I was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, and spent my childhood in Jackson, Tennessee which is smack dab in the middle of Memphis and Nashville. So, I guess you could say music is in my blood. My first glimpse of a guitar up close was when my brother got his acoustic. He told me not to touch it, but I just couldn’t help myself. His band also used to practice in the shed behind our house. When they weren’t around I would go out there and monkey with the instruments, teaching myself how to play.
When we moved to Eau Claire, WI I got my hands on my dad’s electric bass, which I enjoyed playing very much. However, I had always wanted an electric guitar so I eventually traded the bass in for one. It was around this same time that I started designing, without really realizing it. My first taste of guitar design came from flipping through an AC/DC album, where I decided to draw Angus Young’s Gibson SG. From there, it expanded into drawing several of my own designs, which ended up covering the walls of my bedroom.
In addition to my love of artwork, I have always enjoyed projects, like wood-working. This came from when I would spend summers at my grandparents. My Grandpa Bill was a master carpenter. He was quite the perfectionist, not wanting to make anything the wrong way; that just wasn’t his style. He passed this perfectionism on to me, along with his love of using hand tools. “Hand powered and air cooled”, he would always say.
As I got older and entered the workforce, my passions for art and working with my hands never left me, even though I never made it to art school like I wanted. I decided one day that I did want to go to school, and I realized I love all the skills that go into building and repairing instruments. I am a perfectionist, and because of this I don’t like doing things halfway. When I decided to go to school to become a luthier, I wanted to go to the best school in the country. After some research, I soon discovered the best school for this was in Red Wing, MN. I applied, got in, and the rest-as they say-is history.
What I want to achieve is to have everyone’s instruments play and sound better than ever (meaning each setup is totally unique to the individual because no two people, nor their playing styles, are the same), in addition to having genuine customer service and reasonable prices. I have been the customer several times, and I know and understand how personal musical instruments can be because mine are that important to me. So, I treat each instrument that comes through my door as if it were my own.