According to the Guild of American Violin Makers, a luthier is a guitar maker and with their art they bring wood to life to create beautiful music.
Tyler MacDonald, a local luthier, creates handcrafted electric guitars from exotic woods from sustainably grown trees around the world. By owning a Tyler guitar, you get something unique, that lasts a lifetime, and that will make an impact on someone. According to Tyler, “If someone takes one of my guitars and falls in love with it, I’ve done my job.”
Tyler grew up listening to classic rock, and Led Zeppelin was the first band he “fit” into as a child. He also likes the style of their guitarist Jimmy Page. Another influence has been the legendary Jimmy Hendrix with his unique style and sound. Tyler admires the way Hendrix seems to effortlessly become one with the guitar, something Tyler strives to achieve as an artist.
He grew up on Marco and attended Tommie Barfield Elementary School and Marco Island Charter Middle School. He loved to explore the outdoors and fondly remembers snook fishing under the Jolley Bridge when there was a catwalk below.
As an artist, Tyler is widely known for his photography. He started his photography business at the age of 14, exhibiting at local and national art exhibitions. A key moment for him came at the age of 12. Tyler had his first show at the Esplanade Left Bank Art Fest and it’s pretty much sold out!
Receiving a plastic recorder in second grade was another key moment where music became a part of Tyler’s life. In third grade he started playing the saxophone, and this continued throughout his years at Lely High School, performing with the marching band, jazz band and orchestra from across the county.
For Tyler, among all art forms, music was very important to him but as his photography took off he put the music on hiatus. But now the music is making a comeback with its guitars.
Tyler was drawn to the guitar the same way he was drawn to photography: curiosity. For over a year he studied the process; he took guitars apart to see how the pieces fit together and why they worked.
After a recharging trip to Colorado, Tyler appeared with the belief that he wanted to build guitars. He also attended a metal concert and felt comfortable sharing similar music and art with people who weren’t afraid to be themselves.
According to Tyler, wood affects sound – denser wood creates a heavier guitar and will sound different than a lighter guitar. It can use four to five different types of wood; some are good for the body and some types are good for the neck.
According to Tyler, his guitars are “very enjoyable to play; very smooth and you can move your hand quickly and easily. With a fine natural finish, you have a connection with the wood and feel the guitar vibrate.
When is a guitar finished? Two key moments, according to Tyler. Once he signs Tyler at the head of his guitar and when he plays it and hears the guitar come to life. It turned from rough pieces of wood into a magical musical instrument.
Tyler was set to show off his guitars last March at the 2020 Naples National Art Fair, but that was canceled.
Finally, at the Naples Downtown Art Show last weekend, Tyler unveiled his guitar collection and it sold out! According to Tyler, buyers were looking for something fresh and new to fill a space on their wall. Half of the buyers were drawn to the beauty of Tyler’s guitars. The others have never played a guitar; some were retired and if they don’t learn to play they will display it as a work of art.
Save this date: March 20-21, 2021 at the Downtown Naples Art Festival. Tyler will feature his beautifully handcrafted guitars that make great music, which you can pass on to someone else to make music more beautiful.