- acoustic guitars
- electric guitars
As a teenager in central Illinois, Bill Hollenbeck was already a guitar aficionado. While other members of his family played piano, organ, and saxophone, Bill was busy adapting or embellishing his guitars. After attaining a Bachelors Degree in Industrial Arts, and a Masters Degree in Industry and Technology, Bill embarked on a career in education, teaching electronics to high school students for 25 years. However, he continued to work with the woods he loved, and in 1970 met a gentleman from Peoria, Illinois, who changed the focus of his life. Bill Barker, a well-known luthier from the mid-west, agreed to let Hollenbeck serve as an apprentice and learn the art of guitar construction. Bill drove to Barker's shop on weekends, and worked under Barker's tutelage for many years, assisting and building numerous guitars.
In 1990, Bill opted to leave the field of education, and devote himself full-time to guitar building, restoration, and repair. Bill specialized in archtop guitars, each archtop was customized for the player, with the neck and fret board sizes fitted to each buyer's hands. The head stocks had a unique scalloping for finger-relief when tuning the guitars. Bill was honored twice by the Smithsonian Institution: his Ebony-n-Blue guitar was in the Smithsonian's American History Museum as part of the Scott Chinery Blue Guitar Collection, on display in the fall of 1998.
Bill Hollenbeck carried on making and repairing guitars until his death in 2008 at the age of 74.