One of the most stunning new arrivals to the guitar scene this season is Larrivee’s all-new 2023 Baker-T Classic. This guitar is Larrivee’s latest precision-built, American-made T-Style electric guitar and features a sought-after pickup design by Matthew Larrivée, custom polished stainless steel hardware and exclusive vintage electronics.
The Baker-T Classic comes in five stunning new finishes including Burgundy Mist, Ice Blue Metallic (my personal favorite), Copper Metallic, Diablo Red, and Surf Green. Larrivee paints the headstocks to match the body and stamps them with a custom metal vapor logo in chrome and black chrome. The resulting look is really sharp.
All of Larrivee’s headstocks are fitted with high-end Gotoh SDS-510 tuners for ultra-smooth precision, capped off by a multi-layer CNC-made pickguard secured with brass inserts and machine screws.
If you’re surprised that Larrivee, typically known for its incredible acoustics, is putting out an electric guitar, don’t be. Larrivee actually has a long history of building electric guitars.
How Jean Larrivee Started Building Electric Guitars
In 1982, acoustic guitar sales were at low ebb industry-wide, and Jean was faced with some decisions. He closed his shop in Victoria, BC and moved his operation to North Vancouver where he had to choose whether to lay off his staff and continue by himself, or continue producing only acoustic guitars with a very small staff.
With almost 20 years worth of equipment, he could have made a very good living. The market was soft—but not dead—and Jean had distributors who could have absorbed what he could have produced with a small operation. However, the market for electric guitars was healthy, and for the first time in years, companies other than Gibson and Fender were having some success in the high-quality, high-end of the market.
Jean was intrigued by the challenge of learning to manufacture electric guitars. He had an excellent dealer and distributor base from acoustic guitars, good woodworking equipment, and knew a lot about guitars. He also knew a lot of musicians who were willing to help steer him in the right direction; he decided to go for it.
The very first Larrivee Electric was born in Victoria, BC in 1982 and was a double cutaway Stratocaster style guitar. And while the electric guitars Larrivee has produced over the years have undergone many changes and iterations since, the company’s consistent dedication to producing the highest quality, best sounding and most stylish guitars has always been industry-leading. And the new Larrivee Baker-T Classic is no exception; this one does not disappoint.
Larrivee’s Building Partnerships with Other Companies
Did you know that Larrivee has produced some solid body instruments with brand names other than Larrivee? Schon Guitars and Signature Guitars were produced under contract to other companies, as were some Kramer guitars.
Schon Guitars - Neil Schon, the great electric guitar player from the band Journey, had a dream to market his own line of guitars. He wanted to design the guitars, and have his people control marketing and distribution, but he was smart enough to not want to manufacture them. Originally he approached Jackson Guitars, and they produced the first Schons. For whatever reason, the business relationship didn't work out, and Neil approached Jean Larrivee and asked him to build the guitars.
All that to say, Larrivee’s electric guitar-building skills have been coveted going all the way back to the ‘80s.