We met French-Ukrainian guitar builder Youri Soroka at the 2018 Guitar Making Competition in Granada, Spain and were immediately impressed with both the person and his work. Youri’s backstory is almost as beautiful as the look and sound of his instruments. Here he describes how he went from a career in technology to falling in love with the craft of guitar building:
"I was a computer software developer and came to guitar making by accident. Initially, I just wanted to repair my old classical guitar which led me to retable it. Impressed by the resulting sound and having then bought a few tools, I wanted to build one entirely from scratch. I completed my first guitar in less than a month working at night in my garage. Then the second, then third… I was starting to fall in love with the process. At some point, I realized that this was really something I wanted to do for a living as this was the first time in my life – when at work – I was saddened by the fact that it was 6 p.m. and time to go home. I always admired traditional and historical woodworking, and starting from my third build, I tried using hide glue and traditional methods for overall construction. Since then, I’ve stuck with these methods. Another thing important to me is building guitars in a planet friendly way with the least waste generated possible and no chemicals used – no gluing bindings with scotch, etc. The main ingredients are wood, hide glue and shellac. This also led to my interest in using local woods."
For this particular guitar, Youri used a precious set of 15 year-old German spruce from the collection of the late guitar builder Rolf Eichinger. For the back and sides, he chose 40 year-old Wild Cherry which was also used on the guitar that was entered in the Granada Competition. Youri is a very passionate person who has become completely enamored with the craft of lutherie, this guitar itself being proof of this fact! It's an absolutely delightful instrument, with an understated and modest charm in the detailing, but well-executed and firmly traditional its build - a well-studied and informed guitar in the Torres/Hauser tradition. Sound is smooth, with a loose feel, and warmth to the sound while retaining ample clarity and balance between voices. This is a substantial instrument considering this maker is so early in his career - making Youri Soroka our number one "up and coming" luthier for 2018.