Grimes, Steve Learn More +
Music and woodworking are two very different types of “performing” arts. Being both a woodworker and a working musician in 1972, I found myself fascinated by the prospect of combining these two professions. After studying with a violin maker and working in the instrument repair trade, I set up my own shop in Seattle, Washington, USA and began making arch top mandolins. For the first two years I made mandolins exclusively, subsidizing my new venture by doing repairs on all types of string instruments. When I was able to increase production of new instruments and get them into the hands of some good players, I was finally able to devote myself fully to building new instruments.
Being more of a guitar player than a violin or mandolin player, I found that my interests were leaning more toward guitar construction, and in 1974 I began making acoustic arch top guitars. In 1982, I began making two new types of flat top guitars (a steel string and a classical), a semi hollow body arch top electric, and an oval soundhole acoustic arch top.
1982 also was the year I moved my shop from Port Townsend, Washington to its present location in Kula, Hawaii. At approximately 4000 feet on the dry, leeward slopes of Mt. Haleakala, I found the perfect location to build instruments. Without the seasonal fluctuations in temperature and humidity, climate stability and conditioning in the shop were made much easier.
In 1991, I teamed up with musical innovator NED STEINBERGER to produce an experimental flat top guitar in which the soundboard is not put under tension, as it is in standard flat top, classical, or arch top guitars. Using a unique bridge system, the “stress free” guitar directs the string tension to a tailpiece, allowing much lighter braces to be used without fear of an exploding or imploding soundboard. This system makes it possible for the top to vibrate more freely, producing a loud, full, open tone.