The “Lutherie Lightbulb” came on for Maegen Wells in 2005, when her two passions of wood working and guitars merged into one, revealing her purpose in life. After graduating from the Galloup School of Lutherie in 2007, she worked in a variety of shops from repair, to electric guitar manufacturing, to flattop building. Ultimately, she found her one and true mentor in master archtop guitar builder Tom Ribbecke, and spent five years as his apprentice. During this time, in 2011 she built her one lady shop in the middle of the Redwoods and started building her own line of guitars and mandolins. In 2017, a new layer of the onion was pealed back when Maegen started working in the wood shop at Luthier’s Mercantile International. Working along side the shop’s foreman of 25 years, Maegen was swallowed by the black hole of wood as she fell in love with the industry of processing and caring for such precious materials. After a decade and a half of studying this crazy craft, today Maegen is officially a full-time Luthier, building small body archtop guitars and carved top mandolins, with her dog Lutherie. As a life long musician and wood worker, she lives to work with the materials that have stolen her heart, and to unlock the music that is living inside of others. She is nothing without her glue.
Ian Davlin started his adventures in lutherie in 1993 by completing a two-year apprenticeship with Ken Cartwright of Salem, Oregon. His subsequent career has taken him to various work environments such as Grunh Guitars, Breedlove Guitar Company and Lark Street Music. Ian has taught classes on guitar finish repair with Dan Erlewine and has pioneered new techniques for removing guitar necks without steam. Currently he is an independent guitar repairman based out of Ridgefield Park, NJ. A portfolio of his work can be seen at www.iandavlin.com. He is also on Instagram as @ianhatesguitars and has a YouTube channel of the same name.
Born in Úbeda - Spain, belongs to the new generation of Spanish luthiers. With extensive backgrounds and formal education on Engineering, Computer Design, Acoustics and Music, Paco develops his career as a luthier balancing traditional Spanish lutherie and new technology applications on the guitar making area. His strong knowledge of the flamenco culture and wide formation in classical music, combined with his open-minded nature and deep technical knowledge foundations, has set him as one of the most promising, next-generation luthiers in Spain.
Trevor Gore from Sydney, Australia is a builder of fine steel string and classical guitars. Having learnt the trade building traditional guitars in traditional ways, he figured that much of the myth and legend surrounding the building of great guitars just didn’t make sense. As a trained engineer and researcher in previous lives, he decided to completely reengineer the way his guitars would be designed and built, using proven engineering techniques and discarding anything that didn’t have a rational reason to be incorporated into the design. His guitars still look like guitars, but they are different in almost every way. They are significantly louder and play much more in tune over the fretboard than the vast majority of guitars you’ll find in a high street store, and that’s just the beginning.
Trevor published his innovative techniques in a two volume book set “Contemporary Acoustic Guitar Design and Build” in 2011 and regularly teaches his design principles to both novice and world renowned luthiers on three continents.
Michael Bashkin has been making and repairing guitars for over 25 years in Fort Collins, Colorado. Michael has been a featured presenter at the Guild of American Luthiers convention, published articles in American Lutherie, and been invited to exhibit at guitar shows worldwide. Michael came to lutherie after working as a Soil Scientist for the US Forest Service and studying forest ecosystems in the tropics, mountain west and the Arctic. Michael's acoustic guitars emphasize the natural beauty of wood with art nouveau and art deco inlays. His guitars are sold and collected worldwide, and he is also the host of the popular Luthier on Luthier podcast for the Fretboard Journal Magazine.
Drew Boyd, a 30-year industry veteran, brings a wealth of experience and success to his work in innovation. He served as a marketing executive for 17 years at Johnson & Johnson, one of the most admired and innovative companies in the world. As director of Marketing Mastery at J&J, he created and led an internal marketing university that taught executives the skills of innovation, strategy and persuasion. Today, Drew trains, consults, and speaks widely in the fields of innovation, persuasion, and social media. He is an associate professor of Marketing and Innovation at the University of Cincinnati and is working in conjunction with university administration on advancing Systematic Inventive Thinking across the university campus. His work has been featured in numerous business publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Industry Week, Psychology Today, and Strategy Business. Drew hosts the podcast "Innovation Inside the Box. He is also the co-author of the “Inside the Box: A Proven System for Creativity and Breakthrough Results" and the author of "So You Want to Be a Professor: How to Land Your Dream Job in Academia " and "Adding Prestige to Your Portfolio: How to Use the Creative Luxury Process to Develop Products Everyone Wants." You can listen to Drew each week on his podcast Innovation Inside the Box, wherever you find your podcasts.
Chris Herrod has been the Sales Manager at Luthiers Mercantile since 1997. Aside from assisting numerous customers over the years, Chris has interfaced with the lutherie community in a variety of ways. For 13 years he was the director of the Healdsburg Guitar Festival and has advised others who have presented similar events. He's appeared at gatherings for the Guild of American Luthiers, The Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans, The Northwood's Seminar and elsewhere where he has spoken about tonewoods, sound, lutherie trends, and import-export issues. When he's not busy helping luthiers create remarkable instruments, he spends time playing guitar and performing, cooking, hiking, running, participating in local politics and spending time with his family.
Jeff has over 35 years in the musical industry as both a builder and colorants supplier to the industry. With a strong background in Science and Studio Arts, Jeff Jewitt started building guitars in the late 1980’s. As a guitar player for over 40 years, Jeff has a keen eye and an understanding of the nuances a player wants in a guitar. While the main priority is sound, his instruments are based on solid design principles that have stood the test of time so the instrument will last and can be handed down to future generations.
Jeff is also well-known as a finishing expert and has authored 6 books, 5 videos and 6 on-line courses. He consults on a regular basis to guitar companies, both large and small.
“I started fixing guitars in high school, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. When I graduated in 1962 I got a job working at the Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor as paid apprentice. I also worked the sales counter and taught guitar lessons. I worked there on and off during my band years, and in 1969 opened my own shop “Erlewine Instruments”, along with my cousin Mark Erlewine who now operates “Erlewine Guitars” in Austin Texas, and has been since 1974. In 1975 I moved north to Big Rapids, Michigan and changed the business name to “Dan Erlewine’s Guitar hospital”. I worked in that shop until 1986 when I moved to Athens, Ohio to join Stewart-MacDonald Manufacturing. During my last three years in Big Rapids, I took on Bryan Galloup as an apprentice, and co-worker. Brian took the shop load during the year and a half that I operated a small guitar repair school. Today Bryan Galloup is one of the finest guitar makers and repairmen, and his guitar making school has trained thousands of young luthiers over the last 33 years. I am extremely proud of Bryan, and we are best friends today.
My years at Stew-Mac were spent designing tools, jigs, and fixtures, working on new products, producing books and videos for Stew-Mac, while still operating my own repair shop in Athens. I’m still involved on projects at Stew-Mac when needed.
Just like Robbie O'Brien, I consider myself a teacher as much as a luthier, and have always welcomed the newcomers to our profession, or “trade”, as I often think of it too. In the past few years, and before the pandemic, I hosted instructional workshops in my Athens shop. We brought in several great teachers like Link Van Cleave, Tim Frick, and Ian Davlin. The students from those events have all kept in touch with each other and with we teachers. Because of that, and thanks to Ian Davlin, we spend hours together each week on Ian’s Patreon site “Ian Hates Guitars”. Ian has carried on the camaraderie and tradition of learning events such as the “Northwood Seminar” at Bryan Galloup shop and school, and the workshops we held here in Athens, Ian interviews top luthiers and other interesting people on Sunday afternoons each week and on Wednesdays we all gather on Ian’s “work along” where we see each other on the monitor, talk back and forth, and share an incredible amount of info. I suggest that all of you join; for us it’s the highlight of the week and it was all started because of the loneliness from covid.