Jens Erik Larsen

- Instruments

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I create hand-crafted, quality instruments with a focus on sustainability,
local woods and up-cycling of old materials.

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About Me

My interest in making musical instruments goes back many years and illustrates a meeting of many of my life’s interests.
As a kid I always liked to draw, paint and create stuff, and arts and crafts were among my favourite classes in primary school. I started playing guitar when I was about twelve and still do today. I took a lot of guitar classes as a kid and spent a lot of time studying music in high school. This also made me interested in other instruments than just the guitar.

As for building, I made my first cookie jar banjo somewhere in 4th grade with my childhood friend Nanna. During high school, I created a bunch of electric guitar bodies, varying from copies of Prince’s spiral guitar to own designs. After high school I attended an evening course led by a local primary school teacher, Jack Billing, where I started building my first archtop guitar – because it looked the coolest of the instruments in the guitar family. I didn’t finish it during the course, as I went traveling for a year to India, Turkey, Bulgaria, Spain and parts of the Caribbean.

This trip only got me more excited and inspired to create, and when I got home in 2013 I started a joinery course, and simultaneously started an afternoon apprenticeship at Niels Ole ‘Solle’ Frøkjær of Copenhagen Guitars, where I finished up my archtop and learned a great array of repairing skills from this amazing repairer and builder of guitars. I finally found an education that was actually focusing on the craftsmanship of instruments, and in 2015 I entered Stockholm’s school of lutherie, Musikinstrumentakademien, where, for three years, I learned how to build a great variety of stringed instruments, from classical guitars to mandolins.

So here I stand today, making my own living in a world of wood dust and sound waves. Wanting to experiment with the constraints of what an instrument is and to evolve my skills by building a lot of instruments for the people who need them –musicians! So I am up for making strange and unusual-looking experiments, but enjoy making traditional Scandinavian folk instruments as well! I build primarily with local, European varieties of wood, such as maple, elm, spruce, pine, ash, oak etc., and I find joy in recycling materials. I don’t use varnishes such as nitro cellulose and polyurethane because they are highly toxic, opting instead for either French polish with shellac or oil or wax finishes, which are better both for the environment and my brain.

Instruments for Sale

These instruments are currently for sale. Contact me for a price.

Violin Inspired Archtop Guitar

A nice and mellow sounding arch top guitar built from the traditional materials of the violin family. European spruce top, European flamed maple back, sides and neck, ebony bridge, fretboard, tailpiece and pickguard.

The guitar has a 25-inch scale length and quite a wide neck. The neck is attached to the body with a wedge system inspired by Japanese joinery – no glue or screws are necessary!

The finish is French polished shellac.

Mandolas

Two sibling mandolas, build from the same stock of wood for the purpose of testing the floating and the glued bridge’s effect on the sound. So one has a floating bridge, one has a glued bridge.

Tops of European spruce
Backs, sides and necks of Danish elm
Fretboards, headveneer and bridges of fumed Swedish oak
Scalelength: 17 inches

The tops are finished with French polished shellac and the bodies and necks with Danish oil.

The mandolas are sold for a reduced price because they have already been played prior to my sound experiment.

Contact

If you are interested in getting an instrument made, repaired, have ideas for cooperations or just a simple question, please contact me on:

Jens Erik Larsen
jens@jelinstruments.com
+45 52 16 62 69

I'm based in Copenhagen, working atm on setting up a new workshop.

Jel Instruments