When Luna Guitars founder and designer Yvonne de Villiers is asked what inspired her to create the company, her response is simple. “My mother, Hilda,” she says. “She was a bass player in a rock band for over 30 years, and she would gig five or six nights a week, and I watched her strap on these heavy instruments every night to play the music that she loved. So, my first impulse was to create a line of instruments that were more ergonomically friendly.”
Founded with the intent of creating highly playable instruments with lighter bodies and slimmer necks, Luna Guitars also employs de Villiers’ background in the stained glass industry. “Coming from outside the music industry was actually an advantage because it allowed me to think outside the music industry box. And my background in stained glass helped me as well, because designing for inlay on a guitar is actually the exact same process as designing for stained glass. So many of my designs—my flora and fauna designs that I used in my stained glass—ended up strongly influencing my guitar design.”
Luna Guitars utilizes some of today’s latest guitar-making technology to craft beautifully ornate instruments. “Once I started looking at guitars as canvases, I took a close look at the technology that was currently being used in the industry, and one of those technologies was laser-etching. And when I looked at laser-etching closely … I noticed it had the same coloration and quality as henna design. So I started thinking about the guitar as an actual torso, and the idea of using traditional henna ornamentation on the guitar … and so that’s how the henna guitar was born.
“Whenever I’m working on a new Luna design, I always ask myself the question, ‘What does the guitar as an object mean to the people that love them?’ So I’ve used a lot of universal symbolism in the designs, because that way, each player can bring their own meaning to the instrument.
“Luna started out as an idea, and it’s blossomed into a full-fledged guitar company, with instruments for players of all persuasions. One of my favorite quotes by Joseph Campbell is to ‘Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.’ An intangible but very important part of Luna’s mission statement is to encourage players to follow their own bliss and their own hearts.”