Stradi (Symphony Guitar Design)

Stradi is the brand name of Marek & Agnieszka Dąbek. Marek is Polish luthier, photographer and designer who founded the Stradi brand in 2002 to develop a range of electric upright basses, electric violins and bass guitars. Every instrument is hand made by Marek and Agnieszka and they build fewer than 20 instruments per year. The Dąbek's company is called Symphony Guitar Design.

Source: Stradi website (7 June 2019)


Egon Rauscher has been hand-building electric guitars since the late 1990s under the brand name Soultool. Soultool is based in Buttikon, Switzerland. Initially Rauscher offered two models based on the Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster, but circa 2019 Soultool's designs are original, beautifully made using certified hardwoods and the best hardware and electronics.

Source: Soultool Customized Guitars website (7 June 2019)


Skytop guitars and ukuleles are hand made in New Paltz, New York by Eric Weigeshoff. Skytop guitars do not have a traditional sound hole, instead they have a soundport in the side which directs the sound up towards the player, while still maintaining good forward projection.

Source: Skytop Guitars website (6 June 2019)


Avishay (Avi) Shabat graduated from the Algranati Guitar Making School in Israel before moving to Los Angeles to apprentice for guitar repair shops and work for a boutique guitar company. Avi spent the next four years building handmade instruments, and founded a company of his own, Guitar Groomer, where he restored and repaired guitars and basses from his home workshop. In 2012, Avi expanded his repair business and began designing and building his own instruments, launching a new line of handmade electric guitars and basses—Shabat Guitars.

Source: Shabat Guitars website (6 June 2019)


Luthier Michael Sankey of Sankey Guitars has been making and repairing guitars since the mid 1990s. He initially specialised in archtops but now also makes outstanding and original custom electric guitars.

Source: Sankey Guitars website (5 June 2019)

Scott Walker

Scott Walker studied at the Roberto Venn school of lutherie before working at the Santa Cruz Guitar Company alongside luthier Richard Hoover, where he hand carved necks. Custom neck carving became his specialty but he took on other responsibilities as the Shop Foreman including: guitar finishing with Nitrocellulose, wood management and tool maintenance.  During this time he began developing a new electric guitar design and five years later in 2005 he opened his own workshop and offered his guitars to the public. Walker makes electric guitars, lap steel guitars and a 5-string electric mandolin model.

Source: Scott Walker Guitars website (5 June 2019)


Bird Amplifiers were made from the late 1950s until the mid 1960s by Sydney S. Bird and Sons of Poole, Dorset. Sydney Bird's company started out in the 1930s in Enfield making toys and electronics. They relocated to a larger factory Poole in 1953 and diversified into other products including electronic organs and in the late 1950s they added guitar amplifiers to their product line. The company stopped making amplifiers by 1966 in the face of strong competition from other British amplifier companies of the era.

This brand is not related to "Bird Brothers" amplifiers - these amplifiers were distributed in the 1970s and 1980s by brothers Peter and Arthur Bird who operated some music shops around Manchester, UK.

Source: Tim Fletcher and Steve Russell (4 June 2019)


Hamstead Soundworks was founded by Peter Hamstead an electronics engineer with a design and development background in avionics and radar. Peter Hamstead got started in music electronics when Jim Bird asked him to replicate an old guitar amplifier. In trying to replicate it, Peter saw how he could improve it. This led to a line of Hamstead tube amplifiers and effects pedals.

Source: Hamstead Soundworks website (4 June 2019)


Roland G-808, electric guitar synth controller

ROLAND manufactured the G-808 between 1980 and 1984. It was designed as a controller for the Roland GR-300 guitar synthesizer and was the top of the guitar synth controller range offered by Roland.

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Juha Ruokangas opened his first guitar making workshop in 1995 in Finland. In 1997 he launched the first Ruokangas standard model - the Duke. He has since been joined by a small team of luthiers and the range of designs now includes the Mojo, VSOP, Unicorn, Duke, Aeon and Hellcat guitars as well as the Steam bass.

Source: Ruokangas website (27 May 2019)

Red Layer

Red Layer Guitars are made in Amsterdam by Jort Heijen. He founded his own guitar making workshop in 2015 after studying woodworking for 4 years while also attending internships at Adamovic Basses in Haarlem. His main model is an 8-string guitar inspired by an 8-string bass he helped build at Adamovic for Meshuggah bassist Dick Lövgren

Source: Red Layer Guitars website (27 May 2019)


Poljakoff acoustic guitars are handmade in Berlin by Jakob Poljakoff. Poljakoff trained at the International School of Guitarmaking at Newark Sherwood College in England under James Lister, Adrian Lucas and Malachy Brady. He opened his own workshop in 2011 where he is assisted by his brother Alexander in making classical, crossover and steel stringed acoustic guitars.

Source: Poljakoff Guitars website (27 May 2019)


Padalka guitars and basses are made by Simon Padalka in his one-man workshop in Krasnodar, Russia. The basic Padalka styles are: Superstrats, Headless Guitars, Ennea Bass, Headless Basses, Sun and Sun Bass but customers can choose from a range of headstock styles, woods , cavity covers and set-net or neck bolts.

Source: Padalka Guitars website (27 May 2019)


Gunnar Örn Sigurdsson has been making guitars since 2000. Based in Reykjavik, Iceland Gunnar makes custom electric guitars drawing on inspiration from Icelandic nature and heritage. Some of his models are dipped in hot springs which gives them a unique colour and texture

Source: Örn Custom Guitars website (21 May 2019)


OJ Guitars is the brand of Swiss luthier Oliver Jaggi. Currently based in California he makes unique acoustic basses and guitars, one at at a time. 

Source: OJ Guitars website (21 May 2019)

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