- acoustic guitars
- electric guitars
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. He also taught luthiery at Davis and Elkins College, in West Virginia. By his own estimates he made nearly 1,000 solidbodies and at least 500 acoustics.
Source: G.L. Stiles Solidbody. Michael Wright. Vintage Guitar Magazine, September 2006.