Michael O’Leary was born in the picturesque medieval village of Graignamanagh, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland. His workshop is located nearby in Milford Carlow. Michael played guitar from an early age influenced by his father who was also a player and lover of the guitar. This inherent passion for guitar combined with his creative skills has led him to a full time career as a luthier. Michael’s son Alec understandably followed a career in classical guitar and, as his studies progressed, his requirement for the ultimate instrument led him into creative mode with the enthusiasm to develop a better concert guitar. With Michael’s background and several generations of inherited woodworking tools this development of the concert guitar was very easy. He had a B.Sc. Honours Degree in Design Technology and a Diploma in Design & Innovation which included much in-depth study into modern materials. In addition to building guitars together, Alec and Michael also organize The Guitar Festival of Ireland (www.gfi.ie). As the hosts of this festival they have had constructive discussions and feedback from some of the world’s greatest players including the Assad Duo, David Russell, Manuel Barrueco, John Williams, Xuefei Yang, Aniello Desiderio, Roland Dyens, Berta Rojas and more. They have all given Michael and Alec an acute sense for what top player’s need from an instrument. As a result the guitars are made with a special bracing system that combines features of both the lattice bracing and fan bracing concepts to produce guitars which are truly phenomenal. Top players of O'Leary guitars include Berta Rojas, John Feeley, Sharon Isbin and David Russell.
This is the "Exclusive" model, this workshops' top build. There is a 2 year waiting list for one of these so this is a great opportunity to have one now. Like Smallman guitars, these instruments are known for their great power and piano-like sustain. The heavily domed and very thick back gives the guitar a very rigid and stiff outer shell, forcing all the vibration to the soundboard, which is thinly built and reinforced internally with a unique lattice system. It also has a raised fingerboard and a 20th fret. The guitar is in excellent condition although it did recently have 3 top cracks repaired by Alan Chapman who did an excellennt job of rendering them almost invisible. This is has been taken into pricing consideration as these can normally sell for $12,000 or higher. Back and sides are lacquer for improved durability and the soundboard is done in a thin layer of oil which has a matte-finish giving the guitar a very clean fit-and-finish to the appearance. It also has a handsome set of dramatic cocobolo with sapwood contrasts throughout.