It seems almost obligatory for all Web Pages these days to include a list of links to favorite web sites. Since I am one who enjoys following these trails to other peoples favorite sites ( I have found many that interest me this way), I will try to follow suit. I have tried to categorize these links, with sections for other guitar makers (both large and small), suppliers of wood and tools which have helped me, newsgroups, and of course the always useful and fun "miscellaneous." A lot of these pages include links of their own. In the interest of brevity I have not tried to repeat all of the interesting links I have found this way. If you tried some of these before and they did not work, I have recently tried to edit them and hopefully they are more accurate. Here goes:
This does not purport to be a comprehensive list of makers -- there are several places to go for a truly comprehensive list, and these are listed below in the Miscellaneous section.
C.F. Martin and Co: What can I say? The Martin company is the "gold standard" and continue to build guitars that are every bit the equal of any they ever made. I have been their authorized warranty service center in my area since about 1977, and I am proud to be associated with this company. They have recently added a list of their authorized service centers to their web site.
The Gibson Company: Another of the justly famous and storied "old"guitar companies. My first guitar was a "Gibson" Epiphone and although I sold it to a friend, I have "right of first refusal" if she ever sells it. She won't, but I would be happy to own it again. We have been a Gibson/Epiphone warranty service center since the mid-70's, and love to work with this fine old company.
The Fender Company: One of the great names in guitars -- especially solid body, bolt on necks. The Strat and the Tele are two names which continue to dominate the business. Hoffman Guitars is a Fender warranty repair center.
Taylor Guitars: A relative newcomer, but now one of the acknowledged fine factory-built guitars. Our friend and customer, Leo Kottke endorses their instruments. It seems have taken a long time for them to get a site up, but it is well worth looking at.
Jim Olson: One of the very finest of the small shop luthiers. In my estimation Jim is the best, most careful craftsman I know, and is a sweet and generous soul to boot. His production is prodigious for a (now) 2 man shop, and Jim's guitars are nothing short of fabulous. Jim started making guitars in the twin cities several years after I did -- we have shared ideas and materials since he first started in 1978, and I count him as a good friend. He also has a great list of players who have chosen his instruments. This web site is maintained by a friend/customer, and it is a labor of love.
Kevin Ryan: Another fine small shop luthier. Nice web page.
Kathy Matsushita: Kathy is an "amateur", in that she builds at home, and more as a hobby than a business, even though she has sold a couple of instruments. However, amateur or not, she has put together a web page that is, and should be, an inspiration for all beginners. She has carefully documented her "journey," her tools and shop, and much more. Well worth the visit.
And literally hundreds of others. A google search for acoustic guitars will give a long list.
More to come!!
Luthier's Mercantile: I certainly wish these guys had been around when I started making guitars. They have a wonderful selection of tools, woods and miscellaneous supplies. If it is available, they almost certainly have it. Their catalog is full of plans, ideas and general good advice.
Allied Luthierie: Another good source of wood, tools and supplies.
Stewart MacDonald Mfg.: This company has been around a little longer than Hoffman Guitars. They started out as a banjo parts company, and have branched out to all of the stringed instruments. They are primarily a tool (and book and video) company, although they have a lot of supplies and wood as well. They have invented many useful tools, and no repair shop could live without them (or so it seems). They have lots of my money. They also carry the very nice Waverly Gears.
Pacific Rim Tone Woods: I buy spruce here -- their quality is wonderful and priced right. No web page, but a great source.
Exotic Woods: Gulab Gidwani has been selling woods -- especially ebony and Indian rosewood -- for many years. He has good wood and competitive prices. A very nice looking site.
GENERAL TOOL SUPPLIERS
Garrett Wade Tools: Absolute heaven for the confirmed tool nut. When their catalog first came out in the 70's I was absolutely stunned!! A broad selection of very high grade woodworking tools. I keep hoping they will develop a web site.
Woodcraft Supply: Although a different "personality" than Garrett Wade, they too offer a very broad selection of fine woodworking tools and supplies. They have a store in a suburb of Minneapolis and it always costs me a lot to escape from their store.
Minnesota Woodworkers: I remember when this was a local small store selling primarily veneers and related supplies. Now they are a national chain, with a great catalog of tools and a wide range of supplies. I visit often.
Lee Valley Tools: Another very fine catalog of high grade tools. They are the company which produces Veritas tools--good innovative tools. They carry some cast iron bench legs which make the best wood working benches in my experience--heavy, sturdy and reasonably priced.
NEWSGROUPS & DISCUSSION GROUPS
Newsgroups are a good way to learn about guitars, guitar players and guitar making. There is often a good deal of misinformation, but it is generally easy to determine which writers are knowledgeable. There is also a lot of material from "newbies" -- i.e., people who are just learning about the subject. I see this as one of the strengths of the net -- interested newcomers can seek information, ask questions, and not worry about appearing uninformed. There is remarkably little "flaming" in the guitar newsgroups. Often new web sites are first "announced" on these newsgroups.
The Thirteenth Fret. A very active acoustic guitar oriented discussion Group.
Acoustic Guitar Magazine (see below for link) has some very good discussion groups. I am the moderator of their "Luthier's Corner" group (Along with Frank Ford).
GUILD OF AMERICAN LUTHIERS: The GAL has been around for years and is an essential resource for guitar builders. They are probably the primary force in the development of the community of LUTHIERS which now flourishes worldwide. Their newsletter/magazine is essential reading.
American Society of Instrument Artisans: ASIA is another group made up of a wide variety of instrument builders, repairpersons and the like. Another great contributor to the growth of the Luthier community, and they publish a very nice magazine. Everyone should belong to both groups. They now have a web page, so visit and enjoy. Everyone interested in guitar building should join. I am currently President of ASIA's Board of Directors.
The 13th Fret: One of the very best discussion forums on the Internet. The crowd is enthusiastic, knowledgeable and rarely inclined to flames.
Musicians and Instrument Makers Forum: This is a simple discussion forum for those interested in a wide variety of musical instruments. No graphics etc. but some very interesting discussions of all sorts of guitar related topics. Worth a visit, and registration for membership (Although it is free, they do request a contribution. As the Forum has gotten bigger, the work in maintaining it has increased, and they really do need the money). They have a very useful links page.
Frank Ford: Frank Ford is one of the founding flounders (his term) of Gryphon Music, one of the best of the California Guitar Stores. Frank himself is one of the acknowledged masters of guitar repair. He has recently put up his own site, largely devoted to various aspects of instrument repair and maintenance (with a good bit of interesting miscellany thrown in). This is a wonderful site, full of great information. What Frank demonstrates is that most of the best repairwork is done in the head--figuring out the best way to do a job before you start. What I can't figure out is when he has time to do all this stuff. The site is huge, and has an incredible amount of really useful information. This is my candidate for the most essential guitar related site on the web.
Acoustic Guitar: This magazine has been around for a number of years and has been a wonderful resource for those who love acoustic guitars and music. They have a very nice web site, with information about their current issue, some very good discussion forums and, most recently, a very nice section about guitar makers. This is a wonderful resource, giving information about each builder, including contact information (e-mail address, web sites, phone, etc.) (Yes, I am listed).
Great Guitar Sites on the Web: Basically a site consisting of links and ads. Very useful.
Library of Music Links: More links.
Famous Guitar Makers: They must know what they are doing since my name is listed!! Seriously, a list (not comprehensive) of luthiers. Worth checking out for the links.
Ask the Guitar Maker: A question and answer page by Abe Wechter, one of the real greats in this business. Good straight information. As of this writing the last update was about 7 months ago. I hope they keep it going.
Jason Nieh's Guitar Notes: A very good site for links.
Ron Long: I don't know Ron, but apparently he is a former maker and repairman who has maintained an intense interest in guitars (Sort of like me). This site has a very good list of links to makers and suppliers. Worth the visit.
Acoustic Guitarists Annotated: Another good site for links.
Gruhn Guitars: One of the largest and best known dealers -- particularly of vintage instruments.
Mandolin Bros.: Another large dealer -- especially of vintage instruments.
The Podium: A local guitar store which sells a lot of fine acoustic guitars. They have been friends for years, and I often send customers there to find a good selection of guitars. They occasionally have new and used Hoffman Guitars. A relatively new site, but with good information. Of course, if you are in Minneapolis, I do think there is another repair shop you should try.
My Favorite Guitars: A nice (relatively new) store specializing in Martin Gallagher and other fine guitars. Jon Garon has been a fixture in the local (and more) music scene (he once played with John Denver) and specializes in premium new and pre-owned guitars. Nice web site.
The Guitar Gallery: Probably the original internet seller of small shop high end guitars. Your mind will reel with the variety and quality of the instruments Robin sells. Highly recommended (she sells my guitars, natch!!).
Dakota Dave Hull: A good friend, owner of several of my guitars and a wonderful eclectic guitar player. He finally has a web site, surprising given how busy he is making records. His latest CD is very nice.
Robin and Linda Williams: More good friends and fabulous musicians. Their songs have been covered by many artists (Emmy Lou Harris did their song Rolling and Ramblin about the death of Hank Williams) They regularly appear on Garrison Keilor's Prairie Home Companion, and their web page has fun descriptions of their travels and music. They also have nice links, particularly to the folk and bluegrass world.
Tim Sparks: An absolute master of fingerstyle guitar. Winner of the 1993 Fingerpicking Championship at Winfield, a member of the wonderful trio Rio Nido, and all around fabulous guitar player. I am proud to say that Tim has recently started playing one of my guitars.
Leo Kottke: What can I say? A modern legend, and an awfully nice guy as well. I remember Leo's early gig's at the old Scholar Coffee House (the same place Bob Dylan started) and I am proud to say that my shop has worked on his instruments (he owns a lot) since we first opened. Leo bought one of my guitars in the early 80's and played it for many years. The site bookmarked with Leo's name is for his record label. There is now a new "Official" site, with some interesting commentary by Leo, descriptions of his new CD and a complete listing of upcoming concerts. This is a very nice site and accurately reflects Leo's personality -- which is a high compliment. There is a good "unofficial" site which is also worth a visit. My own view is that these unofficial sites are great so long as they are not making money off the artist's name--and this one seems to pass that rather simple test.
Pat Donohue: A wonderful "local" musician who has achieved (well deserved) fame, in part from his regular appearances on the Prairie Home Companion Show. He is a customer (although he plays Pat Donohue Signature Martin Guitar -- how dare he!!), and his web site has the advantage of links to a large number of other acoustic musicians.
Larry Long: Another "local musician", who has been a customer for many years. Larry has followed in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. He is a wonderfully engaging and committed musician - check him out.Charlie Maguire: A well known Minnesota musician for at least the last 30 years (does it date me that I know so many musicians who have been around for that long??) Charlie works regularly for the U.S. Forest Service (he is officially a Ranger). He also plays one of my early guitars.
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2219 East Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN. 55404