Monday, November 28

Johnny Prapas, the luthier who turns Olympus wood into art


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johnny prapas, whose real name is Yannis Yiantsios, was born in a town of 5,000 inhabitants at the foot of the Mount Olympus, in the region of Central Macedonia, in 1973. This mountain is not only the highest and best known in the country, but it is, according to mythological legends, the place where the gods of antiquity lived. When Johnny woke up as a child, he would see from his window that mountain, which was the scene of games during his childhood in which he spent hours.

When he was already a teenager he became interested in wood and music and in 1992 he came into contact with John Harrison, known as John Harrison Guitars of England, a manufacturer of

British acoustic guitars that had settled in his town, Leptokariá, in the province of Pieria. A few months later he asked her to accept him as apprentice to teach the profession. And that’s how he learned to make and fix acoustic and electric guitars, getting many guitarists to trust him with their instruments to repair and improve them.

He worked with John for many years, but finally he decided to make his own: «I decided to dedicate myself seriously to manufacturing electric guitars with the name ‘Olympus Guitars‘”. Instruments made one hundred percent by hand, with greek olive wood.

In 2008, that of the Greek luthier was the only workshop in the world that made guitars of this material, something that is now more common. «Olive wood is hard and dense, it may have a beautiful and unique grain, but it also offers great acoustic tone“, bill. But Johnny also makes guitars with other woods, such as cherry, walnut, chestnut, maple or pine, always trying to be of the best quality.

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Thanks to a home video where he presented his guitars, Prapas became known at the Black Rock Studio de Santorini, a world renowned recording studio. It was the jump that allowed producer Kevin Shirley to take one of his guitars in his hands, or that put him in contact with great guitarists as Orianthi Panagaris, an extraordinary musician of Greek origin who in turn proposed to make an instrument for Richie Sambora. And little by little began to be a luthier of exclusive guitars for major artists. The list is long and begins with names like Eric Gales, but is followed by Howard Glazer, Lance Lopez, Doug Seven, Phill Brown, Aynsly Lister, Paul Simon, Arlen Roth, Popa Chubby or Miguel Montalbán.

Given the lack of support and the difficulty in exporting his guitars, he had to leave Greece and settle in Sydney, but he took away the ‘divine’ raw material

While he lived in Greece it was very difficult for him to export his guitars and he did not find any support. So finally decided to emigrate to Australia with his family and now works in one of the best acoustic instrument making workshops, Gerard Gilet’s, together with Darrel Wealler Lutherie.

Johnny relates that when he arrived in Australia he had not lost his appreciation for the wood of Mount Olympus: ‘I took pallets of that raw material that makes my guitars so special. ” When asked if he will return to his native Greece, he answers that “hope is never lost”, but acknowledges that currently, the type of projects in which he is involved they are not favored economically nor culturally in the hellenic country. «Now I live in a place where in only seven minutes I created my companyIn five I filled out the form online and in another two I confirmed their establishment with the official in charge.

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