I have heard of Dake Traphagen before I even started my trade as a luthier. Most notably through a guitar owned by one of my own customers, William Yelverton, who heads the guitar dept. at Middle TN State University. I know that it has been a very reliable instrument and from my own experience with Dake's guitars I have played since, his reputation is well deserved and I have greatly enjoyed my conversations with him. Hopefully I will continue seeing him at our annual GFA convention and other small festivals.
Classical Guitar Luthiers
I first met Max at the 2014 GFA in Fullerton, CA. I have subsequently seen him and had the opportunity to spend some time with him at other festivals and GFA's since then. His workmanship has always been very clean and the overall sound quality of his guitars has always been on par with other very nice traditional instruments from past and contemporary makers. In addition, he is a very down to earth and splendid person to be around.
Kris is a great builder and luthier acquaintance of mine that I greatly respect. He and his business partner Randy Meinhert have also designed and manufactured a superior support for holding the guitar.
Greg Byers builds a great lattice guitar, almost indistiguishable from their traditional fan braced counterparts in my opinion - which is very desirable for many players. I have had the great opportunity of often having Greg as a neighboor when I display my work at GFA. He is a very kind, learned guitar builder and his persistence and dedication to his work is an inspiration for many of the next generation luthiers. I look forward to continuing to develop a friendly relationship with Greg and learning from his innovations in our field.
Greg Smallman created his lattice bracing concept which was popularized by the guitarist John Williams throughout the 1990's - most notably in William's "Sevilla Concert". Greg Smallman is a household name amoung classical guitar aficionados, although many champions of traditional guitar design rally against Smallman's innovative approach. The influences of his work continue to grow into many different forms as luthiers around the world explore many variations on its potential.
My first resonsive guitar was one of Kenny Hills early double top prototypes. My initial interest in building classical guitars began with that instrument and was suppose to end with me also building double tops. As luck would have it, my first two solid top guitars resulted in a tone and volume that was for me, just as satisfying as the double top, so I never pursued this building style.
I have to add John Price to my list of luthiers although we have neither met, nor talked in person. My old guitar professor, Glenn Caluda, owned a Price guitar and the entire time I was his student until this very day he is proud to assert that his John Price guitar is the last one he will ever love. That kind of loyalty is rare among guitarists and very coveted by the fortunate, yet skilled luthiers who have managed to earn it.
I met Hugo at the GFA in Fullerton in 2013 or 2014 and was very intrigued by the sound that he acheived with the design of the guitar I played at that convention. It was no surprise to find an increasing number of great guitarists playing his instruments. I place Hugo's work in a category of luthier that I strive to also occupy - one with builders taking solid top guitar construction to new levels at a time when double tops are all the buzz.
I first met Joshia at the Guitar Foundation of America Convention in Charelston, SC. I had my second guitar with me, and was showing it around, getting various feedback from the luthiers there. Joshia is the daughter of the renown luthier Sergei de Jonge and this fact alone definitely places her in a class by herself.
Jeremy is a great friend and guitar builder with lots of original ideas. I have learned a lot from being around him and hopefully he has also learned something from me. I think he has acheived a remarkable improvement in the sound of his guitars over the past three years as he continues to carve out an interesting niche for this unique guitar designs
Steve Porter was displaying near my booth at the 2014 GFA in Fullerton, CA. I was very impressed with the sound he acheived with his guitars.