Hilo was an Oscar Schmidt brand name used for Hawaiian lap steel guitars in the 1920s and 1930s. Most had a Weissenborn style hollow neck and were made from Koa. They were labelled "HILO Hawaiian Steel Guitar" with a picture of a smoking volcano and a surfer surrounded by palm trees. Currently the Hilo brand name is used for Chinese made ukuleles.
Jeroen Hilhorst is a graduate in Dutch linguistics and literature who specialized in computational linguistics and worked in the software industry. At the same time he was often making things in his father's carpentry workshop. In 1989 he combined his scientific background with his wood working skills and started designing and making classical guitars. Starting slowly he made around 2 guitars per year but now makes around 6. Hilhorst's guitars often employ innovative features to increase sound projection such as internal centre braces, double tops and reinforced graphite necks. He also offers an unusual oval classical guitar, a contrabass concert guitar, a soprano concert guitar and a concert charango.
Momose Custom Craft Guitars is a Deviser brand name used for high quality hand made electric guitars and basses. Momose Custom Craft Guitars are handmade by a small team of craftsmen trained and overseen by Yoshio Momose, one of Japan's top guitar makers. Yoshio Momose launched the Headway brand back in 1977 as a high-end acoustic brand for the Japanese domestic market. He also invented various jigs for guitar making and has been engaged in OEM production for various high-end guitar makers in Japan for many years. Momose guitars are made at the Asuka factory in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture.
Harshbarger Strings was established in 2016 by Jason Harshbarger (Harshbarger previously operated as Highland Strings). His interest in guitar making started in 1995 when he met local guitar builder Jamonn Zeiler and went on to apprentice with him in 1996. The next year he graduated from the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in the Spring of 1997 class. In 2005 he built a couple of instruments under the name Harshbarger Luthiery. He operated as Highland Strings from 2006 to 2016 before changing the company name to Harshbarger Strings.
Bootleg Guitars was founded by Jon Hill. Jon has over 25 years of building custom guitars and basses as the founder of Hill Custom Guitars and a former head of the Dean USA Custom Shop. Bootleg guitars and basses are handmade in Cleveland.
Hi Spot was a budget brand of acoustic and classical guitars distributed by Rosetti in the UK from the 1950s until the 1970s. Made by Egmond and possibly also Tatra. Hi Spot guitars were typically 3/4 sized and classical shaped but came with either nylon or steel strings.
GJ Guitars is run by Graeme who has been making electric guitars since 1980. Since then he has experimented with different woods and styles and has even started winding his own custom pickups. GJ endorsees include Baz Warne from The Stranglers, who uses a GJ custom designed neck and bridge pickup in his stage Telecasters.
Kasuga was one of the oldest Japanese guitar makers - established in 1935 in Nagoya by Kazuyuki Kasuga. By the 1960s the Kasuga factory was making acoustic and electric guitars as well as mandolins and banjos. Kasuga exported instruments under the Kasuga brand name in the 1960s and 1970s but usually the instruments they made were badged as other brands. Kasuga made their own RK Herby and Heerby brand guitars and also OEM instruments for other companies. By the 1980s Kasuga was completely an OEM brand manufacturer making instruments for ESP, Burny, Headway, Saga and Yamaha. The movement of OEM guitar production to Taiwan in the 1990s led to a sharp downturn in business but Kasuga carried on for a while producing violins and bouzoukis. In 1996 production finally stopped at Kasuga's Nagoya factory.
Haynes amplifiers were made by the Amplifier Corporation of America (ACA) a company established in 1936 and specialising in broadcast and amplification systems. The amplifiers were designed by Nathan M. Haynes - who held various patents related to amplification and recording circuits. Unicord bought ACA and the Haynes brand in the early 1960s. By 1966 there were two Haynes amplifier models: the Jazz King and the Bass King. Both were solid state combo amplifiers.
Headway Guitars was established in the 1977 in Matsomuto, Japan a region known for woodworking and luthierie. A fire in 1983 stopped production. In 1999 production of Headway acoustics resumed in Japan with some Chinese made models also introduced in 2000. Initially Headway concentrated on supplying the Japanese retail market, but In 2008 began marketing acoustic instruments to the United States and Europe.
The Yamaha Pacifica 402S was the single cutaway version of the popular Pacifica series. The body was alder but had what Yamaha called a high definition finish top which looks like figured maple - whether this is a veneer or photoflame I'm not sure.
Highline Guitars is owned and operated by Chris Monck in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Chris has been building and selling custom electric guitars and pickups since 2003. In 2015 he added a CNC machine to his workshop - by combining this technology with old school hand building techniques, he can offer boutique electric guitars at affordable prices.
I bought one of these BACK IN THE 90's. I saved a year to buy it. I was a great guitar for the price back in the day. I still own it. The only guitar I have that is over 5 years old. It sounds great stock and I will never part with it.
Peter Harlan (1898-1966) trained as a guitar maker in Markneukirchen in eastern Germany and set up a workshop with his father in 1920. He also played in an early music quintet in venues across Germany. Through his interests in historical music and instrument manufacture Harlan became instrumental in the reintroduction of the recorder as a popular instrument (although he did not make these himself). After the second world war, Peter Harlan moved from Saxony, transferring his personal collection of musical instruments to Sternberg castle near Dörentrup in North Rhine-Westphalia. Harlan expanded the collection continuously and resumed instrument building. Harlan constructed various historical stringed instruments including viola da gamba and lutes and also offered courses on early music and instrument making.
AC Guitars is a one-man workshop run by Alan Cringean in Moffat, Scotland. AC Guitars started in 2006 and produces a line of high quality electric basses. Cringean also makes electric guitars under the Reiver brand name.
The Nightingale Guitar Company was founded by brothers Isaiah and Charles Nightingale in Evansville, Indiana. In 1893 Isaiah had patented an additional supplemental interior soundboard with a tubular soundhole for guitars, mandolins and zithers. According to Isaiah this gave the instrument a much stronger and sweeter tone. Charles also held a patent on a design for a lyre shaped Mandolin scratchplate. According to the Evansville City Directory, Charles was working as a guitar builder and salesman for the Harding & Miller Music Company, 404 Main Street, Evansville and this is where the Nightingale Company began in 1900. In 1902, however, the Nightingale company was relocated to 208 Upper Third Street (possibly due to a fire on the Main Street premises).
Hallmark was established in 1966 by Joe Hall, an ex-employee of Mosrite. Hall was joined by fellow Mosrite luthier Bill Gruggett and together they launched the Hallmark Swept-Wing guitar - with a modern looking arrow head shaped body based on a sketch by Bob Bogle of the Ventures. The company was not successful, however, and went bankrupt in 1968. The Hallmark brand was revived in the late 1990s by luthier Bob Shade. Shade had an interest in the early Hallmarks and had befriended both Hall and Grugett who both became involved in the new Hallmark company. Hallmark now produces the original 1960s designs like the Swept-Wing and Stradette as well as newer designs.
Brothers Greg & Chris Williams (from the Haida Gwaii Islands in British Columbia) went to work at the Larrivee factory in Vancouver in 1998. They hung around with fellow luthiers Mark Vantaa and Robert Bustos and came up the idea to make guitars from a legendary tree on Haida Gwaii (known as the Golden Spruce to the native Haida people) illegally felled in 1997 by an activist. This tree had a unique genetic mutation which gave it golden colored needles. Although they secured the agreement of most of the Haida council it was decided to leave the tree where it lay so it could return to the earth. Despite this set-back the group persevered with building acoustic guitars incorporating native Haida art - eventually making around 70 in total. The Williams brothers left around 2002 and Vanataa and Bustos carried on as Paragon guitars.
Stefan Hahl started learning to make instruments in 1988 at the workshop of master luthier Herman Doderer. He made his first own designed archtop a year later. His apprenticeship included time at Höfner, Hanika and Hopf and by 1994 he had received his diploma from the renowned Violin and Stringed Instrument Making Academy in Mittenwald. Since then Hahl has devoted himself to making high quality classical, dreadnought, archtop and gipsy style guitars in his workshop in Mudershausen, Germany.