IN LOVING MEMORY - FRANK LUCCHESI (1952-2007)

 

 

It is with tremendous sadness that I just learned of the passing yesterday of Frank Lucchesi, of Lucchesi Vintage Instruments, Easthampton MA.  Frank was truly a gem of a human being, and his passing leaves a great void in those of us he touched.

I considered Frank among my best friends. He was probably the most talented luthier and guitar repairer that I have ever known. I knew him since the early 90's, just spent the day with him two weeks ago at the Boston Guitar show and knew he had health complications. Even still, I was not prepared to hear that he has left us.

As anyone who knew him could attest, you couldn't just walk into Frank's shop (or his basement, where the old shop was) and drop your guitar off and leave.  And as talented as Frank was, it was never just about business...with Frank it was all about sharing knowledge.  He was one of the smartest people that I have ever met, and I consider myself blessed to have spent time with him, whether it was talking guitars, music, Italy, or just life.

I will think of him every time I play one of the instruments he worked on or found for me.  He used to say that we are all just stewards of our guitars, as they will survive long after we are gone.  I just didn't think he would be gone so soon... God bless you Frank!


Tom Guerra - September 30, 2007

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Friends, Family Recall Lucchesi by MATT PILON (Hampshire Gazette), October 11, 2007

At Luthier Frank Lucchesi's funeral and memorial service Saturday, friends and loved ones offered stories and music for a man who had loved both.

Marla Singleton, whose husband, Joe, will help to carry on Lucchesi's work at his Cottage Street shop, Lucchesi Vintage Instruments, said that the service reaffirmed what everyone already knew about Lucchesi.

"He really affected everyone that he met," she said. (The service) was larger than life, just like him."

Joe Singleton performed and sang Amazing Grace at the memorial service. Friend and musician Mark Nomad also performed on an acoustic guitar at the funeral parlor and Holyoke firefighter performed on the bagpipes.

"He said that Frank had always wanted to hear him play the bagpipes," friend Tom Guerra recalled. "He said 'I'm a day late and a dollar short,' then he started to play."

The ceremony also included eulogies from Lucchesi's wife Frances Crisafulli, several apprentices, and others.

Lucchesi, 56, of Southampton, and a longtime resident of Holyoke, died unexpectedly on Sept. 29.

Frank was renowned as a repairer and restorer of vintage stringed instruments, and the owner of Lucchesi Vintage Instruments in Easthampton. His knowledge, love and respect for the guitars, mandolins and banjos he worked with made him nationally recognized in his specialized field.

Guerra said that the Catholic priest officiating the ceremony, the Rev. J. Taylor Albright, told mourners that Lucchesi did not attend church, but that "he was church."

"That's a pretty heavy thing for a priest to say," Guerra said. "But he was. Frank was all about congregation."

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Generous Steward of Strings Recalled by MATT PILON (Hampshire Gazette), October 11, 2007

EASTHAMPTON - Musicians seeking repairs could never quickly walk in and out of Lucchesi Vintage Instruments when dropping off a guitar, banjo, or mandolin. A conversation with owner and founder Frank E. Lucchesi was nearly always part of the transaction.

'He was just all about sitting down and talking to you,' said Tom Guerra, 44, a longtime friend, customer and guitarist for the Hartford-based band The Mambo Sons. 'We talked about everything, from life to music to guitars.'

Lucchesi, 56, a Southampton resident and Holyoke native, died after suffering a heart attack Saturday morning at the Cottage Street shop where he pursued his passion - rebuilding and maintaining vintage and antique instruments.

His wife, Frances Crisafulli, was taking inventory this week at the Cottage Street store this week with several of Lucchesi's colleagues. The store is to reopen for business Tuesday.

'My intention is to keep it open,' she said softly. 'The face they've come to expect won't be here, but the service they've come to expect will be.'

Lucchesi had trained three of his friends and associates over the years, his wife said - Alex Gray, Shane Loiselle and Joseph Singleton.

A note taped to the front window of the shop read 'Frank, we love you and will miss you dearly.'

A bouquet of flowers rested below the makeshift memorial.

Lucchesi, who graduated from the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, had been a luthier for more than 25 years and had loyal customers far and wide. Guerra was no exception. While waiting to interview Lucchesi last month for a story, a Gazette reporter spoke with guitarist Matthew Cullen, whose band plays gigs in the Caribbean. Cullen who swore by Lucchesi's work.

'Frank's the best,' he said.

Guerra recalled Lucchesi's reverence for finely crafted instruments.

'He'd always say 'when we're here with these instruments, we're stewards for them,' ' he said. 'They're going to outlive us.'

Mark Malucci, an Easthampton-based blues guitarist who goes by the moniker Nomad, met Lucchesi more than 20 years ago when he repaired a guitar at a Northampton music shop.

Lucchesi moved from a former shop in Holyoke to his current location at Luthier's Co-op in 2004 with his business partner Dameron Midgett of Easthampton Violin, which inhabits one half of the shop.

'At one time or another, I think Frank has held every one of my guitars,' Malucci said this week in a phone interview from Burlington, Vt.

Malucci said Lucchesi could help an instrument reach it's true potential.

'He could coax this thing into what it's supposed to be,' he said. 'It was like watching a doctor.'

Malucci, who has just released an album, said he regretted that Lucchesi would not see the credits, which list him as 'guitar doctor.'

Many of those times Lucchesi doctored an instrument, the service was gratis - sort of. Malucci said he still owes Lucchesi a guitar lesson.

'He got the biggest kick out of that,' he said. 'He was such a generous guy.'

To show his gratitude, Nomad performed a set in Lucchesi's store during last month's Easthampton Art Walk.

A group of longtime friends will perform a tribute to Lucchesi at the shop next Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m.during the October Art Walk.

Calling hours will be Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. at the Barry Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton St. in Holyoke. A service will follow.

Tom Guerra performing at the Frank Lucchesi Tribute Concert - Oct. 13, 2007


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