Jonathan Wilson

Master Luthier & Founder of TogaMan GuitarViols

Source: Paul Goldowitz

Jonathan Wilson has played the guitar for over 40 years. 30 of those years were in pursuit of a modern Arpeggione (a bowed guitar invented by Johan Staufer in 1823). An early iteration was collaboratively built in 1993 and Jonathan played it up until about 2001. Out of frustration, Jonathan crafted an updated model for his own performance applications (The first “TogaMan” prototype). In 2002, without a website save an MP3 “artist site” showcasing his music, inquiries came in. By late 2002, the first Official “TogaMan GuitarViol” was on order and a primitive early website was launched. This was only the beginning! Demand mounted faster than they could possibly be built! Since that time, there has been a steady 9-18 month build queue consisting heavily of noted Film/TV composers. In 2006, Tyler Bates scored the movie 300 with his GuitarViol and the demand quickly escalated. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to hear TogaMan GuitarViols in media soundtracks (Film/TV/Games) every day!

So, what’s up with “TogaMan?” TogaMan is derived from a famous painting “Noces de Cana” that depicts the Biblical wedding feast where water was turned to wine. The Toga wearing Viol player (Paolo Veronese) in the painting is holding his Viol in a manner consistent with guitar (Jimmy Page style) and documents a time when underhand bow grip was the norm. TogaMan became the brand since “Wilson” was plagued by namesake builders, sounding like sports equipment, and next door neighbors on TV sit-coms. “Arpeggione” and it’s association with it’s creator Johan G Stauffer sounded too much like “frozen Italian dinner at the supermarket”. So, TogaMan GuitarViol it is and has been since 2002!

The TogaMan GuitarViol continues to be advanced to the highest state of the art in the secret underground laboratory in Fillmore, CA.


Watch Tyler Bates perform the GuitarViol.


This episode of The Pop Disciple Podcast is hosted by Paul Goldowitz.

Production, Editing, Mixing, Mastering | Paul Goldowitz
The Pop Disciple Podcast Theme and Outro Music | Paul Goldowitz

Special thanks to Jonathan Wilson and Togaman GuitarViols.