I'm Dan Smocke and I build Archtop guitars and mandolins from my workshop in Little Chute, Wisconsin. I have been involved in guitar repair since I began teaching guitar at a music store when I was 15 years old. Ever since then I was hooked on archtop guitars.
Throughout the next 43 years I spent my spare time working with wood, repairing guitars, and other stringed instruments while working full-time in the medical field. I have been building archtop guitars since 2005.
For some reason, the archtop guitar has always been the style of guitar that I was most attracted to. My first archtop was a 7 string and the second archtop was an 8 string fanned-fret left hander. Quite the experience!
Then shortly thereafter, I was commissioned by Jack Grassel, nationally known jazz guitarist to build him a solid body guitar made entirely of bubinga. A video that Jack made of his guitar will appear on my site soon.
I build guitars and offer them for sale when they are finished. I don't really rush the process which let's me pay close attention to every detail, especially the tone of the guitar. I only use the finest tonewood from the Alpine regions of Europe and Northwestern part of the United States.
A key difference in my instruments is in the construction process. I pay very close attention to the details and make sure all joints are true and accurate. This process allows me to use granular hide glue as much as possible during assembly because hide glue produces the most acoustically pure sounding guitars compared to the sound of instruments made with polyvinyl acetate . Polyvinyl acetate, PVA, Titebond may also be used in the construction process but not in areas that directly affect the sound. PVA is an aliphatic rubbery synthetic polymer . Hide glue cures rock solid which transfers the musical vibrations more accurately. The instruments on my bench at the moment are being built strictly with hot hide glue.
All of my instruments are hand-tuned to capture the ultimate sound of each piece of wood. This is a very time consuming process.
I am very passionate about making archtop guitars and mandolins and strive to coax as much sound out of each instrument.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org