UPDATE: As of 2012 I am no longer offering custom guitars. Please keep an eye on my blog for new projects and instruments for sale.
If you've spent any amount of time browsing custom instrument sites you've seen the term 'handcrafted' thrown around quite a bit I'm sure. If you've spent any amount of time browsing custom instrument message boards you've seen plenty of hot blooded debates on what handcrafted really means when describing musical instrument construction. I don't have a strong opinion in either direction about machine/factory VS 'hand made' instruments. What you will find here is my description of handcrafted and why I describe my instruments with that term.

For me handcrafted means any tool being used in the woodworking process is guided by my hand over the work piece. It also means I use minimal templates and jigging in all processes performed in my shop. Pickups, sometimes bridges, electronics and tuners are outsourced and I can't keep track of the manufacturing processes of all my suppliers. I do my best to buy all American hardware and accessories but in some places National Pride has to take a backseat to better quality/design for my customers.

Why don't I use more templates and jigs?
There are some very short and simple reasons. First, I don't like the sound routers make and most templates/jigs involve routers. Second, I just don't like building jigs and templates very much. The third and probably most important is templates and jigs are used when you want to repeat the same process over and over again to create precise copies. For companies trying to make the same instrument as a standard model these templates and jigs can save a lot of time and thinking for workers in the factory. One of my main goals is to make unique instruments. You'll hear arguments about hand made instruments VS machine precision, but the most important processes that need precision are still done by hand except for the very large/specialized factories.

I use a jig to slot my own fingerboards. I use templates to route my pickup holes and hollow body frames. I use templates to draw my body lines then shape them by hand. Other than those few templates I am guiding every tool, piece of sandpaper, spray gun and buffing wheel over the instrument freehand. The difference between all this hand work and a CNC/factory made instrument means very little to the final playability of an instrument. What it results in is a unique instrument. Each body is slightly different, each top carve if different, and each neck is built to spec. It's important to me for all my guitars to be different from each other, for them to be built to spec for my customers, and to for my designs to always continue to progress. I find all of these things to be easier when I use as few jigs and templates as possible.
Hand carved top.
MODIFIED 2007-04-10 00:02:11