To get to the genesis of the Mile End Guitar Coop we first need to leave Montreal and head to the woods of Chelsea, Quebec, and the workshop of luthier Sergei de Jonge.  Sergei is a world renowned builder that began his career as the first apprentice to famed Canadian luthier Jean Larrivee in the early 70's and has himself now taught hundreds of aspiring luthiers from around the world.  Two such luthiers, Jeremy Clark and Michael Kennedy, were incredibly fortunate to be taken in by Sergei as apprentices starting in the winter of 2005/6.  Jeremy and Mike spent the next few years living and working with Sergei everyday and absorbing as much of Sergei's vast and generously given knowledge as they could.    

Sergei carving back braces

photo by Charles Le Guen

Mike and Jeremy absorbing some of that knowledge

photo by Charles Le Guen

Having spent three years at Sergei's sharing a shop/bunk-beds/tent, in the fall of 2008 Jeremy and Mike decided it was time to set up a shop of their own.  Jeremy and Mike had made many trips to Montreal for concerts and had gotten a glimpse at the incredibly vibrant art/music/culture scene happening there.  Another friend from Montreal, Dave Madakoro, who had taken Sergei's course, was interested in setting up shop as well and found a space in a building with lots of... "bohemian charm".  Despite the rough edges, it was a wonderful first space -- one neighbor across the hall was an amazing artist, another a musician, sculptors, photographers, and so on.   They were quickly surrounded and immersed in the creativity they had hoped for! 

Early days in the shop sleeping on the floor and dining on Brazilian Rosewood and mahogany

More coming soon...