Celebrating 30 Years of Training Luthiers

Over the past 3 decades

1980's

     
     
     
     

 

1990's

 

Filippo Avignonesi 
Rome, Italy/Moscow, Russia
www.filippoavignonesi.com

I must say I had a great time at Timeless in 1992.  I especially enjoyed working and having nice conversations with you at night while everyone else was already asleep. I learned a lot hands on and the atmosphere was perfect for me.

 Tobias Berg
Anzefahr, Germany
www.berg-guitars.de


I had a great time in Tugaske between early May until end of August in 1996. Memories that I cherish fondly. Davids course laid the foundation for was to come and already I’ve been building guitars for 20+ years. Many, many thanks "Amigo“!

 Sheldon Schwartz
Toronto, ON
http://www.schwartzguitars.com/



I tell everyone who asks that you were my first guitar building teacher and that you taught us lots of good stuff.

 Paddy Burgin
Wellington, New Zealand
http://www.burginguitars.co.nz/

"David works hard to create a stress

free relaxed environment where everyone can learn and not feel judged in any way. Basically we are

free to design and build our own dream! (within reason, one neck on that guitar only please) If you

find yourself falling behind, the workshop is open after hours so there are always people mucking

around at night, catching up on guitar building tasks"

READ PADDY'S FULL, VERY ENTERTAINING, RESPONSE HERE

 Doug & Rhonda Purdy
Brownlee, SK


Doug and I had the extreme pleasure of experiencing Timeless Instruments with David Freeman.  Doug built a guitar and I built a harp. Although when I started building, I invisioned just learning about how to build a harp.  Not so!  I learned way more about stamina, workmanship, and in David's words, "anything can be fixed"!  My harp is maybe not a masterpiece as far as workmanship goes, but it was one of the best things I ever did in my life.  Doug not only built his guitar but he had the opportunity to work for David Freeman as well.  Doug says that it wasn't just a job, working for David, he learned about every aspect of  instruments there were.  He also experienced handling the most incredible raw woods!  Doug says that his experience building his guitar was an incredible time in his life and he still says that he would like to, someday, build more.  I was priviledged to be able to give my harp to my daughter who plays it and Doug gave his wonderful guitar to his son!  Legacy that they will both have and we feel like our art has been passed to the next generation.  Thank YOU Mr. David Freeman!

 Daisaku Kobayashi
Nagano, Japan
www.daisakuguitars.com


Thanks for the unforgettable time at Timeless Instruments under the northern lights I saw with awesome people I met.

  Erica Heyligers

Whitehorse, YK


In 1994 I attended the 7 week course at Timeless where I built my first guitar. For me it was a life changer. Already a musician with an established woodworking business here in Whitehorse, I took what I learned and have since been the local luthier repairing every kind of string instrument. Sometimes even being a counsellor when a client would come in with their favourite instrument with the headstock broken off! I have since done other smaller workshops over the years such as bow rehairing, violin set up and repair. In addition, the GAL luthiers convention has always kept me current with the luthier world. David has also a been a source of information when I got stuck on something or just needed another ear to figure out a complex repair job.

Thank you Timeless Instruments for all that you have done for everyone!

 Jeremy Hamm
La Riviere, MB
www.jeremyhamm.ca


I wanted to be a violin maker, but after learning the basics of guitar construction with David as my guide I acquired a passion for building and repairing fretted stringed instruments that I haven't been able to shake. I build and repair guitars daily. What a wonderful start to an amazing journey that I've been on. Thank you Dave.

 Morgan Ahoff

Vancouver, BC
Here's me with the guitar I built in Tugaske. I refer to it affectionately as JML#1, and it's my daily player!

 

Incidentally, on the stand behind me is the "Targa" the only word that appears on it. I bought this electric guitar at Value Plus pawn shop in Winnipeg in 1987, and it's largely responsible for my interest in working on guitars. It had some kind of defect that nobody could help me figure out, and I remember driving back from the course in Tugaske and I'd learned enough about how guitars work that I knew exactly what was wrong with it. (when they were building it, they drew a pencil line where the saddles were supposed to be -- then drilled the holes for the string-through ferrules on that line, positioning the bridge about 3/8" too close to the FB.) It took some thinking, but I figured a way to move the bridge and ferrules to the right spot. This was the start of a lengthy list of modifications. I replaced the bridge, saddles, nut, tuners, output jack, and strung it with flatwound 12's to pull enough relief into the neck with the T-rod backed off all the way. Now working at Rufus Guitar Shop, former owner, Jenny, saw it and said, "I remember those! They were salesman's samples, but they never went into production." That explains why every one I've ever seen has been a little different, and why it's built like a one-of. Because it is. Took me 30 years, but it's nearly finished. Anyway, I digress

 

Here's JML#1 in behind, and JML#2 in front. JML stands for John Morgan Luthiery, my short-lived eponymous brand.

And just for kicks, here's me with the 3rd Acoustic Guitar Kit I ordered from Timeless Instruments. Been moving this from place to place for 20 years. I've made the neck, and jointed the backs and fronts. The template on the headstock is an ugly exploration to determine if I could make it as a 7-string (apparently I can). I remember when I was in Tugaske, David was boxing up a guitar kit and remarked, "I wonder how many of these kits I send out actually get made into guitars." Now I understand.
d
JML#1 and JML#2 are made off the same pattern, with slight adjustment to things like the size of the headstock and bridge. JML#1 has East Indian Rosewood back and sides, while JML#2 is mahogany. Interesting to hear the difference in sound from the two woods, in essentially the same guitar. I keep JML#2 in an alternate tuning, double-drop-D.

Many thanks, David, for helping me with my interest in this obscure little pursuit. I'm to this day amazed at your ability to teach anyone to build a guitar, and marvel at the amount of creative control you manage to offer students on their first instrument. Truly outstanding in your field...somewhere between Elbow and Eyebrow.

 Jordan McConnell
Winnipeg, MB
www.mcconnellguitars.com


My experience at Timeless instruments opened the door for me to a career as a guitar maker. It was a great experience that also led to cherished lifelong friendships.

   
     

2000's

 

John McNeil
Toronto, ON

It was David's class that gave me the building background to confidently enter the world of fretted instrument repair and restoration.  Learning about the properties of wood, guitar design, execution...how to properly use a tool...all these things were covered in detail.

 Ben Stolz
Martensville, SK


Learning to build a guitar was a life-changing experience. Learning about the tools and materials, and their spirit is a life long skill I didn't imagine I'd receive.

 Bill Fiorella
Viroqua, WI
www.littleflowerguitars.com


In the year 2000, I sold my Lowden, which I had played countless gigs on in New York City, to raise money to go to Saskatchewan to take David Freeman's guitar building course.  With no guitar left to play, and uncertain of what I was getting myself into, I was a bit nervous to say the least!  From day one of the course, I became immersed in the world of hand crafting guitars and by the end had produced a guitar that was beyond my own expectations.  I still play that guitar and everyone that hears it instantly wants one!  David Freeman is a master of his craft, an unparalleled educator, and one of the coolest guys that I have ever met.  The skills I learned while at Timeless Instruments helped me to succeed as a guitar repairman. 

   John McNeil Restoration
This guitar top & Neck hung on the wall of the porch other peices  sat in our wood bins, for years. John dug up all the pieces (no small task) and brought it back together.  This series of photos is a testament to John's crafstmanship and execution of the skills he has learned and developed.



 Jerry Samples
Wenatchee, WA


I have been building part time ever since attend the class at Timeless. To date I have completed 51 guitars, 3 bluegrass Dobro style guitars, and 1 F5 mandolin.   Of these, I have donated 6 guitars that were auctioned off in support of a Kids music camp held locally each year. 

Steve Hyde
Calgary, AB


 I came to Timeless Instruments a boy and left a man. David’s lessons helped me see that I could do anything I put my mind to.

 Craig Stevens
New Zealand
(NZ Course)
http://www.wavy.geek.nz/


It was a hoot and Paddy and Dave were founts of all sorts of knowledge and the class were a diverse but great bunch.  I came away with something that I’m pretty proud of.  Perhaps more importantly they taught me I could be patient and obtain high quality (relatively) results.  Normally, if I couldn’t knock something off in a few hours I’d say pass.  And then even more importantly maybe, it clicked that here was something that was worthwhile and creative and musical all at the same time.  Spending so much time with computers (type, type, type..), the hands on wood thing is pretty inspiring.

 .Vaughan Freeman
Calgary, AB


Timeless is much more than building an awesome guitar, the experience is quite simply the best way to discover yourself.

Mark Briggs
Regina, SK

Amazing. Seven weeks of pure exploration. Starting the day with exceptional lectures, one-to-one tutorials throughout the day, 24-hour shop access and occasional day trips for shopping and touring.

Thanks, David, for the opportunity to live the art and science of Lutherie.
Happy 30th.

 

 Kim Kennedy
Fernie, BC


I arrived at Timeless Instruments in the fall of 2004, four months pregnant with my first child and a head full of dreams about building guitars while my new bundle of joy was sleeping. This is where you hear the needle slide across the vinyl, what was I thinking! Ten years and two children later, I was finally ready to start building, good thing David was so thorough and my note taking was pretty good. My time in Tugaske was my last hurrah before my life changed forever, that last bit of freedom, sharing french press coffee and laughs with David and Kim, while trying to absorb the wealth of knowledge that David provided. My last name at the time of the course was Martin and we all joked about what I should call my company . . . A lot of very fond memories…

 Denton Fredrickson
Lethbridge, AB
http://www.dentonfredrickson.ca/

Timeless Instruments was a creative and caring environment to learn how to approach the interplay of sound and materials in a rigorous and rewarding manner.

 Darren Forbes
Regina, SK
www.forbesguitars.com


Both the summer construction short-course and the Buzz Feiten training were excellent experiences. From an educator’s perspective, Dave is a master educator and luthier.

 Joel Jacques
Ottawa, ON
www.bytowninstruments.com
www.ukeboxlessons.com

I loved my time learning to make instruments with you in Tugaske. Some of my fondest memories. Also, the skills you taught me have served me surprisingly well in the years since I was there.

 Nadine Kennedy
Lloydminster, AB
https://www.facebook.com/Beaditudes-153685451368294/


My experience at Timeless instruments was very memorable. I decided to take the course because I love music, play guitar and enjoy making things. I also got engaged to my husband while there (married 11 years now). It was a great experience(except for that time when I slit my thumb with a chisel and passed out) and I am glad to have taken the course.

  Luke Voth
Winnipeg, MB


Every year when the snow flies and the winter sets in, I remember my time spent in Tugaske. Beautiful memories and always a longing to return for another build.

 Orville Kaminski
Regina, SK
In May of 2005, at the age of 70, I enrolled in a 7 week guitar building class at Timeless Instruments, Tugaske SK.  With a certain amount of trepidation the contruction began by designing a template and selecting the raw materials as seen in Exhibit A.  With excellent tutilage from Master Luthier David Freeman, I finally went home in June with a classical acoustic instrument as seen on the same desk in Exhibit B

David Freeman is a very skilled luthier with a wealth of knowledge, not just about a whole lot of local and exotic woods, but also a skilled craftsman in construction, finishing and tuning a wide variety of instruments.  Most of the instruction is "hands-on", however, sometimes he also needs to demonstrate the fine art of bending the side for a guitar as seen in Exhibit C.

After Having completed the course and written exam, the decision had to be made whether to continue building or just quit there.  I finally set up a shop in my basement with most of the basic tools and build another six guitars.  I received excellent kits and necesary supplies from Timeless Instruments.  One of my favorites is the one with Padauk back and sides, yellow cedar neck, and holly binding as seen in Exhibit D
My goal was to present each of my six grandchildren with a guitar.  The first one is going to the youngest of the six who is presently also taking violin lessons.  It was with a deep sense of satisfaction that i was able to present the others in person.  They are seen in Exhibits E & F.

This was by far the most satisfying hobby in my retirement and I express my sincerest appreciation to David Freeman for out continuing friendship!

 Jody Weger
Brandon, MB
www.dahlstreetrecords.com 



I look at my time in Tugaske as being some of the most formative weeks of my life. I still use the skills I learned there regularly.

 Nathan Babich
Mortlach, SK
www.nathanbabich.ca



I had just finished high school, and I went to Timeless Instruments. I thought I knew a lot about guitars; I soon learned I didn’t know anything about guitars. I built a 000 size instrument with rosewood back and sides and a mother of pearl sun moon inlay on the headstock. I learned a lot that greatly affects what it is I am looking for in an instrument today and how I approach the guitar all round.

 Morgan Gilet
Caulnes, Brittany, France
www.mg-mandolins.com




Beyond the wonderful technical and theoretical knowledge I acquired on string instrument design and building, my stay at Timeless Instruments was a very rich personal experience. Definitely a milestone on my road.

 Deam Reimer
Winnipeg, MB


I really enjoyed the Guitar Construction course at Timeless Instruments. It was a pleasure getting to know and work along side the other men who took the course at the same time. I enjoyed and value the training I received. David you are an excellent teacher.

   

 

 

 

2010's

 Tim Scholl
Medicine Hat, AB


Since graduating from Timeless instruments I have completed several instruments for personal enjoyment including an electric bass and Irish bazooki. The resulting woodworking skills also allowed me to get side tracked on numerous other projects.

 Dave Royal
New Carlisle, QC

 Robert Vogt
New Jersey

 Kevin Hubenig
Edmonton, AB


My first project fueled solely by passion and guided by a man with the same passion; the course was a honor to be a part of.

 Zac Schellenberg
Saskatoon, SK



Heading down to Tugaske changed my life. It was the perfect location to learn from one of the best. This is a great course and the best way to get your toes wet in the world of lutherie.

Larry Marko
Vancouver, BC

David taught me how to build a guitar, but also in the process, I learned that making a mistake is actually an opportunity to try a different approach...a life lesson worth its weight in ebony. :)
David is a luthier and a sage!  Here's to another 30 yrs of learning!

 

 Travis Wiebe
Saskatoon, SK


The fourteen weeks I spent at Timeless Instruments changed the way I look at guitars. Thank you, Dave, for an incredibly rewarding experience!

 Ari Lantela
Vancouver, BC


Learning how to slap a guitar together with David in fall of 2013 was one of the most memorable times of my life.  Building something like that with your own two hands and seeing it all come together alongside other classmates really builds character.  Oct 2013 also marks the first time I grew out my beard.  I have never shaved since.

 Matti Palonen
Toronto, ON
http://www.palonenmusic.com/


Studying with David Freeman gave me the skills to design and build kanteles recognized for their quality by some of the best players in Finland

 Jordan Paetsch
Regina, SK


Truly a life-changing experience. I will remember my time here forever and I have a couple of 6-strings to show for it. The experience and the town truly are timeless: everything stops as it moves so quickly, the rest of the world is on it's own time, and your time is swallowed up into sound, into the build. Dave is truly a master at his craft and as a teacher; his patience is unrivaled and knowledge is endless. Congratulations on 30 years! There's no one who deserves it more!

 Leslie Cooper
Bay Roberts, NL


 
I will add a photo of the guitar I made to this. It gets used every day and my music teacher is awaiting  number 2 to be done he already staked a claim to it luckily he is a patient man. As for a reflection my time at Timeless saved me a huge amount of learning time compared to learning from a book which is a big deal at my age!  

 Jackson Corry
Red Deer, AB
www.thecorryboys.com



Timeless was an awesome experience -7 weeks of full immersion is really a jump start into the world of lutherie.

Phil Bottomley
Toronto, ON
www.philbottomleyguitars.com


I will never forget the time I spent in Tugaske. David's attention to detail and care for his students is superlative. His love and appreciation for music is contagious. I found a sense of home and belonging in Tugaske. David is a truly a master. Leaving with a fantastic guitar would seem to be the main objective and reward, but what I left with, and value even more, is a growing hunger to add to what I learned. And now, I'm overcome with a warm sense of nostalgia as I continue to work on my new career as a luthier.