Linda Manzer

Last updated

Linda Manzer
Occupation(s) Luthier
Years active1970s–present
Associated acts Pat Metheny, Stephen Fearing, Bruce Cockburn

Linda Manzer (born July 2, 1952) is a Canadian master luthier renowned for her archtop, flat top, and harp guitars.



Manzer was a folk singer in high school and played guitar. Her career began when she wanted a dulcimer, but she couldn't afford to buy one, so she built one from a kit. She attended two art colleges, where she studied painting. For the craft of making flattop guitars she studied with Jean Larrivée from 1974 to 1978. She went to New York in 1983 and 1984 and studied archtop building with Jimmy D'Aquisto. [1]

In addition to her standard models, she has designed and built by hand over 50 guitar prototypes, including soprano guitar, the first acoustic baritone guitar, she also designed the first acoustic sitar guitar plus several multinecked harp guitars.

She has designed and built over 25 instruments for jazz musician Pat Metheny, including the Pikasso, which has 42 strings and four necks. He has played the Pikasso on many albums including Imaginary Day , What's It All About , and Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories) . He played her baritone guitar on the album One Quiet Night . Plus she built and co-designed with Metheny a limited edition of 30 handmade Metheny-Manzer signature models to celebrate a 30-year collaboration with Pat Metheny.

Professional musicians who own Manzer guitars include Julian Lage, Carlos Santana, Henrik Andersen, Stephen Fearing, Milton Nascimento, Liona Boyd, Heather Bishop, Bruce Cockburn, Paul Simon, Roy Patterson, Marie-Lynn Hammond, Susan Crowe, and Gordon Lightfoot. [2]

Her custom designs include the 52-stringed Medusa owned by Danish musician Henrik Andersen.

Pikasso Guitar

Pikasso guitar Pikasso Guitar (lowres).jpg
Pikasso guitar
Pat Metheny with the 42-string Pikasso guitar MethenyPikasso.JPG
Pat Metheny with the 42-string Pikasso guitar

In 1984 Pat Metheny requested a guitar that had "as many strings as possible". Manzer came up with the Pikasso, a guitar with 42 strings arranged in four string sections, including a hexaphonic pickup to interface with Metheny's Synclavier synthesizer. The Pikasso has two holes for mounting the guitar on a stand, allowing the guitarist to play the guitar without having to hold it. Metheny plays the Pikasso on "Finding and Believing" from Secret Story, "Montevideo" and "Dismanteling Utopia" from Quartet (Pat Metheny album), "Into the Dream" from Imaginary Day, and "The Sound of Water" from his Quartet album with Brad Mehldau. [1] [3] While building the Pikasso, Manzer invented "The Wedge" body geometry: Because there were so many strings crisscrossing Manzer wanted Metheny to be able to see all the strings while looking down at the guitar. She settled on a wedge shape, with the sides of the guitar being skinnier under the arm and wider on the knee. This enabled Metheny to have a slight aerial view of the strings because the guitar leaned back a little. The added benefit was it was more physically comfortable. In the 1980s she began using the "Manzer Wedge" design for all of her guitars. [1] [3]

See also

Related Research Articles

Jazz guitar Jazz instrument and associated playing style

The term jazz guitar may refer to either a type of electric guitar or to the variety of guitar playing styles used in the various genres which are commonly termed "jazz". The jazz-type guitar was born as a result of using electric amplification to increase the volume of conventional acoustic guitars.

Pat Metheny American jazz guitarist and composer

Patrick Bruce Metheny is an American jazz guitarist and composer.

Acoustic bass guitar Type of acoustic instrument

The acoustic bass guitar is a bass instrument with a hollow wooden body similar to, though usually larger than a steel-string acoustic guitar. Like the traditional electric bass guitar and the double bass, the acoustic bass guitar commonly has four strings, which are normally tuned E-A-D-G, an octave below the lowest four strings of the 6-string guitar, which is the same tuning pitch as an electric bass guitar.

Gibson L-5

The Gibson L-5 guitar was first produced in 1922 by the Gibson Guitar Corporation, then of Kalamazoo, Michigan, under the direction of acoustical engineer and designer Lloyd Loar, and has been in production ever since. It was considered the premier guitar of the company during the big band era. It was originally offered as an acoustic instrument, with electric models not made available until the 1940s.

Steve Rodby American jazz bassist and producer (born 1954)

Steve Rodby is an American jazz bassist and producer known for his time with the Pat Metheny Group.

Pat Metheny Group

The Pat Metheny Group was an American jazz band founded in 1977. The core members of the group were guitarist, composer and bandleader Pat Metheny; and keyboardist and composer Lyle Mays, who was in the group at its inception. Other long-standing members included bassist and producer Steve Rodby, from 1981 to 2010, and Antonio Sanchez, from 2002 to 2010. Vocalist Pedro Aznar and drummer Paul Wertico were also long-time members. In addition to a core quartet, the group was often joined by a variety of other instrumentalists expanding the size to six or eight musicians.

Jim Hall (musician) American jazz guitarist, composer (1930–2013)

James Stanley Hall was an American jazz guitarist, composer and arranger.

Baritone guitar

The baritone guitar is a guitar with a longer scale length, typically a larger body, and heavier internal bracing, so it can be tuned to a lower pitch. Gretsch, Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, ESP Guitars, PRS Guitars, Music Man, Danelectro, Schecter, Jerry Jones Guitars, Burns London and many other companies have produced electric baritone guitars since the 1960s, although always in small numbers due to low popularity. Tacoma, Santa Cruz, Taylor, Martin, Alvarez Guitars and others have made acoustic baritone guitars.

Tenor guitar Four-stringed guitar

The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, four-string relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar. The instrument was initially developed in its acoustic form by Gibson and C.F. Martin so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on guitar.

Electric sitar

An electric sitar is a type of electric guitar designed to mimic the sound of the sitar, a traditional musical instrument of India. Depending on the manufacturer and model, these instruments bear varying degrees of resemblance to the traditional sitar. Most resemble the electric guitar in the style of the body and headstock, though some have a body shaped to resemble that of the sitar.

Experimental musical instrument

An experimental musical instrument is a musical instrument that modifies or extends an existing instrument or class of instruments, or defines or creates a new class of instrument. Some are created through simple modifications, such as cracked drum cymbals or metal objects inserted between piano strings in a prepared piano. Some experimental instruments are created from household items like a homemade mute for brass instruments such as bathtub plugs. Other experimental instruments are created from electronic spare parts, or by mixing acoustic instruments with electric components.

<i>One Quiet Night</i> 2003 studio album by Pat Metheny

One Quiet Night is a solo acoustic guitar album by Pat Metheny that won the Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 2004. He recorded the album at his home studio on a baritone guitar built for him by Linda Manzer.

<i>Metheny/Mehldau Quartet</i> 2007 studio album by Pat Metheny, Brad Mehldau, Jeff Ballard, Larry Grenadier

Metheny Mehldau Quartet is a jazz album by guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau, released in 2007 by Nonesuch Records.

Vicki Genfan

Vicki Genfan is an American singer and guitarist.

<i>Quartet</i> (Pat Metheny album) 1996 studio album by Pat Metheny Group

Quartet (1996) is the eighth album by the Pat Metheny Group. The album features Pat Metheny on guitar, Lyle Mays on keyboards, Steve Rodby on bass, and Paul Wertico on drums. The approach for the album was to not write lengthy compositions before recording but instead use merely sketches and rely mostly on improvisation in a setting with just acoustic instruments. A departure from the usual thoroughly orchestrated sound using synthesizers and sequencing the Group is usually known for. The result is experimental, moody, and loose, even dark in some moments. The instrumentation relies mostly on acoustic instruments including various keyboard instruments such as the spinet piano, Harmonium, Fender Rhodes, autoharp and various guitars including the 42-string Pikasso guitar. The Roland GR-303 makes appearances on "Oceania" and "Language of Time".

Experimental luthier

Experimental luthiers are luthiers who take part in alternative stringed instrument manufacturing or create original string instruments altogether.

Collings Guitars

Collings Guitars is an Austin, Texas based stringed instrument manufacturer. The company was founded in 1973 by Bill Collings who in 2008 was called "one of the most recognized and respected names amongst aficionados of modern acoustic instruments". Their acoustic guitars have been highly regarded for decades. In addition to acoustic guitars they also make electric guitars, archtop guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles.

Gil Dor

Gil Dor is an Israeli guitar player mostly known for his long term collaboration as accompanist, arranger, producer and co-composer with international concert and recording artist Achinoam Nini, also known as Noa.

Lichty Guitars

Lichty Guitars is an American company based in Tryon, North Carolina, that has been making custom acoustic guitars and ukuleles since 2009. It was founded by musician Jay Lichty, who honed his craft with luthier Wayne Henderson.

From This Place is a studio album by American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, released in February 2020 on the Nonesuch label.


  1. 1 2 3 Smith, Pat (June 17, 2009). "Builder Profile: Linda Manzer". Premier Guitar. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  2. "The Larrivee Tradition of Handmade Canadian Guitars, by Zak Morgan". Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  3. 1 2 Booth, Allen. "Manzer Guitars". Retrieved January 15, 2017.