- electric guitars
- acoustic guitars
- bass guitars
There are three distinct periods in Valley Arts history: the original period, the Samick era and the Gibson era.
Original Valley Arts era
The Valley Arts brand began in a music shop run by Duke Miller. Miller was a guitar teacher, and when he went off to music teaching position at the University of Southern California, two of his students Mike McGuire and Al Carness bought the music store business. Around In 1973, they moved from the shop's original location on Laurel Canyon Blvd. to Ventura Blvd.
Although they specialised in teaching, McGuire also began learning how to repair guitars quickly building a good reputation. An important watershed in the Valley Arts story was when Larry Carlton ordered a refret of his old Gibson S.G.The Valley Arts did repairs for an impressive client list including Tommy Tedesco, Steve Lukather, Robben Ford, Mitch Holder, Mundell Lowe, Al Viola and Duane Eddy.
In 1977, McGuire built his first Valley Arts guitar from scratch. It was like a Fender Stratocaster, but had a quilted maple body and birdseye ebony fingerboard. He thinks Larry Carlton ended up with it. By 1983, demand for new Valley Arts guitars had grown to the point that McGuire opened a separate manufacturing facility on Vose St. south of Sherman Way in North Hollywood) that grew to employ 35 workers.
Although the Valley Arts name came to associated with custom guitars, the real money maker was the music store. When an arsonist burn the shop down in 1990, McGuire and Carness found they were underinsured. In order to keep Valley Arts going, they sold 50 percent of the company to the giant Samick Musical Instrument Company. The business relationship with Samick was not McGuire and Carness had hoped and the pair found themselves increaslingly marginalised, and by 1993 both had left the company.
More recently McGuire and Carness moved to Nashville to work for Gibson. Gibson acquired the brandname in 2002 and is currently selling guitars and basses using the Valley Arts brand.