About the Guitars

About the Guitars

These are some notes about the way I build guitars and a little bit of the why.

I make as much of the guitar from scratch as I can. I like to buy logs or billets of tone wood and then saw out my tops, backs, sides, necks, etc. when I can, rather than buy them already sawn. This is partly because I can cut them the way I like, partly because it costs less and takes longer, but mostly because I like doing it.

Along those same lines, I make my own sound hole rosettes, bindings, herringbone, pick guards, and so on. I also make my own super-light hard shell instrument cases. But I do buy things like strings, tuners, and fret wire.

I build one guitar at a time and it takes me about 5 weeks, then the finish drys for a month before I complete it and string it up. I play each guitar for a week or two as it settles in to make the setup is good and evaluate it, and then I ship it.

I built a lot of classical guitars at one point, but lately I mostly build steel string guitars that are based on early iconic Matin guitars like the D18 and D28. The main reason is that now days I play a lot of bluegrass and these are the kind of guitars I like to play. The early versions of those models built during the 30s and 40s are what I'm shooting for. 

Some of the things that may play a role in the sound of those 30s & 40s guitars, depending on who you talk to, are techniques I use in my guitars, but there are also some very untraditional things I do. For instance, I use a cold-rolled steel T bar non-adjustable truss rod in all my guitars, hide glue everywhere on the top that has a sonic function, and nitrocellulose lacquer for a finish. But I also use polyurethane glue, epoxy, extruded polyethylene foam, and carbon fiber at times. I love both tradition and hi-tech, but neither is an end in itself - it's all about getting the sound I am after.