Choosing wood with care
Creating perfect reverb
Sweet music from trees
On a backroad in Rockingham County, Virginia is a small woodshop where guitars are created from local wood. Stephen Showalter, a retired furniture maker is the luthier who makes these beautiful instruments. He recently showed his guitars at the Artisan Guitar Show held at the State Farm Show building in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Stephen studied under luthiers Kent Carlos Everett and Ron Sharp, a student of Wayne Henderson. He took each unique style, and incorporated them into his own personal guitars. He made one from Osage Orange wood that grows locally.
He is presently working on a guitar with a Sycamore top. He recently completed a Walnut guitar that has a natural raw wood defect, which he incorporated into the sound hole in the top.
When I was in Virginia recently, I went to visit Steve at his shop. It was a very special time for me. Steve welcomed me to his workplace and showed me his work in progress. He makes all of his jigs that hold the sides and top in shape while bracing and edging are glued in place.
He invited me to play several of the guitars, including the Walnut one which he was offered a bid of $2800, but decided to keep it for himself.
I was amazed that each guitar he handed me had its own individual personality.
I felt very privileged to be able to play them. You can see more at his website:
Photos: Dwight L. Roth and Stephen Showalter