Johannes "Joe" Striebel is a German luthier who apprenticed as a guitar maker at the Munich guitar workshop of Steven's Custom Guitars. Striebel received a national award from the Chamber of Crafts for his guitar making and passed his master's examination with distinction. He now runs his own workshop in Wolfratshausen where he makes acoustic and electric guitars.

Source: Joe Striebel website (25 November 2020)


The Stratosphere Guitar Manufacturing Company was founded by Russell Deaver and his brother Claude, in Springfield, Missouri, They manufactured nearly 200 instruments — marketed primarily to country musicians — during the short-lived venture in the 1950s. The Deaver brothers opened a guitar-making factory in the 300 block of Boonville Avenue, in a spot that is now vacant. They offered single-neck six-string and 12-string models as well as the double-neck "Twin" electric guitar. Their most popular guitar was the Stratosphere Twin double-neck, which sold for about $300, and was made famous by Jimmy Bryant. Bryant and Speedy West even recorded a song “Stratosphere Boogie.” The guitars emerged on the local scene during the heyday of “The Ozark Jubilee,” a groundbreaking weekly live television show filmed in Springfield that featured top country performers such as Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, Merle Travis, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.


Strand acousitc guitars are made in Jørpeland, Norway by Odd Blikra Egeland and Ørjan Bråtveit Berge. They both enrolled in Norwegian Academy of Instrument Making in Østfold in 2001. The teaching followed the German curriculum with luthiers from Markneukirchen in Germany teaching the craft of classical guitar making. The school closed before the two could complete their final year, but they both travelled to the USA to gain experience with Daniel Roberts (ex production manager at Santa Cruz). On their return to Norway in 2005 they launched Strand - as a high end acoustic brand.

Source: Strand Guitars website (20 November 2020)


Gilbert Lee Stiles (1914 - 1994) was born in Independence, West Virginia. Stiles worked in trades associated with timber, ranging from logging to turning millwork. By the late 1950s he’d relocated to Miami. It wasn't until 1960 that he made his first solidbody guitar. His guitar playing friends were impressed so Stiles opened his own guitarmaking workshop in Miami. To begin with Stiles made Strat-style solidbodies. He made most of his own parts, including a lot of the hardware and wound his own DeArmond style pickups. His early instruments featured scrolled headstock and horns, and his early necks were reinforced with non-adjustable rolled steel. He went on to build acoustic guitars as well. On his acoustic flat-tops he increased the tension on the top by arching the backs to the breaking point. He often used Brazilian rosewood for the bodies and spruce for the tops. By the early 1990s Stiles output was slowing down & he concentrated mainly on repair work.

DW Stevens

Dennis “Denny” Wayne Stevens was born in Walla Walla, Washington in 1943. After he graduated from high school, he was employed at Sundstrand Aviation and  became a manager in Production Control. He worked there for nearly ten years. He had been making guitars in his own time since the age of 16 but in 1970 he left Sundstrand to pursue a guitar making career. In total there are 198 “D W Stevens” instruments. He made 130 flat tops (6 standard models and 2 experimental tulip designs) 33 arch tops (3 models and 4 styles), 15 classical, 10 mandolins (2 reverse curls), 1 acoustic bass, 1 tenor ukulele, 1 tenor guitar, 2 electric guitars, 2 lutes, 2 guitjos and 1 banjo. In 2009 he was diagnosed with ALS and sadly died only 7 months later. Denny was a versatile builder and each instrument is a masterpiece.

Source: DW Stevens website (19 November 2020)


Anygig was established in 2015 as a travel guitar brand. Anygig instruments use full size hardware and have a full size scale length. The body of each Anygig is made with solid maple and they have the option of a maple or rosewood fingerboard. Also available in bass and nylon string versions.

Source: Anygig website (17 November 2020)


Ibanez SR885 electric bass guitar

Production of the Ibanez SR885 began in 1987 and ended in 2003. It was the 5-string version of the SR800. This bass had two jazz bass style active pickups: Ibanez LO-J5  or Ibanez ADX. The bridge was a  Gotoh 5-string bridge or AccuCast B25 bridge. These typically finished in black or metallic blue, but early models also had red, laser blue or royal blue finish options.

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The Starfield brand was created by Hoshino Industries, the parent company of Ibanez guitars. The brand was first used for Gibson Les Paul copies in the 1970s to early 1980s.

Then in the late 1980s the brand was used for some higher end guitars. Both Ibanez and Starfield guitars were made in the same factories in Japan, some models were finished in the Ibanez custom facility in California. There were two basic models: the twin cutaway Altair and the single cutaway Cabriolet series.

The brand was not a commercial success and was withdrawn in 1994.


Splendor guitars and amplifiers were made in the 1960s and 1970s by Hitachi Musical Instrument Manufacturing Company - according to details stamped on the neck plates & on the back of the amplifiers.

S.S. Maxwell

The S.S. Maxwell brand was owned by the Targ & Dinner Music Company of Chicago and lasted from the early 1930s to the late 1940s. S.S. Maxwell instruments were made by Regal and Harmony - who built standard flat-top acoustics & ukuleles, but Kay also made S.S. Maxwell acoustic guitars with f-holes and resonator guitars.

Source: Guitar Stories: The Histories of Cool Guitars. Michael Wright. Hal Leonard Corporation, 1 Jan 2000

Jack Spira

Jack Spira is a guitar maker who trained in England in the late 1980s and has been working in Australia since 1991. He makes steel string acoustic guitars and related instruments, such as Irish bouzouki, baritone guitar and tenor guitar.

Source: Jack Spira website (28 October 2020)


Established in 1927 the Japanese Kawai company was best known for its pianos and keyboards. Kawai began making guitars in the 1950s and around 1967 aquired Teisco.


BLUDOTONE is a small guitar amplifier company based in Littleton, Colorado. Each amplifier is built by hand by one person start to finish. Bludotone will telephone each customer before building the amplifier to ask about your style, guitars, choice of speakers and your ideal tone. Famous Bludotone users include Larry Carlton.

Source: Bludotone website (27 October 2020)


Bensonite Products make custom guitar parts in the USA. Their range includes extra thick neck plates, bridge plates and saddles.

Source: Bensonite Products on


Washburn KC44

The Washburn KC44 was a Chicago Series superstrat electric guitar, similar to the KC40 but with HSH pickup configuration and 22 frets. The KC44 had an alder body with an arched top and back (a little like the Ibanez S-Series) with deeply scalloped cutaways. It came with a Washburn 600S Pro Floyd Rose tremolo. It came with a speckled rain finish in black or white or a natural finish.

Source: Washburn catalog 1990

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Laurent Letourneau has been making guitars and basses since the 1990s. Lutherie Letourneau is located in Boussy-Saint-Antoine near Paris.

Michael Lazar

Michael Lazar began making classical guitars in 1980 using Irving Sloane's book "Classic Guitar Construction". Leo Brouwer tried on of his early instruments, gave some constructive criticism and encouraged him to keep building. Over the next 20 years Lazar made around 30 more instruments - while also working full time as a banker. He retired from banking in 2000 and was able to put more energy in his guitar making. In 2001 he attended a master class in luthiery led by Gregory Byers and incorporated the new methods he learned into his own instruments. From 2004 onwards Lazar has been systematically researching new innovations in classical guitar design such as elevated fret boards, lattice and other top bracing designs, double tops, acoustic ports and non traditional bridge designs and numerous other modern approaches.

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