Sand Guitars

Kirk Sand grew up in Springfield, Illinois. As a teen, Kirk played in local garage band and worked in Ralph Sordyl's House of Music and after graduating from High School in 1971 he left  for college in California where he studied guitar. Sand's first job after leaving Springfield was at the Fender Guitar factory in California in 1972. After Fender, he went to work at The Guitar Shop in Laguna Beach. He eventually bought the shop and has never moved away from Laguna Beach.


Kopo is the brand name of French luthier Frédéric Pons. Pons apprenticed with violin maker Christian Boyer from 1981 to 1982, and then studied for a diploma in guitar making at the London College of Furniture from 1982 to 1985. He established the Kopo workshop in 1988 in Rue Descarte, Rennes. Since that time, hundreds of instruments have come out of this workshop. Kopo always seeks to effectively combine design, sound, and comfort through his use of woods, metals, and composites to create guitars that are both great sounding and ergonomic.

Fab Guitars

Fabian Schweiger runs Fab Guitars in Oostende, Belgium. Fab Guitars is a one-man artisan guitar building workshop. Schweiger graduated from the International Lutherie School in Antwerp in 1993 and has been making guitars ever since. His main focus is hand building top quality electric and semi acoustic guitars but he also offers a complete range of servicing, customizing and repair for guitars and other fretted instruments.

Souce: Fab Guitars website (25 February 2017)


Chris Swope became interested in guitar building path in 1986, while in college in Lawrence, Kansas his house backed onto a music shop owned by Jim Baggett, (Antiques Roadshow, Heritage Auctions). Swope hung out in the shop and learned about guitar repair. Eventually Baggett encouraged him to go to New York, introducing him to NY guitar makers including Roger Sadowsky.


Doug Kauer was working in his family's wood working business when around 2003 a piece of figured maple came into the workshop. Kauer decided to have go a making a guitar out of this piece of wood, setting in motion a series of fortuitious events that culminated in the formation of the Kauer Guitars company. Kauer is a boutique maker of high end solid body electrics, notable for their use of cedar or ambrosia maple for the bodies. Kauer also make Titan branded guitars in partnership with Grover Jackson which are more affordable boutique instruments.

Rock N Roll Relics

Rock N Roll Relics is owned and operated by Billy Rowe. Rowe grew up in San Francisco before moving to Los Angeles to play rhythm and slide guitar in Jetboy, part of the Hollywood music scene that spawned Guns N’Roses and Poison. During his many years as a touring musician and tech, Billy Rowe had stripped down and rebuilt countless guitars. Based on this experience Billy launched Rock N Roll Relics in 2005, as a hand-built custom guitar company. He started out in a garage building guitars with a relic-ed vintage look.


Fano brand guitars are designed by Dennis Fano. Some Fano models were made by master builder Gene Baker and his team at the Premier Builders' Guild workshop in Arroyo Grande between 2009 and 2015, California. Fano's custom made Alt de Facto range are inspired by the great American guitars of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and they come with a tasetfully aged finish.

Source: Fano Guitars website (25 February 2017)


Guitar designer and builder Joe Knaggs founded Knaggs Guitars in 2009, in collaboration with marketing expert Peter Wolf. Both Wolf and Knaggs had many years of experience in the guitar manufacturing industry. The company's first guitar was shipped in March 2010, by 2011 they were making up 20 guitars a month and by 2016 this had become around 40 per month. Knaggs offer a range of high end acoustic, electric and bass guitars named after American Indian rivers.


Tom Anderson Drop Top electric guitar

The Tom Anderson Guitarworks Drop Top was introduced in 1990 and was a landmark instrument for Anderson. Up until 1990 they had been making parts for other brands (like Suhr) but from 1990 they began to focus solely on building completed instruments.

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John Suhr founded JS Technologies Inc in 1997. Suhr started out doing repairs at Rudy's Music in New York. His first Suhr Custom guitar was made in 1984, before he teamed up with Rudy Pensa to make guitars under the Pensa-Suhr brandname. In the early 1990s John Suhr moved from New York to Los Angeles and from 1995 to 1997 worked as Senior Master Builder at the Fender Custom Shop. In 1997 Suhr joined forces with Steve Smith to form JS Technologies - a small factory building custom guitars to order. Suhr now offers a range of electric guitars and basses as well as amplifiers and effects.

Music Box

Music Box is a collaboration between UK luthier Phil Davidson and distributor Hobgoblin Music. Music Box offers a range of imported instruments made in a small instrument factory in Saigon, Vietnam including Celtic Mandolins, Tenor Guitar; Soprano, Tenor and Baritone Ukuleles. Octave Mandola in Standard and Deluxe and Bouzouki Standard and Electro.

Source: Music Box website (23 February 2017)



Gil Yaron was born in Israel in 1966 and has many years experience of modifying and repairing guitars. In the 1990s he moved to Los Angeles where he became involved in the vintage guitar market as an expert vintage guitar repairer. Soon the repair jobs developed into partial builds and restoration work. He had been building guitars and basses for some years before deciding to investigate the manufacturing processes used for the iconic 1950s American electric guitars. He amassed all the information, photos, instruments and original paper work needed to accurately reproduce those classics.


Charles Whitfill grew up in rural Kentucky and worked as a machinist on leaving school. He worked his way up from the shop floor eventually becoming a manager in the company. His next job was overseeing production of wooden wine barrels before he finally put his precision machining and wood working experience to use as a custom guitar maker. Whitfill guitars, typically tele or strat style electrics, have steadily grown in popularity and have been used by Jack Pearson, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland and Vince Gill.


Valery Vaschenko has been making guitars for over 20 years in his workshop outside of Novopolotsk, Belarus. Vaschenko started out in engineering during the Soviet era, but was also a guitar player from childhood. While working at a Soviet space vehicle plant, he would also do stringed instrument repairs for friends. This sideline developed into a full time job and soon he was making guitars as well. Vaschenko's electric guitars are inspired by the tradition of the classic 1950s designs.


Ryan Thorell has been making guitars since the age of 13. Ryan studied guitar making with Tom Ribbecke and also apprenticed under Chris Gouchnour, Joel Nowland and Tim D. Gonzalez respectively. Ryan also found success as a jazz guitarist and guitar teacher, which helps inform his guitar designs. Ryan is a strong believer in the use of hand tools to build an intuitive relationship with each guitar that he creates. Thorell offers archtops, flat-top acoustics and classical guitars.

Source: Thorell Guitars website (22 February 2017)


Mikaël Springer produces hand made electric guitars in his workshop in Valmont, France. Springer's designs are meant to be customised and he strongly believes in the importance of the dialogue between player and maker to adapt each instrument to the player's needs and taste. Springer offers various tonewoods, hardware components, pickups, controls layout, and color options because the best guitar in the world is the one that has been made for you.
Source: Springer Guitars website (22 February 2017)

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