I took a belt sander to my $20 guitar in junior high to get rid of a thick paint job. It looked rough but actually sounded better. Since then I’ve refined my technique a little by apprenticing with noted vintage restorationist TJ Thompson, participating in the Schoenberg guitar building project with Martin Guitars, and being Production Manager at Ervin Somogyi’s guitarmaking shop from 2004-2011. I’ve had my own custom building and repair shop since 1995; I make acoustic guitars and Irish bouzoukis and regularly show at the Healdsburg and Montreal handbuilders’ shows. Being a gigging musician keeps me very focussed on great tone, simple and accurate amplification and buttery setups.
My shop is the Martin Warranty Service Center for the East Bay. I’ve worked on Martins from 1836, 1936 and from 6 days ago.
Although I have my own shop I like working with the top-notch staff at SF Guitarworks. We check each others’ work and push each other to make each repair a little better. We all share the perfectionist but ultimately modest goal of doing the most invisible repairs we possibly can.
In other (and sometimes concurrent) lifetimes I edited a technical manual about almond production, recorded some Irish/Klezmer fusion music for a documentary film, helped run an affordable housing non-profit, and turned bowls.