Comox Valley luthier Reuben Forsland is building this guitar for rock ‘n’ roll legend Slash (inset)

Slash commissions local luthier

Comox guitar crafter creating custom-built instrument for world-renowned musician

  • Nov. 20, 2014 4:00 p.m.

Renee Andor

Special to The Record

A Comox Valley guitar maker, with just seven years of experience, nabbed a huge client for one of his custom-made creations — Slash.

Luthier Reuben Forsland, 41, says he’s blown away that the former lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses chose him out of eight luthiers from around North America, many of whom have 30 to 40 years of experience.

“I was really excited,” the owner of JOI Guitars says with a grin. “To be this young … and also this short into (my) career, this is really a good thing … this is opportunity … who knows what can happen.”

The guitar is a birthday present to Slash from his wife Perla Ferrar. The choice of who would make the six-string acoustic guitar was narrowed down to luthiers who could offer a very rare kind of Honduran mahogany; Forsland was one of just eight in North America.

“It’s very, very good sounding,” says Forsland. “It’s one-of-a-kind.”

The wood certainly is one-of-a-kind as it comes from one particular tree, which was cut down in 1965 in a Honduran jungle. The tree fell into a deep ravine and stayed there until the early 1980s, when it was quartered then removed. Most of the tree was made into furniture but, because the sound is exceptional, the furniture is re-used for instruments; the piece used in the body of the guitar Forsland is making used to be a table.

Forsland was also chosen for his style, which features an array of unique materials. The top of Slash’s guitar is made from 3,000-year-old glacier spruce and the tuners are made from petrified whale vertebrae.

Forsland was commissioned in July around the time of Slash’s birthday (July 23). He met with Slash in August to decide on the details of the guitar.

“That was pretty cool,” he recalls. “He’s totally wicked. He’s mellow. We sat down and just started talking about guitars and what he liked, and discussed what he might like for designs — and he was just mellow, cool.”

Forsland will meet Slash again in early December when he travels to Los Angeles to deliver the rock ‘n’ roll legend’s birthday gift.

When completed, the guitar will have taken about two months to build, and Forsland guesses he’ll be fine-tuning his work right up until he leaves.

He notes each guitar he makes is crafted to produce a sound unique to the musician who commissioned it, and Slash’s guitar will put out a “big sound.”

“(I hope) he’s happy with it and stoked about it, and from there, doors just open,” says Forsland. “I get lots of customers that are happy with their stuff but they’re not that big (name).

“He goes on tour with Aerosmith for a couple months after I give him this guitar, so he’ll be hanging out with Steven Tyler and those guys … and (Slash is) a big guy, so rock on really.”

Forsland spent more than 15 years as a professional carpenter, furniture maker and woodworker before he started training to become a luthier seven years ago.

For more information about Forsland’s custom guitars, visit www.joiguitars.com, or check out the JOI Guitars on Facebook.

Just Posted

Single vehicle crash on Old Island Highway sends driver to hospital

A single-vehicle crash just north of Courtenay early Friday morning sent one… Continue reading

Driftwood Mall hosts Christmas tree silent auction for YANA

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — at the Driftwood… Continue reading

Annual Sharing the Christmas Spirit Hamper Program is underway

A fundraising dance will be held for the program next Saturday at the Native Sons Hall.

Hornby Island Co-op to stop selling plastic water bottles

In a bid to think globally but act locally, a Hornby Island… Continue reading

Virtuality Reality comes to the Comox Valley

Two new VR gaming centres opened locally last month, coincidentally on the same weekend.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Cubs move onto semis

It’s been a roller-coaster ride in Florida, but the Comox Valley Cubs… Continue reading

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Most Read