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Spring 2017

Revealing the “REAL” Rock Stars of the Guitar!

Spring 2017



Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

2017 Spring Issue

Vol. 3 Num. 1

IN THIS ISSUE... 3 What we’re all about The editor’s comments.

4 Guitar Town at Copper Mountain Phillip Gillis (left), owner of Federated Music of Springfield, MO with Duane M. Evarts (right), editor of Guitar Show Magazine, share a photo-op at the 2016 Guitar Town at Copper Mountain, Colorado

Holly Robinson, organizer of the 2016 Guitar Town shares photos and commentary about this event.

6 Guitar Builders For Veterans A community of professional luthiers helping Veterans with PTSD.

There are many guitar magazines in print today and most of them can be grouped into certain categories. Magazines that...

8 Meet the Luthier Stuart Keith is a Washington state based luthier located about 10 miles northwest of Spokane, WA who has a unique background in aviation that made him specialize in precision designed custom guitars.

1. Are about people that play guitars 2. Teach people to play guitar 3. Are for people that collect guitars

10 Ask-A-Luthier

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine caters primarily to professional luthiers, boutique amp & pedal builders, smaller independent music stores and, of course, people that are contemplating the commissioning of a custom-build or “handcrafted” one-of-a-kind guitar of their dreams.

Luthier Steve Mason answers your questions.

Our aim is to help the custom guitar luthier, boutique amplifier and other musical instrument-building professionals to costeffectively promote their name, brand, products and services while also introducing them to a wider audience of guitar enthusiasts. If you are a guitar show organizer, luthier, collector, small music-related business owner or just a lover of all things guitar, I invite you to participate by contributing articles, interviews, product and event reviews. Let's work together and get the SHOW on the road!

Until next time…”play skillfully with a loud noise on an instrument of strings.”- Ps 33:3

12 Tonewoods: Concepts and Controversy Mike Nash shares his experiences as one of Colorado’s up-andcoming professional luthiers.

14 The Professional Luthier Directory A list of verified individuals actively involved in the professional art of lutherie.

15 Upcoming Guitar Shows A partial list of guitar shows, expos and festivals where you can pick up a hard copy of the magazine. Cover Photo is courtesy of Shredder Pinstripe. Guitar Show & Custom Luthier is published bi-annually and distributed at guitar shows, festivals & expos, by direct mail and at better music-related businesses. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission from the publisher. Advertising - Promoting your business to guitar-buying enthusiasts is critical to growth. Guitar Show & Custom Luthier is becoming one of the best ways to reach your specific audience. Information about advertising is available online at

Duane M. Evarts,

The views expressed are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily those of the publisher, editor or staff. All advertising material is subject to publisher’s approval. Guitar Show & Custom Luthier welcomes, but assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to any and all unsolicited articles, photographs or art. If you would like to be highlighted in a future “Meet The Luthier” article, contact:


Copyright ©2016 by DMEVARTS, LLC - All rights reserved. Spring 2017


By Holly Robinson, contributing editor and organizer of Guitar Town at Copper Mountain

The event known as Guitar Town returned to Copper Mountain on August 12-14, 2016 for the 12th annual showcase of amazing live music. The annual, popular, FREE outdoor festival has become widely known for a gathering of some of the very best guitar virtuosos in the world.

Mark Selby with special guest Stig Mathisen and Hendrix Revolution with Randy Hansen. All-star guitar jams and lively informative guitar workshops with artists from the Guitar Town lineup are always highly anticipated events. At the workshops, guitar students and fans were granted an opportunity to connect on a personal level with the guitarists in a “living room-style” format while partaking in once-in-a -lifetime jams, gaining valuable technical insight and hearing entertaining stories. Fun music activities for kids and the whole family were also a part of the Guitar Town festivities. Andy May's Acoustic Kids Showcase on the West Lake Stage was an opportunity for young guitarists of any skill level to perform on the festival stage in a supportive environment. As a show, the Acoustic Kids Showcase wasn't for kids only — it was for music lovers of all ages who came to applaud the efforts of the next generation.

This year’s high-powered bill included performances by Lee Ritenour, Robben Ford, Lee Roy Parnell, Joe Robinson, John Jorgenson, Martin Taylor, Frank Vignola with Vinny Raniolo and Olli Soikkeli, Laurence Juber,


Guitar Center, with it’s Guitar Center Garage, was onsite offering free re-stringing and tune-ups for guitar attendees. And, of course, Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine was there providing their publication free to our attendees. A good time for all!!

Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

Spring 2017


Guitar Builders for Veterans is a Facebook group that pools parts and builds guitars to gift to U.S. veterans. The group started when luthier Kris Colson of Colson Custom Guitars, located in Virginia, and Shredder Pinstripe (a neoclassical rock guitarist that plays everything from jazz to classical to progressive metal to rockabilly) were finishing a charity build for a “Children with Cancer” benefit. They were chatting one day and Shredder said "I wish we could do something for the vets." Then he went on to share a story of how, at a show, he had met a veteran that used to play, but since being out of the service only had money to barely survive, much less purchase a guitar. This struck a nerve in Shredder and the story also had such an overwhelming effect on Kris, that Kris said "done!” The Guitar Builders for Veterans Group was started shortly thereafter. GBV recently exceeded 250 members. As the group grows, more parts are being acquired resulting in more guitars being gifted. If you have parts that you would consider contributing to this effort, or, if you want to have a hands-on part in a build, just look up Guitar Builders for Veterans on Facebook and join. As more luthiers join, more veterans can be served with a gift they simply cannot afford. If you have ever wanted to give back to our vets then this is an awesome way to do it! The GBV group encourages you to get involved. This group welcomes people with diverse skill levels and offers various degrees of involvement. If you have any questions, you can send Kris Colson a private message and he will happily chat with you. Not a Facebook user? You can contact Kris by phone at 540-553-6841.


Spring 2017

“I’ve lost friends in Iraq…I need to get the word out to guys my age to start helping…we get to do what we do because they did what they did… No one my age gets that.” – Shredder Pinstripe Editor’s Comment: Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine is pleased to help promote the Facebook group “Guitar Builders for Veterans”. We all owe thanks to our veterans for our freedoms and this is one way for the guitar building community to give back. If you are a builder and want to give a “thank you” to a veteran in need, then please join ! They will find a way for you to help. GBV is NOT a 501(c)3 charity and contributions are NOT tax deductible. Colson Custom Guitars is a small custom guitar shop that emphasizes quality & tone and can build the instrument of your dreams.

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

Spring 2017


Meet The Luthier at... Stuart started playing guitars at the age of twelve and instantly began to take them apart, refinishing, re-fretting, doing setup, and re-wiring. As a product of the golden era of classic rock, the electric guitar held a special fascination for him.

The 6.6 lbs. was a surprise but what is in those 6 lbs. will impress you. “Molly” packs a punch!

As a young man, he owned a print shop and also worked as a journeyman lithographer…a skilled artisan position. He worked on all the Black Flag label artist albums, Paramount Movies promotional standees and VHS jackets, the Temptations albums, Beatles movie VHS jackets; too many to list here.

The first time I picked

- Shredder Pinstripe The commercial propeller business was sold in 2009. Since then, Stuart has been a full time guitar builder. He brings a serious attitude, an inherent understanding of vibration in structures, precision manufacturing experience and artistic sensibilities and style into his guitar building.

“Molly” up, I knew… It was like she was built

just for me. - Shredder Pinstripe After the print shop, Stuart became a commercial pilot and flight instructor. He worked at a professional flight school for a few years and then instructed free lance for ten more years. When given the choice to fly for the airlines or start a business building composite aircraft propellers, he chose to build propellers. Stuart owned and operated that business for 20 years, doing research and development for Lockheed, Raytheon, Honeywell, etc. and was recognized as an expert in the field. That business delivered over 20,000 commercial propellers and amassed an excellent safety record.

Aviation is a serious business. It was necessary for Stuart to employ cad/cam/cnc in order to be taken seriously in that industry. As he mastered the software programming and machining skills to produce composite propeller molds and tooling, he also began to draw his first cad models for guitars. This opened the door for him to finally produce what had been his real passion...electric guitars. In 2004 he started producing guitar parts and played his first guitar design in 2009. 8

Spring 2017

With large Haas (VF4 and TM3) CNC milling machines in a shop out in the forest, it's an odd juxtaposition that inspires both his artistic and meticulous nature. Stuart’s goal as a cad/cam specialist is not to mass produce instruments, but rather to develop processes that convey the accuracy capability of these production level machines into his instruments for the sake of play-ability and artistic expression.

She plays any genre of music from blues to screaming heavy metal - Shredder Pinstripe These machines are accurate to within .0003", which is to say that when the machine is instructed to work somewhere on an instrument it will arrive there to within one-seventh inch of a human hair. This accuracy, if truly understood, harnessed and applied by the designer, can help to make an instrument that "seemingly disappears" in the hands of the player, allowing them to focus more on their music and less on making notes. But more than simple play-ability, this accuracy can aid greatly in the creation of artistic ideas. Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

With comments by Shredder Pinstripe By Duane M. Evarts Bridges, knobs, pickup rings, covers, and even string tees are all designed and made in his shop. This offers full control over artistic continuity and function. Stuart's bridge designs articulate much the same as conventional bridges but they also offer added benefits of carrying other aesthetic design elements of the guitars and full control over the string track.

Designing his own bridges allows Stuart to follow the string throughout the entire instrument and guide it along its path. He designs the string path such that at no point does the string bend around any sharp edge. This results in a constant tension along the entire length of each string. The final result is that Stuart Keith guitars stay in tune even after vicious bends… and they don't break strings.

I've known Stuart since my college days. Over the years, we had gone our separate ways in life and both been involved in many endeavors. It seems ironic that many years later we would reconnect only to find that Stuart had become a luthier and I had started a magazine about luthiers… Go figure! - editor.

If you’re only going to buy one guitar to be with you for the rest of your life, from novice to rock star, Molly from Stuart Keith Guitars should be your weapon of choice. - Shredder Pinstripe

Stuart Keith Guitars

Spring 2017



Answers to questions on stringed instrument repair by Steve Mason 1st Fret Buzz Q: I recently helped my son build a Warmoth custom guitar with a Floyd Rose bridge. After setup everything seems nearly perfect (perhaps dumb luck) except there is a buzz on the first fret of the high E and nowhere else. Most peculiar to me is that it does not seem to matter if the action is higher or lower, it buzzes either way, not a real lot but it's there. It seems like maybe its the nut, as it looks so low at that particular string. And my question is, can (should) this be shimmed slightly to bring up that 1 string? Playing up the neck after fret 1 is all ok...thanks. A: Your nut and frets should all be exactly the same height. If any fret is too low the string will buzz against the next fret. The only problem that fits the evidence on your Warmoth is that the nut is cut too low under the E string. If your nut is made of bone or Tusq, you can fill the slot with bone dust and superglue or bone dust and epoxy, and then refile it. If it is plastic or metal you will need to shim the whole nut and then file down the other five slots. Or replace the nut and adjust all six. - Steve The Brightest Nut & Saddle Q: I have a 1958 mahogany top Gibson in good shape. I'm debating between a bone nut and saddle or a real ivory nut and saddle. I want to get as bright of tone from her as possible. Which do you suggest? - Joseph, N.E. Ohio A: The cruel truth is that the brightest nut and saddle are made out of Tusq.

It is a high tech plastic. It is much more “live” than either bone or Ivory. When you drop it on a hard surface it "rings." Taylor guitars come from the factory with Tusq. Needless to say, Tusq would not be original equipment on a 1958 Gibson. Ivory is illegal. I have a lot of Ivory from elephants killed before 1975. This Ivory is technically legal but if you were stopped at an international border you would have to prove its age to cranky, unsympathetic customs agents. Fossil ivory comes from woolly mammoths. It’s voracity is easier to prove because it just looks old. Ivory "rings" like Tusq but it is much heavier. 10

I use bone for almost everything. It works easy and sounds good. It's traditional, and cheap. - Steve Veneer and Bridged Q: I need to know if there is any tone changes in the wood for the headstock veneer, also any tone change for bridge (does the grain have to be straight or can it be twisted like mesquite). I want to use mesquite as a bridge and headstock veneer. I know how tough it is but I have been playing with it lately and man is it beautiful! Would make a nice fret board also. - Mike A: I have never used Mesquite. I am sure that there is no down side to using it for a peghead overlay. Kasha, in the 1950s, showed that you can improve the sound of any guitar by putting a C clamp on the peghead. String vibrations, being unable to move the peghead, will turn back down the neck and vibrate the bridge. So, the heavier the peghead is the better. Enclosed gears like Grover Rotomatics should make a guitar sound better than Waverlys. The weight difference between any two hardwood headstock veneers would be slight. So go with whatever you think is pretty. I use Brazilian Rosewood for my bridges. It is light and very hard and carries vibrations faster than other woods. That being said, I have heard great sounding guitars with a wide variety of hardwood bridges. I would consult the wood books to see how Mesquite's characteristics compare to the more traditional bridge woods. If you find Mesquite's hardness to be in the range of ebony or rosewood or even maple, give it a try. -Steve About the author: For a day job Steve is a luthier: one who repairs, improves and creates stringed instruments. To make a guitar, he starts with a tree and carves away everything that doesn’t look like a guitar. He plays fiddle, guitar, bass, mandolin and sings in the Alferd Packer Memorial String Band:

Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

Spring 2017


Tonewoods: Concepts and Controversy By Mike Nash, Luthier & Owner of Alien Guitar Factory Webster’s defines “resonate”, as “to continue to produce a loud, clear, deep sound for a long time.” And when Tonewoods are mentioned, resonance is the mantra of the practicing luthier. But that said, it’s a hot-button topic among those I converse with. I’ve seen videos of epoxy-treated cardboard guitars, converted shovels and brooms, plexiglass or lucite, a microwave oven, and even a cinder block test for the least possible resonance! As a budding luthier myself, I find these builds obnoxious, because it challenges the validity of tonewoods in the first place. But take heart faithful readers! It’s not all snake oil out there.

widely varied among these beautiful woods and can’t always be described with just two words. Construction techniques are also a vital component of the guitar’s tone. The grain direction insures the neck and body resonate as one tree, so the neck pocket needs to be tight as possible. The nut should also be installed tightly, with a resonant material. The engineering of the bridge, as well as it’s method of attachment to the body matter greatly to tonal transfer and sustain. It takes proper hardware and solid construction to give the wood it’s best chance to have it’s loudest possible voice in the mix.

In the world of electric guitars, at least 85% of your tone comes from your pickups, with another significant chunk coming from your amp. That’s the cold hard facts. But pick up a Les Paul and the Mahogany characterizes the sound with something fuzzy and soft at the top. Never harsh. Add a Maple top to it, and the treble is increased, with a little high-end “snap”. Side by side comparisons with identically built guitars, but one with a Maple cap, has been shown to make a tonal difference within the range of human hearing. Tonewood is indeed scientific fact!

Editor - Mike Nash rediscovered an interest from his youth, in how electric guitars were made, and decided to become a student of luthiery at Red Rocks Community College. He now builds custom guitars under the name “Alien Guitar Factory” based in Castle Rock, Colorado. For more information about Mike’s current projects and available instruments, contact him at: or look up Alien Guitar Factory on Facebook.

In my last article, I mentioned that tonal transfer works best in the straightest grain possible. But everyone loves a lot of figure. Figure dampens resonance a bit, but it doesn't eliminate it. Burls are beautiful, but offer almost no tonewood benefit. An intriguing chart I found (from people that like to sell you stuff) comes from Warmoth guitar products. Its useful, but I wouldn’t rely on it exclusively.

It uses the industry standard “warm” and “bright” descriptions. This should give you a great place to begin understanding most common species of tonewoods and their specific uses (body, neck, fretboard). When seeking out uncommon woods, I have found that denser does not always mean brighter. For example, Rosewood and its variations are “warm”; and I have found that Zebrawood and Ziricote are the two loudest woods in either electric OR acoustic builds. I encourage you to Google and Youtube, and listen to some audio of various woods and judge for yourself, because the tonal characteristic are so 12

Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

Spring 2017


2017 Professional Luthier Directory ARKANSAS Nunley Lutherie Rogers, AR

COLORADO (continued) Michael Anthony Guitars, LLC Loveland, CO

IOWA AM Guitar Works Davenport, IA

NEVADA Vegas Guitars Custom Shop Las Vegas, NV

ARIZONA Lund Guitars Chandler, AZ

Xentric Guitars Windsor, CO

Hinde Custom Instruments New Hartford, IA

Galaxy Guitar Products USA, Las Vegas, NV

CONNECTICUTT Stol Guitars Guilford, CT

KANSAS Steve Mason Luthiers Lawrence, KS

NEW YORK The Guitar Specialist, Inc. Goldens Bridge, NY

Shaw Handcrafted Guitars Waco, TX

Occhineri Guitars Bloomfiend, CT

MASSACHUSETTS Forbidden Guitars Cambridge, MA

H.F. Eibert Stringed Instruments Syracuse, NY Find us on Facebook

UTAH Steve Fischer Guitars Cedar City, UT

Guitar Doctor Whitman, MA

OHIO McKnight Guitars Morrel, OH

VIRGINIA Hawkins Guitar Virginia Beach, VA

Rhinehart Guitars of Athens, Ohio Athens, OH

James Jones Instruments Bedford, VA

CALIFORNIA Bisceglia Guitars San Jose, CA California Guitars Belmont, CA Dart Instruments Philo, CA

FLORIDA D Guitars Miami, LLC North Miami Beach, FL

Elite Custom Guitars Cameron Park, CA

Glen Perry Guitars Miami, FL

Koentopp Guitars Hawthorne, CA

Lowe Custom Guitars Oldsmar, FL

Luttrell Guitarworks Petaluma , CA

R&M Guitars, LLC Ocala, FL

Perlman Guitars San Francisco, CA

Sam's Quality Guitar Repair Ocala, FL SamsQualityGuitarRepair

Franklin Guitar Company Rocheport, MO

Virgil Guitars Tampa, FL

MJT Aged Guitar Finishes Carthage, MO

GEORGIA Baruke Guitars Gainesville, GA

MISSISSIPPI Crowley Custom Guitars Ocean Springs, MS Find us on Facebook

IDAHO Freer Hand Crafted Guitars Hailey, ID

MINNESOTA Tim Reede Custom Guitars Minneapolis, MN

Tonedevil Guitars Sandpoint, ID

NEW HAMPSHIRE King Blossom Guitars Grantham, NH

Worland Guitars Pasadena, CA COLORADO Alan Dunwell Guitars Nederland, CO Alien Guitar Factory Castle Rock, CO Find us on Facebook Castor Instruments Broomfield, CO Conery Guitars Boulder, CO Del Toro Guitars Denver, CO Guitar Repair Doc Franktown, CO

ILLINOIS Vibrance Guitars Danville, IL INDIANA RockRabbit Guitars Valparaiso, IN

MISSOURI DJP Guitars St Louis, MO Dogwood Guitars Grandview, MO Federated Music Guitar Repair Springfield, MO

NEW MEXICO Keith Coleman Luthier Albuquerque, NM Longbow Guitars Rio Rancho, NM

WASHINGTON Bright Guitars Bellingham, WA

Pheo Guitars Portland, OR

Stehr Guitars, LLC Spokane, WA

Steinegger Guitars Portland, OR PENNSYLVANIA Beardly Customs Washington, PA

Naugler Guitars Green Lane, PA RHODE ISLAND Holcomb Guitars Providence, RI TENNESSEE Hampton Guitars Memphis, TN Find us on Facebook

Delaney Guitars Austin, TX

J. Calkin Guitars Greenville, VA

OREGON Charles Fox Guitars Portland, OR

Bucks County Folk Music Shop New Britain, PA

TEXAS David Newton Guitars Beaumont, TX davidnewtonguitars

J. Thayer Guitars Bremerton, WA Stuart Keith Guitars Nine Mile Falls, WA Traphagen Guitars Bellingham, WA WEST VIRGINIA Agape Guitars Morgantown, WV WISCONSIN Petros Guitars Kaukauna, WI CANADA MacPherson Guitars Penticton, British Columbia

PROFESSIONAL LUTHIERS - You can be listed in both the online and print editions of our Professional Luthier Directory for just $15.00 a year. This offer includes an annual subscription to the magazine! For more info visit: 14

Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

April 2, 2017

April 8, 2017

Farmington, CT

San Louis Obispo, CA

Van Nuys, CA

April 22 - 23, 2017

April 29 - 30, 2017

April 22, 2017

April 22, 2017

Springfield, MO

Freeport, NY

Tacoma, WA

The number of Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine distribution partners continues to grow and we wish to thank the organizers for their help in getting the magazine into the hands of the guitar-playing public! Visit for the latest on many more guitar show events coming up! Spring 2017



Spring 2017

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier Magazine

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier 2017 Spring Issue  

On the cover, we're highlighting the "Nashville Universe 2016 Musician Of The Year", Shredder Pinstripe. In our featured "Meet the Luthier"...

Guitar Show & Custom Luthier 2017 Spring Issue  

On the cover, we're highlighting the "Nashville Universe 2016 Musician Of The Year", Shredder Pinstripe. In our featured "Meet the Luthier"...