Thursday, June 02, 2011

Luthier Stephen Kinnaird : Stephen Kinnaird Guitars

About Stephen Kinnaird and Kinnaird Guitars from

It was a turning point for Stephen and his brother John when they visited the shop of J. Rhyne, a luthier in Atlanta, GA. Before then, Stephen assumed that a guitars could only be made in a factory.

It was a revelation for Stephen to see a lone individual making world class Guitars. They left that day with the ambition to do the same. So while Stephen was finishing a degree in music, he was also studying as much as he could find about guitar making. By the year 1980, Stephen felt confident enough to accept a commission to make a guitar for a friend. In a few months’ time that first guitar was finished, and Stephen was hooked.

Stephen's initial years in luthiery were slowed by lack of information. Output was not high. There was no internet, few books on the subject, and no one in vicinity to help with questions. His brother, John, was also interested, but he lived in another state and their visits were infrequent. Though, such was the situation, Stephen says "one benefit of being 'alone' was learning to think through problems, developing an independent mind set. Also, in those early years I not only learned as much as I could, but began collecting wood when possible. One of the draws I felt was a fascination with the raw material that good guitars are made from. It is a wonderful resource." In the ensuing years he has developed a style that shows an appreciation of the great guitars of the past, while leaving room for personal expression. As a custom maker each instrument he creates is approached as unique, and no two are exactly alike. He finds great satisfaction in the challenge of designing an instrument that meets the needs of each customer.

This few lines from Stephen aptly summarizes his guitar making philosophy, I view the top as an air pump, and the challenge is to get it to stand up to the tension of the strings while remaining agile enough to really move the air. I want a stiff neck, as I believe that excessive neck/head vibration can dissipate the strings' energy. And I want to create something that is both sonically satisfying and beautiful to behold. Here again I'll add that wood fascinates me, and is beautiful in its own right.

Stephen offers the following models...
OM | SJ | FS | CS | P-1

Additional Links from Stephen Kinnaird Guitars

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