December 15th / Happy Birthday! This is when it all began for me. LOL
At the age of 11 my parents bought me a Kay bass (SG style) and it was the start of my career path. My older brother was already playing guitar and had a drummer. They needed a bass player. I was in the band!!!
This is where the guitar builder began to take over the guitar player. I was always into tools and fixing things so I began making these guitar cutouts from scrap plywood and 2x4's that we had around the house.
Seems like there was always music equipment around the house...
My first real attempt at a guitar (Bass Guitar) came in 9th grade wood shop class. They had all the tools and I had the ambition to use them. This was supposed to be something similar to Billy Sheehan's BB3000. The bridge was off and the whole thing looked like it was built by a 9th grader with no internet for reference... LOL
So I kept at it and built a few more basses over my highschool years. (You can easily tell what music I was listening to.)
During my Senior year in Highschool, I built my fourth bass in the woodshop class. I entered it into some local wood working competition's and won first place in the region and second place in the Indiana State. The prize was a trophy and gift certificate which I used to buy my first hand router. Now we're cooking!
Up to this point, I was doing all this because it was fun and interesting. Now that I graduated from highschool, it was obvious what I wanted to do for a career and set out to really learn how guitars are made. At this point in time there were only a few luthiery schools in the country and picked the Roberto-Venn school for my education.
I built one electric and one acoustic guitar during the course and it was all done the old fashion way with the most sophisticated equipment being a hand router.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, I landed a job at Tobias basses pretty quickly. I worked with some great guys there. Michael Tobias, Bob McDonald, Chris Compston, Rob Timmons, Scott Ucheda... all very talented dudes who have continued on in the guitar industry.
I also have to say that my exposure to wood combinations, and building techniques while working there have had a lasting impact on the methods and designs that I still use today.
1995 - 2000
After Tobias got swallowed up by Gibson, I interviewed with G&L, Tom Anderson, Ibanez Custom Shop, and Ernie Ball. None of them were a good fit for me at that time. The fact is that those companies are so large that I was gonna end up being one of a 100 man team starting at the bottom sanding bodies for 8 hours a day. Ugh!!!
During most of this time I was just living life in LA. In a band, had a regular job, learned all about photography, computers, digital imaging and CAD. All tools that are very useful for the methods I use currently.
But also during this time I was meeting people like Rich Lasner & Leo Knapp. I was getting into the NAMM shows and even the private parties after the NAMM show ;-) Good times that fueled my fire.
In 2001 I bought a house in Covina Ca. It had a garage. It was big enough to put some tools in there. I was in business!!!
I started out making guitar and bass bodies and necks followed soon after. I'd basically make some bodies, sell them, turn the profits into new tools and repeat and repeat... By about 2007 I had an employee and we were cranking about 250 orders per year.
Slowly but surely, I expanded into a bigger shop, CNC machines, nicer tools, employees, adding more and more services to my menu.
In 2010 I decided it was time to move my family out of LA. We ended up in small town Tennessee and love it here. On 3 acres, I have a 1200 sq ft shop and a 700 sq ft storage building plus the house.
These days I am back to working by myself and love it that way. I mostly build full guitars and basses for people who want amazing custom instruments. All of the years of literal blood, sweat, and tears that I put into the early work have paid off in EXPERIENCE!!! Everything that comes out of my shop these days is built by me, PERIOD! This is something I am very proud of and there are not many places where you can buy a guitar these days that you know that one person built something from the ground up.
2008 - I did some custom work for the Ibanez LA custom shop
2013 - Present - Work for George Lynch
2014 - I built a guitar that was used on the final Motley Crue tour
Presently - I have shipped around 2000 orders with about 300 full guitar or bass builds