I’ve been a full-time fretted instrument builder and repairman since the fall of 1969, and have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life except for a hiatus while I attended the University of California at Santa Barbara from 1962 to 1967. It was there that I fell under the spell of the bluegrass music and started to play mandolin. My first mandolin was pretty crummy, and before long I was tinkering with it. Tinkering comes more naturally for me than music does!
I built my first instruments in 1966 and 1967 when a friend suggested we try to make some dulcimers together. About that time I met Richard Johnston, with whom I struck up an immediate friendship. It was 2 years later, in 1969 that he and I founded Gryphon Stringed Instruments as a guitar building venture. We had built some 40 guitar and a few mandolins and banjos by the time we opened our first retail store in early 1973.