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Harrison Guitars is a one person shop. To insure quality and consistency I do all woodworking, finishing and electronics. Since the mid 1980’s I have built a variety of custom electric guitars and basses. In 1992 my love of archtop guitars led me to build a 16” archtop for myself, orders for similar guitars quickly followed and I have been busy with orders since.

In recent years, in an effort to keep up with current guitar orders, I have taken time away from my restoration/repair work to focus on building.

As professional guitar repairman since 1980 I have had the opportunity to study guitar construction in depth. I have also enjoyed a close working relationship with renowned luthiers G.W. Barry and David Wren.

I started playing guitar in 1972 and regularly perform around the Toronto area in a jazz duo, trio or quartet setting.


Building Philosophy

My experience as a guitar repairman has given me an insight into which building methods are the most successful. Each aspect of the guitar has been carefully considered to achieve the best tone, stability and longevity.

Guitar Features

Wood selection: All woods used are carefully selected from specialty wood sources.  To ensure stability the woods are then left to air dry for a minimum of one year in the controlled shop environment.

Shop: The workshop is kept at a stable humidity of 45% year round. While this minimizes the wood shrinkage and expansion that can occur from seasonal changes, it is still wise to use a humidification device if the humidity drops below 45%.

Necks: All necks are made with quarter sawn wood. This method of orienting the grain results in a stiffer neck and also reduces seasonal movement. The neck also uses 2 or 3 piece lamination to enhance stability.  Neck shape and width are optional to accommodate the player’s preferences.

My standard fretwire is now stainless steel. This fretwire is harder than the conventional fret which results in significantly less wear. 18% nickel/silver (conventional) fretwire is available on request.

Fretboards are made from carefully seasoned woods, generally ebony or rosewood, although I often have other exotic species available, ie; Macassar ebony, Pau Ferro, Brazilian rosewood or Cocobolo, please inquire.

Harrison Guitars

Bodies: The guitar bodies are designed for the best stability, tone and ergonomics. Full size archtop bodies feature wood bindings rather than plastic. The wood bindings will not shrink like plastic and will bond more securely creating a more solid connection between the sides, top and back.

The shallower body depth allows even a 17” guitar to be held comfortably. A “Laskin” style arm rest is available for those seeking the ultimate in ergonomics.

GB bodies feature a carefully proportioned design which places the guitar in an optimal playing position and balances well either sitting or standing. The top waist cutaway ensures the guitar will fit comfortably in any playing context.

Pickups: For most archtop models I use The Bartolini 5J pickup. I find them very well balanced throughout the frequency range also they mount discreetly and produce minimal noise.

For the GB models I have used a variety of Seymour Duncan Humbuckers depending on customer preference. Most popular are the ’59, Jazz, and Seth Lover models.

I also offer a piezo bridge option and have installed the Fishman Powerbridge with onboard blend, as well as custom ebony bridges using Fishman, L.R. Baggs or EMG piezo elements with onboard preamp. I am happy to accommodate customer preferences in electronics.


Please feel free to email me regarding options or technical information at,

Harrison Guitars

Link to Roy Patterson's interview of Douglas Harrison
as published in Just Jazz Guitar magazine


Harrison Guitars

Harrison Guitars

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