Flip Scipio

Website

 

Biography

Flip Scipio is a Manhattan based Luthier who builds and restores guitars and related fretted instruments.

A 1984 Graduate of the prestigious London College of Furniture, he holds a degree in Modern Fretted Instrument Technology. Hired by the esteemed American guitar dealer and collector George Gruhn, Flip was a staff member of the repair department at the Rhode Island based Guild Guitar Company from 1986 until 1988. He was also the repair-shop manager for Mandolin Brothers Ltd., the legendary Staten Island NY guitar shop that specialized in rare and desirable fretted instruments. It was a privileged position he held for seven years.

Flip Scipio has been in private practice since 1996 in shops located at various locations around New York City. During this time he has created and repaired fretted instruments for various artists such as George Benson, David Bowie, Edie Brickell, Jeff Bridges, Jonatha Brooke, Jackson Browne, Larry Campbell, Jim Campilongo, Steve Cardenas, Rosanne Cash, Jenn Chapin, Marc Cohn, Shawn Colvin, Ry Cooder, Wes Craven, Stefan Crump, Rick Danko, Tom DiCillo, Bob Dylan, Chris Eldridge, Bill Frisell, Robbie Fulks, Tony Garnier, Richie Havens, Mary Halvorson, Shahzad Ismaily, Norah Jones, Patty Larkin, Will Lee, Adrian Legg, Gerry Leonard, John Leventhal, Javier Mas, Paul McCartney, John McEnroe, Ben Monder, Joan Osborne, John Pattitucci, Noam Pikelny, Marc Ribot, Damien Rice, Adam Rogers, Brandon Ross, Anton Sanko, Erik Sanko, Duncan Sheik, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Martin Simpson, Slash, Bruce Springsteen, Leni Stern, Stephen Stills, Ben Taylor, Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor, David Tronzo, Suzanne Vega, Tony Visconti and Rufus Wainwright.

Flip Scipio is the subject of the 2007 Documentary “Talking Guitars” by the Dutch filmmaker Claire Pijman, which premiered at the renown International Documentary Festival in Amsterdam, Holland and went on to be a feature in the 2007 HotDocs festival in Toronto Canada, and has been aired on the Dutch and American television. (www.talkingguitars.nl ) He was profiled in the Wall Street Journal (04/10/2011).

In May and June of 2015 The Talking Guitars documentary has been a featured item on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines long distance flights.

In January of 2017 Flip gave a series of lectures on various aspects of Guitar Construction and Repair at the prestigious Cartagena XI Festival Internacional de Música in Cartagena, Colombia.

At present Flip Scipio shares a workshop in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn NY with his wife, the bookbinder Mitzi Pratt.

 

 
 

Artist Statement

It always has been about music for me, that common language that allows people all across the world to communicate or at least understand each other without receiving specific instruction.

The circular aspect of being someone who repairs guitars as well as builds them has served an interesting purpose in the sense that in my role as a guitar fixer, I get to see other ways than my own in which to design a musical instrument or solve a particular problem.

Whereas guitar makers can be free to shape anything the way they see it, being a repair person requires an innate ability to correct somebody else’s work without inserting ones own personality. Some of the most intensely difficult and demanding repair work I’ve done required total anonymity.

Considering that I was raised in post-war Netherlands without any religion of any sorts, my workshop is my church, in which I find a relief in concentration that I often lack in the outside world, solace in being able to repair broken things, and a kind of forgiveness for the things I don’t seem to be able to achieve.

At best, my shop is a place of meditation where I can find moments of transcendence into a place of better understanding and trust without having to close something else out.  Other days it is a place where the tools of the trade get repaired, modified and revitalized. I rarely seem to just “fix things”, the guitars usually leave the shop noticeably improved.

Coming from somebody who early on noticed an unfortunate ability and tendency to copy other people’s art work, what I do has always been about finding my own voice, and although I’m quite aware that I can’t hear it all the time, other people seem to recognize it better than I do .

I’m only as good as my next job.

 


Guitar Blueprints


Guitars

 
 

Archilaúd Guitar

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2001 Baritone Guitar Courtesy of Leni Stern

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2014 Acoustic Flattop Guitar Modeled after Michael Gurian Guitar

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Klazina17 2016 Acoustic Flattop Guitar Courtesy of Shahzad Ismaily

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La Mochuela 2012 Classical Guitar

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Philothei 2017 Acoustic Flattop Guitar Modeled After A 1917 Ditson guitar

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