Do you do repairs?
Yes. Repairs are a big part of my business here. Everything from 1850's Martins to Floyd Rose guitars comes though my door here in Bristol, Vermont. I serve customers from Burlington, Middlebury, down to Rutland, Plattsburgh, NY, and have many scattered throughout the rest of New England. Maybe your banjo is making a weird new sound, or you got some new pickups you want to try out on the favorite electric. Don't hesitate to get in touch.
I have a project in mind, how do I get a quote on the price?
Just shoot me an email through my "contact" tab and I’ll get back to you soon!
And you build instruments? What's up with that?
When a client approaches me for an instrument, I try my best to take a full picture of them as a player. What is their musical style? Their aesthetic? What are their purposes with the instrument? In this sense, the consultant aspect of my job is fundamental. It is my role to wade through the mirky waters of guitar convention and get you something that can't be gotten anywhere else.
In terms of design, what I'm aiming for is geometric balance. Sleek, elegant, efficient. I do conventional work, like parlor guitars in the Martin style, but I also do abstract and technological work, unusual contours in wood and the full compliment of electrical complexity. These are examples of instruments I've been happy to build for my clients and friends. Sound, playability, and appearance are the bottom line. I've found that the best way of achieving this is efficiency of design.
Do you do it all from scratch?
Yes. I make most everything involved with my instruments, aside from hardware pieces like tuners and truss rods. Every design is original, and everything starts as hunks of wood in my workshop. My designs are the product of evolution over the years that I have been making them, with input from hundreds of players.
For a long time I did everything "by hand." Meaning, with the use of every single power tool except for CNC (Computerized Numerically Controlled Routing). Over the past couple of years I have been learning 3D modeling, and am just now bringing CNC into the mix. The methods I am developing will bring a fluency into the reproduction of parts for repairs, and of course absolute accuracy to the guitars I build.
While I am aware that there is a place for CNC, I am also aware that they do not make art. So, I design everything on paper before rendering it in three dimensions. It would be easier to design it from scratch in autocad, but then the human touch would be lost.
From there, parts are hewn by hand with spoke shaves, rasps, chisels and planes. Shavings and dust. This is the soul-work, where the guitar is finally made "by hand."
Where did you learn how to do this?
I learned different things from different people over the years. I started tinkering on my own guitars as a teenager. Soon I worked on a friend's, then for someone I'd never met, and it just sort of progressed like that. In a few years I was moonlighting with the guitar thing, working from my home, then later I was asked to manage repairs for a busy music store. There I developed a broad set of skills. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from other people’s mistakes, and quite often that’s what you’re dealing with in repairs. Also, I read a lot. I have a little library of great resources, you can leaf through a few next time you're in. Finally, I have had the good fortune to know some great furniture makers and other woodworkers whose wisdom has saved me considerable time and trouble over the years.
Who buys your instruments?
People who value not just quality of sound and playability, but also the unique nature of the instruments and my business.
Do you have certain models you usually make?
I do, and they are on display at my shop at 54 West Street Bristol, VT 05443.