Atelier SRB-Guitars Steve Bell

Meet Steve Bell. Try to put him in a box?

He won’t fit.

Tucked down a backroad in the fields of Normandy, right on the Brittany border, luthier Steve Bell stands at the door of a confluence of streams, all running to and through Atelier SRB-Guitars.

He serves a clientele stretching from Saint Malo through Normandy — and beyond.

An avant-garde rock musician, his life from early on has been nothing but music.

He picked up his first guitar at age 6 and played it ’til his fingers bled (I’d say he was hooked from an early age), had his first band and gig age 14, at the onset of the punk rock genre that hit mainstream in the mid 70’s.  He was right in the middle of it.

How many bands has he been in lifelong?


That’s one stream.


Classically trained, he branched out by demand, to teach guitar — and still does — on occasion.

Stream two.

But take the early years, distill his love of music, his years as lead guitarist, the knowledge of his instrument, and next stop could only be luthier.

That began over 40 years ago and is the primary focus of his work and trade in the atelier.

The word luthier has its origins in France, for craftsmen of the stringed lute.

Over time (centuries), that craft expanded to include other plucked, stringed instruments — in his case, the guitar.

An artisan luthier by trade, musicians find him for repairs, to help them find something specific they’d love to own and play (he is connected), or to order their own guitar built to make their dream come true. You can find steady updates on projects at-hand here on Facebook.

Atelier SRB-Guitars

I paid a visit to the atelier recently. Entering the repurposed stone barn, it is wall to wall guitars, cords, amps, drums, workbench and tools — and the smell of wood everywhere. The air was pungent that day; he was cutting Samba for the next guitar up to build. Stacks of choice woods were everywhere; from rosewood to maple, exotic woods like Samba to Zebrano. He’s like a kid in a candy shop.

He plays one of his own on stage — and when I asked him what wood it was?

True to an artist being just that, he said I don’t know; it used to be an old desk.

Playful, to say the least.

So that’s his main stream — Stream Three.

Add to that an apprenticeship in building your own guitar. Ever wanted to know how to do that? It’s possible.

… Another … Stream Four.

Then there’s PAPER, his five-piece ROCK band (PAPER Covers Rock) who are currently rockin’out gigs this summer, covering rock, punk and new wave. 

Want to connect?

In Vessey, basse Normandie:

33 (0)2 33 58 84 55

[email protected]

For Gigs:

33 (0)6 07 66 41 64