I bought my first nice guitar in Madrid in 1974. After visiting a number of luthier's shops, I bought a guitar from the A. Fernandez shop at Jesus y Maria 26 for 9,870 pesetas. I think that was about $175 dollars at the time. I knew Ramirez was one of the best makers but their guitars were selling for about $450 dollars at the time, far beyond my budget. Plus, at the Fernandez shop I stood among the workbenchs with sawdust on the floor. The Ramirez shop was only a showroom with no guitars under construction in sight.

Since that first experience in Madrid, I have always wanted to build my own guitar. While in college, Mary bought me a dulcimer kit and after building that I built another dulcimer from scratch, thinking of it as my warm-up exercise for building a guitar. That was 1975. Twenty five plus years later I had the great good fortunate to meet Jack Sanders, who teaches guitar at Pomona College. I started taking lessons from Jack and quickly learned that he not only was a fantastic player and teacher, but also an accomplished luthier! I started asking him how to build a guitar and he pointed me in the right direction! As I got started, Jack gave me invaluable advice, information, and support.

Finally, in 2010, I finished my first guitar!

(All guitar photos by Benjamin Hoste.)

Guitar No. 1 2010

Western Red Cedar top, East Indian Rosewood back and sides. For simplicity, I bought the rosette, a traditional mosaic design.

Guitar No. 2 2014

Spruce top, shedua back and sides, mahogony neck, ebony fretboard, rosewood bridge.

Guitar No. 3 2019

Spruce top, East Indian back and sides, mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, kingwood headstock veneer, rosewood bridge. The rosette is the (-3,10)-torus knot. I changed the headstock profile to a more traditional design.

When we moved to Berkeley in August, 2019, this guitar was not yet complete. Knowing that I would be without a woodshop for two years, I hired Jack Sanders to complete the guitar.

Back to Main