It all started in in Jr. High School, Van Halen was "On Top of the World" and pointy guitars were all the rage. I had an early 80's USA BC Rich Mockingbird back then that played like a dream and was the envy of a few friends. I started "tech'ing" my friends guitars and in High School, I finally decided to make my own guitar. I bought a parts neck and routed a body in wood shop. I had a great teacher in wood shop, and a father of my friend Mitch (who is an expert woodworker - check out MLCS Woodworking for supplies - Mitch runs the company now) who showed me how to make templates and use the "scary" tools like a router (which actually isn't very scary). By the end of High School I had all the skills to build necks and make a pretty rockin' guitar.
After college, I moved out to Silicon Valley and worked as an engineer in high tech during the height of the dot com explosion. I earned a decent salary so I expanded my tool inventory and continued building on the side...mostly for fun. As you can imagine, the guitars started to pile up. Some of my friends would commission builds from time to time. After a bunch of friend builds, I got a call from a friend of a friend and I sold my first guitar to someone I didn't know in 2002...that was the birth of Sweetwood Guitars.
Today, the boutique lutherie industry is starting to blossom. There are more great builders than ever before (Roger Sadowsky, Nik Huber, Gene Baker, Frank Hartung and a host of others). Different designs and ideas are popping up, innovation is rampant and the quality of these instruments are outstanding. Players are embracing some of these new ideas and designs. It's easy to understand why. Major manufacturers are slave to the bottom line and simply can't afford to spend the time required to take instruments to the next level. They spec their lines, spray heavily and rarely do things the 'best way' possible.
At Sweetwood, a guitar starts with the careful selection of tonewood. For this we use only the best tone woods available, all from certified means of forestation. Lumber is matched for both appearance and resonance. They are then allowed to dry and settle naturally. Most major manufacturers kiln dry their wood. A twenty foot plank of mahogany will lose 18 inches in this process. In the kiln, the wood de-hydrates then water is re-introduced to a consistent level. Close to 96% of the water in the cells of the wood are evaporated. Its like taking a grape, turning it into a raisin, then trying to turn it into a grape again. This makes for a very stable piece of wood, but its soul is lost in the process.
As for the construction of all Sweetwood guitars, this is where my German heritage kicks in. I strive to make instruments to the highest standard in the industry: Super tight tolerances, neck pockets that practically don't need glue, very fast action, etc. I do things the right way to ensure the instruments I make out live me and are enjoyed for many years, not just by the original purchaser, but by their grandchildren as a family heirloom.
I am very committed to making the best possible instruments.