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I think music started to soak in during my childhood, when my mother chose to have the stereo on rather than the TV. At the age of 15 I got turned on to Jimi Hendrix and that pretty much changed everything. I quit playing the drums which was my first serious instrument and soon found myself on the bus headed to the Starving Musician. Within the hour I had purchased my first guitar and thus the journey begins.
I spent the years playing guitar and eventually started to tinker with it. I purchased the “Guitar Player Repair Guide” by Dan Erlewine and started changing pickups and setting up my guitars. I also purchased the Luthiers Mercantile catalog which had a lot of information directed at guitar making. At one point I bought a cheap classical guitar at a garage sale and took the top off and re-braced it. It sounded horrible but I loved the process.
During this time I earned a living working various production jobs and discovered I picked things up pretty quickly working with my hands. It became clear that happiness would be found using my hands doing something that I truly loved, so in 1999 with some family assistance I attended the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix Arizona. I spent 6 months there building 2 guitars and completing a repair course. In June of 2000, I returned home to the Bay Area and landed a Job working for the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. Over my 9 plus year span I worked my way through each department learning every aspect of steel string guitar construction. The last 4 years saw my previous training put to good use working as the Service Manager. I learned all the various techniques used to repair guitars and I also saw what tension and abuse did to an acoustic guitar over time.
Over the years I have also worked for Rick Turner doing various production work and final assembly. This training brought me back to the electric guitar and inspired me to develop my Panthera model. I have also lent my services to Addam Stark, helping him with his guitar finishing business and more recently Jeff Traugott. I worked with Jeff on his fanned fret 7 string electric guitar for Charlie Hunter. Jeff has been a mentor and his advice has helped me develop my Eros model.
Some people can go a lifetime without finding something that gives their life meaning. When I strung up my first guitar I knew what that meaning was. Building guitars is the only time I’m actually free and my goal is to help create a similar feeling for the player and the audience. There is a lot of love, passion, dedication, sacrifice, and long hours involved in what I do. It’s also very emotional at times. It can be hard to encompass every action and thought involved but I can sum it up with this: The meaning of the word Catharsis is an emotional release usually through art or music. That’s what building guitars is for me.