The very first Larrivée Labels that were put inside Larrivée guitars actually had several errors. The first labels used the Anglicized spelling of Jean Larriveé’s name “John” and Larrivée was miss-spelled “Larrive”. The border and text were all produced from Letraset (sheets of dry transfer lettering). The year the guitar was made was hand written in the bottom left hand corner of the label in a two digit format (i.e. 70 for 1970). Jean did not start signing the labels until 1970, and he signed his name “John Larrivee”. The label itself was printed on standard light-ivory card stock, and was glued into the guitar before the back was glued to the frame.
The label was changed in mid 1970 to include the location that the guitar was built (Toronto), change the spelling to “Jean-Claude Larrivée”, and a title of “Luthier” was added. A small line was added on the bottom right side of the label for the two digit year to be hand written. A new Letraset border was also added to the label. These labels were all hand signed “Jean Larrivée” fully spelled out. This label was also printed on standard light-ivory card stock, and was glued into the guitar before the back was glued to the frame.
In approx 1973-1974, a personal friend of Jean's by the name of Alan Magee (a now famous Superrealism artist) designed a new label for him. The design featured a border done in pointillism style, and a hand-drawn classical guitar viewed as if looking down the fretboard to the bridge. The “Magee” label as it became known featured the text “Jean-Claude Larrivée”, “Toronto”, and a small line where the two digit year was hand written. Each label was hand signed with the “Jean Larrivée” fully spelled out.
1974 McGee Label
In 1976, Jean changed his signature to a simpler “Jean” and all Magee labels past this point have this new signature. When Jean and Wendy moved to Victoria in 1977, the “Toronto” on the label was changed to “Victoria” to reflect the change. The label itself was printed on a solid dark-ivory linen paper, and often had a thin layer of finish sprayed on top of it. The label was glued into the back of the guitar before the body was assembled.
1978 Label Showing Victoria as Location
1979 Label Showing Victoria, BC Canada as Location
In 1980, Wendy Larrivée designed the first of two “Dual-Cherub” labels. The design featured two flute playing cherubs sitting amongst ribbons and roses. The text at the top of the label read “Jean Larrivée Guitars” and at the bottom read “Victoria Canada”. At this point Jean ceased signing every guitar label. This was due to the number of guitars being made at the time and the fact that Jean had to travel to source wood. Also removed at the request of dealers was the two digit date, as this “dated” inventory in music stores. This label was printed on a plain textured medium ivory colored card stock, and was glued onto the back of the guitar during body assembly.
Two Cherubs 1980s Label Designed by Wendy Larrivée
In 1982, Wendy Larrivée re-designed the label into the second of the “Dual Cherub” labels. This label had a similar overall design to the first, but with substantially more detail. The spelling of the word “Guitars” Changed to the French spelling “Guitares”, and the two digit provincial abbreviation was added to the label. When the shop moved from Victoria, BC to Vancouver, BC in 1983 the label did not change. It continued to read “Victoria, BC” until the inception of the next label design in 1994. There was no direct reason for not changing it to read Vancouver. When the company moved and set up shop in North Vancouver, the acoustic market was very soft, and the focus of the company almost immediately shifted to electric guitars. With the focus on electrics, no one even thought about the acoustic label.
The next label was created in 1995, is the current standard issue, and became the first asymmetric label design for Larrivée. The design paid tribute to the previous labels by featuring a single large cherub and numerous roses. The label was drawn mostly in pointillism. The design of the label has a large open space for text, and or signatures. Up until this point in time, all of the labels were printed by professional printers and glued into the guitar before it was fully constructed. This label was the first design that was manipulated by computer. For the first few years, each label was printed on a laser printer and contained the guitar model and serial number. After about 10000 guitars, the serial number was dropped from the label, and Larrivée began having the label professionally printed again (About 40 separate labels were printed including one for each base model). In 2001, when the factory in California opened, labels were once again produced by Laser printer but only on the -05 series and up. The Vancouver factory continues to use professionally printed labels. All of these labels are now glued in the day the guitar has the strings put on.
In late 2006, the factory in California started working towards a vintage looking print on its labels. The original dark ivory color of the 1970’s “Magee Label” was painstakingly color matched and professionally printed on a white linen paper. A limited test run of 8 different models produced excellent results and the company plans to switch completely over to this method in mid 2007.