The P & P Guitars workshop, tucked into a maze of studios in a string of buildings along a quasi-remote strip of Dufferin Street just north of Queen, is not a place to take your kid for his first guitar. Unless your name is Hank. And your son is also named Hank.
The newly launched space is loud, as the din of power tools competes with music blasting from speakers set up in the corner. Ten-foot planks of reclaimed Canadian wood are stacked to the ceiling with curvaceous cut-outs scattered about hinting at their final purpose.
This is a place where music is about more than just sound.
Founded in downtown Toronto in 2011 by master carpenter Christoph Paus, musician/guitar technician/carpentry apprentice Alex Paterson and business and marketing strategist Sebastian Paus, these guys are as passionate about history as they are about music (not to mention making things look damn good). From remnants of the excavated Queen’s Wharf to hickory from distillery cask stock, each piece of timber adds a special layer of cultural history to the final product and, in a way, allows the musician to hold a permanent part of the foundation of Toronto.
Paus and Paterson say their doors are always open for anyone who wants to test out their wares. Above the busy workshop floor is a cozy loft where finished instruments sit ready to be strummed. Each piece is imbued with unique tonal qualities and can be customized based on the musician’s sound preferences.
Of course, this level of personalized customization and attention to detail comes at a price. Guitars start at about $1,800 and go up depending on the intricacies of the user’s needs. For anyone who values art, history as well as precise musical engineering (plus, looking like a boss), it seems like fair value.
With my own musical abilities beginning and ending at Grade 1 piano, it’s been a long time since I thought of an instrument as an extension of my body. But for those who truly care about sound, beauty and want to carry a piece of their city on stage, better make a trip to Dufferin.