There are skills and abilities that seem to come naturally to many people. This is unexplainable. My woodworking skills began at 13 years of age in wood shop class. This is where I first smelled the aroma of walnut, maple and spruce. This is where I learned to use the tools of the trade: table saw, planer, jointer, sanders and various hand tools needed to complete a guitar. In two short years I began doing setup and repair work on guitars at the local music store where I gave guitar lessons. Archtop guitar construction came many years later when I officially established my company in 2005.
I am a self-taught luthier based on the teachings of John D'Angelico, James D. Aquisto, Irving Sloane, Robert Benedetto, Roger Siminoff, and many other master luthiers. I concentrate my efforts on a full-time basis crafting unique, one of a kind instruments similar to the path Jimmy D’Aquisto took in his later career.
I hand craft custom six, seven and eight string archtop guitars and mandolins in three series of instruments; the Professional Series, the Artist Series, and the Collector Series. The Professional Series uses AA grade tonewood or better with basic trim. They are solid wood, not laminated, and hand tuned. The Artist Series uses AAA grade tonewood or better with wood trim and upgraded hardware. Once again, solid wood, hand carved and tuned. The Collector Series uses the absolute best Master Grade tonewood with extremely figured wood trim and upgraded hardware on the entire instrument.
My 8 string archtop guitars typically use a multi-scale, fanned fret system to accommodate the unique intonation requirements of an instrument of this caliber. I use traditional tonewoods from Europe, South America, Africa and North America as well as wood native to the state of Wisconsin.
My professional membership includes the Guild of American Luthiers and the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans.
I pay close attention to every meticulous detail, especially the tone of the guitar. The tonal complexity, clarity, depth, volume and "throatiness" of sound is constantly on my mind during the build process.
I am very passionate about making archtop guitars and mandolins to exacting standards. I employ modern innovation while retaining traditional archtop designs with precision craftsmanship. But yet, it is somewhat of a contemplative process for me. Many times I set out to build an instrument with a design in mind but occasionally it takes on it's own personality and voice. I have to listen to this new "voice" or direction. I've learned to trust the direction the instrument is taking me. It provides value to the completed instrument.
I began my musical career studying the piano at age 8, then the guitar at age 12. I began teaching guitar at 15 years of age then performed and studied jazz in high school and college. I have studied the jazz guitar masters, their music and their instruments during my entire life. This includes Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, Joe Pass, Pat Martino, Tal Farlow, Tony Mattola, Johnny Smith, Martin Taylor and many others.
During my college years at the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, I studied music along with jazz guitar. I have studied Classical guitar with George Lindquist, Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
My musical interests vary from jazz, classical, opera, country, bluegrass, folk and the blues. Performance wise, I have played guitar in big bands, jazz quartets and trios, solo artist, wedding bands, and country bands. At one time in my career, I created and led a smooth jazz band in Albuquerque, NM. In addition to these groups I have played bass guitar on the old Grand Ole’ Opry stage, the Ryman Auditorium as part of a talent contest.
My instrument repair skills include the following:
GUITAR: fingerboard replacement, complete refrets, broken headstock repairs, tops cracks, repaired guitar necks, neck alignment, truss rod adjustments, fret dressings, fingerboard levelling, tuner replacement, fret buzz removal, handmade custom compensated bridges, pickup replacement and routed new pockets for pickups, finish touch ups and new instrument finishing using nitrocellulose lacquer, waterborne lacquer and French polishing.
CELLO/VIOLIN: refurbished cellos, repaired top separation on cellos, violin/cello setup, bridge/nut/tailpiece/tuner replacement, and sound post installation and replacement.
BANJO: head replacement using natural skin and plastic heads, tuner replacement, new hand cut nuts, bridge and tailpiece replacement and adjustment, banjo setup.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org