About Xaver Guitars
My name is Gerry Gruber and I have been building flat-top steel-string acoustic guitars since 1999. I have also been playing the guitar since I was 12 years old, and so have an appreciation of how a good guitar should play and sound. My vision is to build a guitar for you that meets every expectation you have for your once-in-a-lifetime guitar.
Building guitars is not a hobby for me. It is a full-time pursuit, that often consumes my thoughts every moment I am awake. I guess you could say I am "passionate" about building guitars. My wife describes me as a perfectionist. I can't imagine building top-end guitars and not being a perfectionist.
People often ask me how I learned to build guitars. I didn't attend any official guitar-building school. My knowledge and skill do come from books and journals, but also from every answer other guitar-builders gratiously offered to my questions, and there were many questions, particularly in the early years. And naturally, much of my guitar-making skills comes from the school of "hard-knocks", otherwise known as experience. (I try not to make the same mistake twice. And when something works well, I make a note of it. I keep a building manual that I refer to often, which is a compendium of the techniques and specifications that I use in my work.) I am also a member of the Guild of American Luthiers and of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans.
Note that I refer to myself as a guitar-builder or maker rather than the loftier term "luthier". I do this, in part because most people are not familiar with the term "luthier", but more importantly, because the term "luthier" implies an expertise in building and repairing all "stringed instruments". I have worked on a violin or two over the years. But, my expertise and focus is limited to steel-string flat-top guitars. There is enough complexity and challenge in building a good steel-string flat-top guitar to keep me busy for a lifetime.
I am also asked on ocassion if I do repair work. As part of the lifetime warranty that is included with every guitar I sell, I do repair/maintenance work on my own instruments. However, I do not repair other guitars. The reason is that each guitar brand, whether production or hand-built, is different. Good repair work requires an in-depth understanding of the guitar you are working on. I know how my guitars are put together because I built them. In general, I know how a Taylor, or Martin, or Gibson guitar is put together. But, I don't know enough to confidently repair them. There are people who do have expertise in repairing these guitars, and you are best advised to seek them out when repair work is needed.
My climate-controlled workshop is located in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), where I have access to some of the best tone woods in the world. I also have a good supply and variety of tone wood in my shop. Although you may find a guitar or two of mine in retail stores, for the most part I sell my guitars directly to the public. And, unlike many companies these days, I do reply personally and usually within 24 hours to all email inquiries.
Why the Name "Xaver"
A little about the name "Xaver" Guitars, pronounced x-offer, as in "an offer to help". My guitar-building practice is dedicated to my grandfather, Franz Xaver Gruber, who inspired me to begin to build guitars. My grandfather never built a guitar, but there was little else he did not make out of wood. He was a cabinet-maker by trade, before he emigrated to Canada from Germany in 1927. In Canada, he operated a grain and cattle farm, but continued with his wood-working when time allowed and necessity dictated. He built barns, one-room school houses, cupboards, shuffle-board tables, and even coffins. He also did repair work on the odd violin.
In his retirement, my grandfather began to build miniature horse-drawn wagons, buggies, and sleighs. Each model was true to the original functionality of the wagon or farm implement. On the right, for example, this grain wagon can be removed from the chassis, and replaced with a hay wagon, just as the original would have been.
My grandfather did not make the horses in these pictures. However, he did make all of the harnesses, again true to the original designs.
He did not limit himself to wagons either, as can be seen from this plough on the right.
I always admired my grandfather's positive outlook on life. In his honour, each of my guitars carries his name - "Xaver".