From a very early age I was inspired by and obsessed with music and art, if you can call surf music music, and model cars art. I loved fixing things, even when it meant breaking them first.
By the time I was 13, I was playing in bands and doing some recording as a backup guitarist for singers. Through the sixties, I played with the Mugwumps and later with the Drifters, the Soul Brothers and other soul bands. For a while during the late ‘60s I was an in-house songwriter at a music publisher in Hollywood.
I started building my first legitimate instrument, an electric upright bass for bowing, in 1969. I began designing custom instruments in an attempt to combine my loves of music and art, to make instruments that either weren’t being made or were not meeting my needs or the needs (as I saw them), of other musicians. Perhaps more to the point, I tried to make instruments that were fun and original.
Over the next few decades I developed the voice of my guitars and began experimenting with new shapes, multi-wood tops, multiple soundholes, asymmetry, and unusual bracings as I refined the voice of my instruments and sought new voices. The aesthetic elements fell into place as a means of interacting more playfully with the instrument visually.
I don’t have a lot of endorsements, and I don’t have room here to list all the musicians who don’t play my instruments. Dave Pomeroy, the great Nashville bassist,
has played my electric upright, a five-string called “the Beast” for well over twenty years. Scott Bennett toured the world and recorded countless music on an acoustic guitar of mine that he pretty nearly beat to death. I’m especially proud that George Holmes of the Inkspots plays two of my instruments.
In addition to building custom instruments, I have designed for several companies, notably Fender Musical Instrument Corp, Jackson Guitars, Akai Musical Instrument Corporation, and most recently Avian Guitars, Bedell Guitars, and Breedlove Guitars.