|The first guitar I assembled was in 1994- a left handed Telecaster kit. It was my first guitar that actually had perfect intonation and would stay in tune. The finish was Minwax stain and Formby's tung oil. In 1996 I was trying to locate a left handed Fender Jazzmaster. I almost had one custom built, but I simply couldn't afford it. I started gathering parts, one by one. I bought a Stratocaster neck and built the body by hand. This was easy since I was already experienced at building furniture. By the time I was finished, I found out that Fender had gone and reissued the lefty Jazzmaster.
Guitar wiring had always, and still does, baffle me. I had ordered a book on guitarmaking, hoping that this would include a chapter on wiring. When I recieved the book, I realized it was on acoustic Guitar building. I read it anyway, as it was very interesting. By the time I finished reading, I was dying to build my own acoustic flattop. It was a little primative looking, but it had that tone, and I enjoyed building it. That same year I picked up a book on building archtop guitars. I knew then I was hooked. The archtop looked even prettier than the flattop. A good customer of mine saw my second archtop I was building and bought it for himself before it was even finished! Ever since then, most of my orders have been for archtop guitars.
I currently handcarve all of my top and back plates. Most builders use a duplicating machine which does all the work, and all the tops and backs come out looking the same. However, since my plates are all carved one by one, by hand, each guitar has a look, feel, and voice of its own. I voice each top and back by tapping them as I carve to assure the best sound for that particular plate. I also shape the backs of my necks by hand. Again, there are some slight variations, but this allows me to contour the neck to the customer's taste. I also sand all my finishes by hand.
I am currently working on a line of hollow body archtops which will feature a laminated top and back. These are going to be available to customers who want the look and feel of a top-of-the-line archtop but simply can't afford it, or for those who plan on gigging alot with the guitar, without the fear of damage to the instrument. Surely, there is a difference in tone with a laminated top and back. However, if the model isn't equipped with pickups that are fastened to the top, the tone will not suffer greatly.
There is no additional charge for left handed guitars. Most builders will charge extra for this. This is proof that their plates are machine carved, because they have to reverse the tooling! Since mine are carved one by one, I simply turn the piece of wood over. Also, being a lefty, I can sympathize with these players.
In the past, I've built guitars with almost every headstock shape imaginable. However, I am currently offering two headstock shapes; one a 6 string, and the other a 7 string. The headstock is the builder's hallmark, and sets the guitar apart from all others. I will be making gradual refinements in my headstocks over the next few years. I am also offering two pickguard shapes; the traditional, and the Ultra Light.
Currently, my waiting list is about a year long- so the sooner you order your guitar, the sooner it will be completed. In the future, I hope to add a submittal form to the site which customers can fill out to make ordering guitars easier.
I also service tube amps for customers in the Philadelphia area, and I'm an authorized Groove Tubes dealer.
If you have any questions or suggestions, send me an email.