Meet the Luthiers
These are the builders and companies bringing their fine creations to the RMAGF in 2023.
Founded in 1968 by luthier Robert Benedetto, Benedetto Guitars, Inc. of Savannah, Georgia celebrates over 50 years of jazz guitar excellence.
The internationally renowned company builds some of the world’s most collectable and expensive instruments while still focusing their production on the needs of professional and aspiring jazz guitarists.
Roger Sadowsky is one of the most highly respected instrument makers in the world. His instruments are played by many of the world’s greatest artists including guitarists Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, Chuck Loeb and bass players Marcus Miller, Will Lee, Rickey Minor, Michael Rhodes, Verdine White and Jason Newsted
"LHT guitars are all a little piece of my soul. I build each one from start to finish by hand. From the hand drawn full scale blueprint at the beginning, to applying the finish, I obsess over every detail."
Philadelphia-based luthier Bill Comins began playing guitar at an early age, eventually going on to study jazz guitar at Temple University. His initial career as a working guitarist and private instructor led to a lifelong pursuit of exploring the intricacies of designing and building guitars with a special interest in archtop guitars.
The pinnacle of one-of-a-kind guitar creations personally built for the most discerning artist, dealer or patron. Each individual piece below is methodically constructed using raw materials from a curated stock of aged tone woods combined with thirty years of expertise. Working closely with my clients I'm able to deliver unique personal works of art that perform and sound; well, exceptional.
"There are moments during the mayhem where I just take a step back and look at my bench, the sawdust, the tools, the glue, the mess... and I swear... it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life.”
"The golden age of guitar making is now. The guitar, as we know it, is held at the dark constraints of factory mass production. Guitar makers, growing by the minute, strive to bring the guitar into new light. String instrument design reached perfection more than 300 years ago and it is here, where answers lie..."
For over 25 years, Tad has been working with music, art, wood, and guitars – personally handcrafting all aspects of each instrument from start to finish with the utmost attention to quality. Brown began building guitars in 1996 and has worked for several renowned Southern California guitar repair shops where he became known for his fine set-up and fretwork. Handcrafted using only the finest select woods and materials, Brown guitars are characterized by their exceptional acoustic responsiveness, inspiring a wide dynamic range of rich tonal resonance.
Beauregard guitars are 100% handcrafted in a small shop near Montréal, Québec, in the picturesque small town of St-Denis-sur-Richelieu. No CNC’s nor countless jigs are used in the creation of a Beauregard guitar. Through many years of honing his skills and developing acoustic comprehension, Mario Beauregard’s reputation was earned by producing the very highest quality acoustic instruments. Tone and playability are always his top priorities. Through many trips to the Canadian west coast and Europe, Mario has chosen the finest tone woods which he carefully processes and stores.
Gary Flowers Guitars are the result of luthier, Gary Flowers’ dedication to producing jazz and flattop guitars of the highest quality available, achieving a level of craftsmanship that is among the finest in the industry. Gary’s long experience as a player is evident in the great feel of his guitars. The fretwork and set-ups are truly exceptional, and our necks feature a non-compression type, adjustable truss rod, and a reinforced neck extension (at body). Using only hand-selected, aged, European Spruce and Maple for the bodies and Eastern Hard Maple for the necks, Flowers Guitars are hand carved to achieve an amazingly balanced and powerfully voiced instrument – even in his smaller bodied guitars.
"I build archtop Jazz guitars exclusively. Each instrument is hand-crafted here in my workshop. I use no prefabricated wooden parts, all parts are being made personally by me. I use only select woods that I choose myself from special suppliers. These woods are air-dried and stored for no less than five years. Only then do they posses the necessary quality that I demand in order to build my guitars."
All instruments made here at KSI are 100% handcrafted in our shop by Denny Kopp. That’s right. No Outsource. No Apprentice. Making a guitar is a one on one experience here where the Player’s needs are the only focus.
Tim Frick is amazing but he doesn't talk about himself on his website, so it'll have to remain a mystery until we have a chance to interview him, stay tuned!
J.W.Murphy Guitars specializes in producing custom archtop guitars using high quality materials, expert woodworking techniques, fine detail and precision.
I began building guitars in the late 1970s. Every instrument you will see on this site was hand crafted by me alone. I do not have any apprentices or assistants. I work closely with each of my customers to meticulously craft their dream instrument to their unique specifications. There are no set models and no standard plans, as such, the only limit to what can be produced is their imagination.
After 30 year long corporate career, I decided to return to my lifelong love of fine musical instruments and devote all my energy to building the finest possible tools for guitar players - archtop guitars.
Ryan Thorell is a highly skilled guitar maker renowned for his exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs. With years of experience and a passion for creating guitars that sound and feel great, Ryan is dedicated to producing instruments of the highest quality. He draws inspiration from classic guitar designs, but also incorporates contemporary elements to create unique, modern instruments that are both visually stunning and highly playable.
"Playing and building guitars has been my life and my passion for over 45 years. From the first guitar I built in 1978, and now hundreds of guitars later, I build each guitar as if it were my own. The archtop guitar is a work of art in my eyes, and is my favorite guitar to build and design. I am president and owner of American Archtop Guitars. All my instruments are built in Nazareth, Pa. USA"
Sherwood Phifer, master luthier and craftsman, has been building, repairing and restoring electric and acoustic guitars for more than forty years. Starting as an apprentice at Guitar Lab, NYC in 1971, he obtained the fundamental skills. He soon became the primary repairman in the shop, and began to develop his own designs and concepts. In 1976, Sherwood opened his own shop on 48th street, Manhattan, NY. Today Phifer continues to perfect his life passion of design and building. Some of the notable artists using Phifer Guitars are George Benson, Ronnie Jordan, and Richie Hart.
From a very young age I have had a desire to work with my hands. At 14, I combined my love of music and my passion for woodworking to build my first guitar. Since then, I have strived to make great guitars. I have been working to master my skills as a woodworker and craftsman in my 30+ years woodworking career. During this time I still continued to make and repair guitars. Now, my focus is on building beautiful, playable and versatile great sounding guitars that I am proud to put my name on.
Stephen Marchione started building instruments in 1990 after graduating from Naropa University with an B.A in Music. He completed his graduate education at Cooper Union where he studied Spanish Culture and later finished an SBA Business Program at Baruch College in Manhattan. In his early 20’s Stephen learned the basics of electric guitar building under the direction of world renowned guitar builder John Suhr. Stephen also studied privately with Manhattan-based violin makers Guy Rabut and Charles Rufino. In 1993, Stephen opened his first shop in New York City where he earned a reputation of Master Luthier. In 2001, Stephen moved back to his hometown of Houston where he built a studio exclusively to make guitars in.
D’Arcy Guitars was founded by accident when tough times called for a shift in lifestyle. At the beginning of 2020 when the world largely shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and my career as an art historian was put on temporary hiatus, I turned back to my first love: carpentry. My twin brother, acclaimed Canadian jazz musician David Blake, asked me around that time if I would build him an archtop guitar, and together, the two of us designed the Figure Zero, what is now my flagship model.
At Eastman, each instrument is given the attention to detail required to ensure that it reaches its maximum potential. Features such as hand-scalloped bracing and precision tap tuning are just two examples of the way we differentiate ourselves. Considering the outward beauty of an Eastman Guitar, it’s often easy to overlook the skill and artistry applied to the inside of such a fine instrument.
"Focused on providing professional Lutherie services, my goal is to make unique pieces that vibrate by innovating in a world where multiple factors can affect the conception of a musical instrument. I always aim to build instruments that are very responsive, easy and fun to play, making it easier for you to free your inspirations!’’
A shop in Manhattan making archtop and flattop guitars, including custom guitars, inlay work, repair
Chris began his foray into the world of luthiery in high school when he built his first solid body electric guitar in his mother's kitchen. Upon graduating he began working at the Hubbard Cabinetmakers learning traditional joinery and cabinetmaking techniques. In 2010, he began his own furniture shop and over the following decade produced heirloom quality furniture reproductions and honed his skills as a woodworker and craftsman. Furniture making was certainly rewarding but there always remained an itch for lutheiry so after almost 15 years as a professional woodworker, Chris' return to luthiery feels like the culmination of all those developed skills and a chance to express his artistic voice through his work.
We have a few tables left, if you are interested in exhibiting your work please email email@example.com for more details.
Come see them in person!
You can meet the builders, play and compare the guitars and see some incredible live music all at the Rocky Mountain Archtop Guitar Festival in Arvada, CO September 8th - 10th 2023.