right and function correctly. All the materials and parts need to work in tandem. I genuinely love all guitars, but there is just something about vintage guitars that I´m more towards to. Maybe it´s the aged looks or all the history that the instruments carry. I strive to make instruments that have their own identity and have all the abilities to simply make you play more!

-Olli

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