I started repairing and building guitars at a small shop in the University district of Seattle in 1973. In 1975 I moved to Michigan to begin a 10 year apprenticeship with master luthier Richard Schneider. At the time Richard was working closely with Dr. Michael Kasha, developing the radial fan bracing, asymmetric bridge and offset soundhole that are the hallmarks of what is known as the "Kasha" system. Working with Richard and Dr. Kasha was a great privilege, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity. During these years I also worked as a model maker and designer for Gibson, where I learned drafting skills ( “old school”- hand drawing with ink on vellum and mylar), and built many guitars for the trade shows and artist relations dept.
In 1984 I opened my own shop near Paw Paw, Michigan and worked alone there for 12 years, refining my skills and developing a client base of fine musicians. In 1994 I built my first prototype of the double cutaway Pathmaker design, and after completing 2 years of backorders I bought an industrial building and started manufacturing. The business grew, and in 2000 I began importing guitars from Asia. By 2005 I was traveling to China, Korea and Vietnam several times a year, while still taking care of sales and managing the shop. We bought a Plek Pro and continued to build custom guitars in Michigan, using locally harvested curly maple, sassafras and walnut. In 2008 I moved my shop to Fort Wayne, Indiana, still traveling back and forth between Asia and the US frequently, but free from the responsibility for sales and business management.
In January of 2013 I took the next step, leaving the corporation that still carries my name to open a custom shop in Guangzhou. I am focusing on truly handmade custom guitars; I have some new designs I want to explore, as well as more traditional ones that I continue to refine.
A day is built on the foundation of our experience, the integrity of our work, and the vision our dream. I hope to build every guitar this same way.