Handcrafted Guitars in Bend, Oregon
The art of building guitars can best be described by luthier, William Cumpiano in his article A Pedaygog’s Lament, “It rewards only the pure in heart, the ones that give themselves completely to it, and ask nothing from it, except the privilege to be allowed to continue.”
I do feel privileged to have the opportunity to make instruments and with the completion of each new guitar, I gain a great sense of pride. I am intrigued by the ever-changing nature of guitars; the forms they take, the materials that are used, the building process, and the tone that matures once a guitar comes to life.
I believe when people see, feel and hear an Urlacher Guitar, the love for what I do shines through. Below is a short video which gives a peak into the shop and captures a bit of what Urlacher Guitars is all about.
Guitar Building in the Pacific Northwest
I am fortunate to be living in the Pacific Northwest, a part of the country that is saturated with many great luthiers. Eugene, Oregon is where I lived for 20 years and got my start in building guitars. In 2011 I relocated to Bend, Oregon; this area is inspiring with beauty and the climate is moderate and dry, making Bend a fine place to build instruments. I currently build approximately four to five guitars per year, focusing on custom build quality rather than producing a large number of guitars.
Getting Started as a Luthier
Being intrigued by the guitar and having a growing interest in working with wood, my curiosity piqued to the point that I had to take action. In 2002 I started the unthinkable task of building a steel-string guitar. I use the word “unthinkable” because I had never played the guitar (or any instrument for that matter), and I had zero wood working experience. One year later I had the unmatched pleasure of stringing up my first guitar. I consider myself to be self-taught, although I have gained a lot of information and guidance from several fine luthiers.
Before Guitar Building
I am an artist, a maker of things – I love to create beautiful objects. As long as I can remember I have been sketching, painting, and creating things with my hands. My focus has always been fine craftsmanship and pleasing design, whether I am composing a drawing or working with clay. As a Fine Arts major at the University of Oregon, I explored just about every art medium that was offered. Also during my time at the University of Oregon, I played golf for the Ducks. Golf, being a game of precision and accuracy, appealed to me a great deal. I played competitive golf for ten years before deciding to focus on my artwork; which ultimately lead to building my first guitar.