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What's your background?
I grew up with music around me all the time. I got my first guitar when I was about 6 or 7, it was an old Harmony Dreadnaught. I messed with it from time to time but did not really get into playing guitar until I was about 11. That is when I really became aware of the likes of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. As they say, the rest is history.
Why did you get into guitar making?
My answer here is quite simple and as the saying goes, the mother of all invention is necessity. For me, at the period in my life where I was able to become reacquainted with guitar and ultimately began making guitars, I yearned for a guitar that was much nicer, quality and aesthetic wise, than I could afford. Like many before me. I started modifying existing guitars I already had. I would buy a "pretty decent" guitar and see if I could make it play and sound better than guitars costing 5 times as much. I had the help and guidance of some good friends that had been in the industry for many, many years, so I probably skipped a couple of learning hurdles by utilising their experience and advice. Not long into this, as I was receiving some great feedback on the guitar work I was doing, I began having some visions of creating my own guitars to compete against the "big guys". So, I wanted to play a caliber of guitar I could not afford to purchase, I decided I would create the guitar I wanted to play.
What was the first guitar you ever played?
As I mentioned earlier, the first guitar I ever had was an old Harmony Dreadnaught. I learned my first few chords on that guitar.The first guitar I actually purchased with my own money from working a paper route and helping at my Uncle's tile and carpet store on the weekends was a 1978 Les Paul Custom I bought from my Uncle. I believe I was 11 at the time and I paid a whopping $500 for it.
What would you say has been the most influential guitar design?
For me, it is really a toss up. To say, from a design standpoint, that A Les Paul, Tele or Strat has been more influential in guitar history is an argument whole guitar forums are centred upon. For me personally, the Strat shape has influenced me personally. From the true classic 50's and 60's Strats played by the legends, the super Strat guitars and players that came right after that. This is where I draw a lot of inspiration from in what we do.
What's the biggest challenge of being a guitar builder?
One of things that I think has been probably the biggest challenge as a builder has been acceptance in the marketplace. We have all drawn inspiration from others that came before us. And we, as a company, look to take that inspiration and create next level guitars that inspire the players who own and play them to create the best music of their lives. We have sought to foster and grow that reputation through these same players, a true grassroots type movement. I feel people tend to speak more genuinely and passionately about things that really matter to them.
What do you want players and collectors to experience when they play one of your instruments?
So, certainly as a fan of classic and vintage guitars and their place in music history, I want the people who play our guitars to immediately get a sense for our nod to this lineage. But, at the same time, I also want people to be able to feel and see a real difference in overall quality, playability, fit, and finish. it is possible the non-technical player may not realise why they are able to get around so freely on one of our guitars. that's ok. We have made a few adjustments and do a few things that help us get over some of the things that cause issues with a vintage piece.
What's your favourite neck and body wood combo?
Ah, the aged old question.... I am pretty simple with this regard. I prefer a nive, lightweight Alder body with a quartersawn maple neck and a rosewood fretboard.
What's your favourite guitar riff?
I am sucker for "Rock Candy" by Montrose! Every time I hear that drum intro, I want to run and grab a guitar so I can get in on the jam!
Who's your favourite guitar player?
I would have to say, if I can only choose one guitar player to say is my favourite, it would have to be David Gilmour. While my list of favourites is literally a mile long and features many different styles and types of players I love for many, many reasons, I alway come back to Gilmour. His playing probably also had the most profound influence on my own playing.
What bands do you listen to when you're working?
We really like to switch it up while at the shop. We have a pretty decent system that we blast throughout the shop and it is capable of bluetooth. You really never know what you'll hear to be quite honest. I would say that if I happen to be streaming, you will likely be getting some 80's hair band stuff, That is really the music I came up with, but you'll also be likely to hear Steely Dan, Chris Stapleton, Depeche Mode, The Police maybe some Animals as Leaders or Dream Theater. Really just the most eclectic bunch of music ever.
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