Luthier's Corner

Robert Benedetto

Bob BenedettoAfter over four decades of a storied career as a master guitarmaker, Robert Benedetto is recognized as the preeminent archtop luthier. His reputation rests on the remarkably high esteem in which it is held by the most critically-demanding audience for any luthier: the professional player.

Benedetto Guitars have been played by three generations of jazz masters including Bucky Pizzarelli, Johnny Smith, Kenny Burrell, Joe Diorio, Martin Taylor, Chuck Wayne, Cal Collins, Jack Wilkins, Howard Alden, Frank Vignola, and Jimmy Bruno.

His guitars appear on countless recordings, videos, and TV and film soundtracks, and have been featured in books, magazines and museums (including the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History), and on concert stages and jazz festivals around the world. His reputation has grown through partnerships with Guild Guitars and Fender Musical Instruments and currently his own factory in historic Savannah, Georgia (with his business partner, Howard Paul) where he currently resides with his wife, Cindy.

"Bob Benedetto is the foremost builder of archtop guitars in the world. With tools that had belonged to his grandfather and tools that he made himself, he started making guitars entirely by hand. He rose to become the standard bearer of a tradition of hand craftsmanship that threads its way back through the work of John D¹Angelico, Orville Gibson, Lloyd Loar and even further to the centuries-old reverence for artistry and craft that is so much a part of the Italian and Italian-American heritage."   TOM WHEELER, Renowned Guitar Historian, Author of The Guitar Book; American Guitars; The Stratocaster Chronicles; former Editor in Chief, Guitar Player Magazine

benedettoguitars.com

 


 

Lindy Fralin

Lindy FralinI was always drawn to music, the sounds just as much as the words. When I was 12 and first heard Hendrix and Cream though, my passion changed from cars to guitars. I had liked songs like "Hanky Panky" and a few others but everything changed when I heard the power of "Purple Haze' and "Sunshine Of Your Love". I'm still amazed to this day at the guitar sounds in "All Along The Watchtower". As I joined bands and learned some music I wanted to own all the different guitars these artists use but couldn't afford them. I would buy damaged or mis-adjusted guitars and work on them, and slowly learned a little about guitar set-up and repair. A friend (Keith Gress) had made a coil winder and let me try it for a pickup or two. I bought a sewing machine motor and a variac and bolted them to a board for my first winder. After a while I started winding pickups for friends and before long advertised that I would rewind old pickups in an Angela Instruments catalogue. After a few years I invested in tooling to make Strats and a year later Teles. We have re-invested ever since in new machines and pickup tooling as we can afford it bringing out bass pickups, humbuckers and P-90s. Recently we have come out with a hum-canceling P-90 and a new "Split Blade" single coil pickup. The company consists of six people who are all music enthusiasts and take pride in making a product with the highest quality we know how to do. We will always take calls to try to help customers decide what model or output they need. I buy only American made magnet wire, ALNICO magnets and all other parts possible. We greatly appreciate companies like Angela Instruments and Paul Reed Smith Guitars for their help over the years and all the guitarists and bass players who use our products. We hope to continue to bring new products to market in the future and keep doing business the old fashioned way.

fralinpickups.com

 


 

Gerald Weber

Gerald WeberFifty-seven year old Gerald Weber, president and owner of Kendrick Amplifiers, began his music career in the 1960’s, shortly after seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. When he was just an eighth-graders, he performed  his first amp mod by cascading two amplifiers (not recommended) in order to get more gain and power.  Playing in various bands in southeast Texas during the mid 60’s, Weber has had extensive stage experience and knows why it is so important for a guitarist to sound his best. “When you sound better, you play better; and when you play better, you sound even better!” has been his motto for over 45 years. “If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing,” is another motto he is know for.

During the last several decades, Gerald Weber has designed and built several thousand tube amplifiers and restored over 15,000 vintage tube amps in his restoration shop, which is arguably the highest volume and most well known vintage amp restoration shop in the world. Sixteen years ago, Gerald began designing his line of custom-built Kendrick Guitars which have received rave reviews by every guitar magazine that has ever tested one.

Besides restoring vintage tube amplifiers, Gerald has designed and built custom guitar amplifiers for such famous guitarists including: Billy Gibbons, Joe Bonamassa, The Blue Man Group, Jimmie Vaughan, Carlos Santana, John Fogerty, Gary Moore, Kirk Hammett and many others too numerous to mention.  Gerald has willingly shared his knowledge as an advice columnist  for various national and international monthly publications - giving tube guitar amplifier sound advice for over 20 years. From 1998 to 2009, he hosted his "Tube Guitar Amplifier Seminar" in various major cities all over the USA. He has written four books and produced two instructional DVDs on Tube Guitar Amplifiers.  Gerald currently is a monthly advice columnist for Guitar Player magazine, the oldest and largest Guitar magazine in the world. For the last several years, he has hosted Amp Camps at his world headquarters in Texas to help people learn how to build amps and how to customize their own tube amps for best performance. There is no one that is more committed to designing and building vacuum tube guitar amplifiers and also helping others to learn to do so; than Gerald Weber.

kendrick-amplifiers.com

 


 

George Gruhn

George GruhnGeorge Gruhn was buying and selling vintage guitars before anyone ever called them “vintage.” In 1970 he turned his hobby into a business, founding Gruhn Guitars (originally called GTR) in Nashville as the first guitar store devoted to used and vintage instruments.

In the days before any reference books on guitars were published, George’s memory was the largest repository of information on vintage guitars. As Guitar Player editor Tom Wheeler once wrote, “George Gruhn knows more about guitars than anyone on earth.”

George’s extensive knowledge of guitars provided a unique base for designing guitars—for Guild, Hohner, Tacoma and under his own brand name. He has also co-written (with Walter Carter) three books, including the bible of the business, Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars.

gruhn.com

 


 

Richard Hoover

Richard HooverRichard Hoover's passion for the acoustic guitar gave rise to a burning desire to discover how they were made and equally important, how they worked. In 1968, there was absolutely no information on the construction of the acoustic steel string guitars. In pre-Internet days, the other independent pioneers of guitar building may just as well have been on other planets. Copying the assemblies of the important brands was straightforward, compared to truly controlling the guitar's voice. Hoover turned to the printed body of knowledge on centuries of violin refinement as the sole source of the true way. Herein lay the key for taking his favored instrument out of the realm of the factories and into the enlightened practice of traditional lutherie. The quest included independent experimentation, the grace of mentors, countless repairs, restorations and the construction of numerous guitars and carved-top mandolins.

Throughout the process, a concept grew. If I try to figure this out by myself it will take forever. This simple frustration, voiced by Richard, would have a profound effect on the future of steel string guitar making. If I hold true to the principals and ethics of lutherie traditions, I can work as a team with others to accelerate the learning curve without compromise. This became the mission statement for the beginnings of boutique lutherie and the inspiration for the Santa Cruz Guitar Co. We know that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and that through practice and study we will pursue ongoing improvement. Each of us has become masterful in our current specialties and collectively we embody nearly two hundred years of expertise. By adhering to the principles of physics and the tried and true practices of lutherie, SCGC guarantees the most sophisticated instrument of its kind. We will assure maximum sustain and complexity of overtones and maintain consistency of balance and tone specific to each of our standard models. To accommodate the subjective nature and personal requirements of EQ, tone and presence, we offer our considerable talents to deliver exactly what you need in a custom instrument.

santacruzguitar.com