Cesar Arteaga, maestro luthier of Loja

Cello mangoes in process

César is an amazing craftsman with wood. Can you believe he is only 48 years old and already maker of more than 2500 instruments? This is Lojano artisan talent at its best.

1/16 violin
When you watch the video below (in Spanish, no subtitles, but still great for the visuals) you'll observe his large workshop appears to be in great disorder, with assorted instruments lying around in various states of completion or repair. But out of that disorder comes the beautiful order of finished musical instruments, including such as violins, violas, cellos, double basses, charangos, bandolas, and others.

Each instrument, on average, requires about a month to build and finish. César has collected a variety of exotic woods and knows exactly which to select for achieving the best sound from a particular instrument. Hand-carving and assembling using organic glues, and then varnishing and rubbing to a gorgeous finish, results in objects of art that look as great as they sound.

The proof of excellence for his labors can be found in how musicians seek out out his work from around the world. Even the FOSJE (Fundacion Orquesta Sinfonica Juvenil del Ecuador) orchestra of Quito has acquired 60 examples of César's craftsmanship.

In his spare time (hard to imagine this man has ANY spare time!) he enjoys recreating historical instruments to once again return their unique sound to our ears.

Above all the excellence that exudes from his workshop is the man himself. You'll see some sense of it in the video. He is one of the most friendly, humble, gracious men I've ever had the pleasure to meet and spend some time with. Talk about a winning smile!

His business is formally titled "Instrumentos Musicales Arteaga" and the workshop is located in the northern part of Loja, on Avenida 8 de Diciembre near the cross street of Eduardo Palacios.


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