Jim Reilly Words & Music
Words & Music
Episode Three: Vinny Fodera
In 1983 Vinny Fodera and Joey Lauricella set out to make guitars that would, in their words, “look and sound phenomenal and be instruments that you just couldn’t put down.”
Vinny’s road to that point was one of chance meetings, and more than a little luck merged with raw artistic talent, passion, and youthful exuberance.
The forty years of Fodera basses that have followed have been a blueprint for how to build musical instruments that are true works of art in form, function, and sound.
Vinny was there at the beginning of the boutique, custom luthier movement. His story goes back to what some may say was a simpler time when woodworkers, luthiers, pickup makers, and all sorts of other creative people worked together to craft the instruments and the instrument business that continues to inspire players and builders alike.
Collaboration is at the heart of the Fodera story. That will be obvious as you listen, but it goes deeper. There’s a natural, authentic exchange of ideas, thoughts, and theories that take things to the next level, where the whole becomes better than the sum of the parts.
In performance, energy is exchanged between the musician and the audience. Fodera’s stage is the sawdust-covered workbench where shapes are carved, inlay cut, and electronics wired. The energy transferred is between creator and player and paves the path for the music that enriches us all.
It’s been forty years since Vinny and Joey first hung out their shingle. They’ve weathered the highs and lows of the music business, put bass guitars in the hands of some of the finest players on the planet, and continue to set the standard for custom-crafted instruments.
Regardless of all that, my favourite part of Vinny’s story is how it speaks to serendipity and the power of little signs in shop windows. I hope you enjoy.
Vinny (seated) and Joey with a custom double cut six-string bass.
Vinny with Tony Grey's personal Monarch Elite Headless.