METAIRIE, La.— If you ask any string musician in town about Salvador Giardina, the term you hear most to describe him is ‘trusted craftsman.’
Sal is a luthier, or one who builds and repairs string instruments and he runs a business that features old world skill with few peers in our city.
“My whole idea was I was going to be a professional musician and I was, I was playing and and someone messed up one of my basses and a friend that I was playing with said ‘there’s this guy on Magazine street, he’s a violin maker and we can go there. I went there and that’s where I met the guy who taught me Manfred Trautman, it was kinda cool,” said Sal.
Something about that old shop and repairing string instruments took hold and after a 3-year apprenticeship Sal began to do the work.
What he came to know over the years is that everything affects the sound of a string instrument, “The Thickness of the wood, varnish, string length, everything.”
That attention to detail and the reputation of his work caught the attention of many of our city’s best musicians, including bassist Roland Guerin.
According to Guerin, “With Sal, he’s got that lost art and he’s got it all in his heart and all in his head”
Nowadays, when you walk in Sal’s shop you’ll also see his son Nicolo, who’s learning the tricks of the trade from his dad.
“The cool thing about this is nothing is the same. No instrument is the same, so that’s where you need to learn patience because you learn different tricks for different things that come along,” says Nicolo.
When you see Amanda Shaw onstage, she’s playing one of the fiddles built for her by Sal Giardina.
Shaw stated, “It’s art, you know. Just like me playing the instrument it’s a art to know and be able to look at a piece of wood and know what you think it’s gonna sound like and that’s just- I think that ‘s just beautiful”