MONTREAL -- During COVID-19 confinement, many people took up hobbies like baking, puzzle-making, and music.

 As it turns out, guitar sales have soared worldwide, and local artists are reaping the rewards.

Bruno Coulombe's home studio has been busy. Between recording session work and offering online guitar lessons, he says playing an instrument is fulfilling, especially during times of trouble.

"At first, you can't play a note, but if you keep at it, it's pretty quick that you're going to play a little more each day. It's good for the self-esteem, I think," said Coulombe, the man behind Bruno's Fine Guitars.

Coulombe said a new musical hobby can serve as a welcome distraction.

"When you have your two hands playing a different part, and you sing along, your brain is so busy being here and now, you're definitely not think about your mortgage.

Headlines from around the world suggest guitar sales are brisk.

Luthier Maxime Baron of Baron Guitar isn't surprised – he's selling his handmade guitars as fast as he can make them.

"I've been working on five acoustic guitars all going to five different countries," he said.

His attention to detail has earned him clients in Canada and in Belgium, France and the United States.

Bevelled edges and inlaid woods add up to make a musical instrument that costs a bit more, but Baron said people aren't spending money on beach vacations these days anyway.

"To me, home is the new stage shows are still happening. Music is so important. We won't let a virus stop it, it never will happen," he said.