I am a third generation woodcrafter and a second generation luthier. I grew up in my grandfather’s cabinet shop and built wooden boats while in high school. I followed a career in Engineering and Physics research, earning a Ph.D in 1967. I pursued an academic career as teacher and researcher at The University of Florida and The University of Tennessee Space Institute, and retired from the University of Tennessee in 2004 as the B. H. Goethert Professor Emeritus of Engineering Science.
I continued woodworking as a hobby throughout much of my professional career and built a number of custom rifles and gunstocks during the 60’s and 70’s. When my father died he left me an old archtop guitar he had built during the Great Depression. It was a copy of a Gibson L5 and had been much played. I strung it up and tried to learn to play, but the top cracked and I decided to attempt a repair. Robert Benedetto’s excellent book Making an Archtop Guitar provided guidance as I disassembled it with much apprehension. After successfully repairing the top and replacing the fingerboard, I decided to attempt to build one from scratch.
Guided by Benedetto’s book, blueprints and DVD instructions I built my first guitar. My next guitar was also a 17” Benedetto pattern, but built with Master Grade wood and incorporated a Fleur-de-Lis headstock of my own design. I then decided to concentrate on 16” archtops and developed my own body design and stylistic details. The result was the “Arch Nouveau” with an innovative rollaway that allows a full back shape while still allowing improved access to the upper frets.
My latest 16” acoustic archtop project incorporates an Indian Rosewood body and a new arching profile inspired by the old Cremona violin masters and informed by the mathematical description of vibrating membranes. This provides a balance and depth of tone reminiscent of the old Gibson Jumbo’s and Martin Dreadnaughts.