photo: Emma Monrad
I was born in South Dakota in 1953 and have spent most of my life working
wood. My father was a housebuilder and cabinetmaker who put me to work at a
young age. I began building nylon-string guitars in 1992, although I have built and
repaired other fretted instruments since the mid-1970s. When my daughter began
to study flamenco dance, I became fascinated by the flamenco
guitar, and still am. My first nylon-string guitars were flamencos. Now that I
build mostly classical guitars, that
experience has proven valuable in many ways, especially
in achieving a quick attack and an easy playability.
I live in the country outside Healdsburg, a small town about an hour and a
half north of San Francisco in California's Sonoma wine country. My climate-controlled shop is in my house, in the fashion of
the German violin makers I visited in the '70s, with large power tools outside in a big old barn.
When she was younger, my
homeschooled daughter was a frequent assistant in the workshop (now she's about
to graduate from college with an art degree).
In the shop
Healdsburg is a thriving center of lutherie, both classical and steel-string. It is the home
of Todd Taggart's Allied Lutherie, Luthiers Mercantile International
and the biannual Healdsburg Guitar Festival. Sonoma County is also home to several notable
guitar builders and the Luthiers School International.
I am a
member of the Guitar Foundation of America, Guild of American Luthiers, and
Northern California Association of Luthiers.
When I'm not in my shop, I devote my time to flamenco guitar, flyfishing and
fly tying, and photography. I love to work in the darkroom with black and white
film. The photos I take for a local theater company can be
the Imaginists. My
daughters were flamenco professionals for some years - the older one danced, the
younger sang. They surpassed me as performers long ago; read about them at
La Eva Flamenco.