Thank you for your interest in Sweetwood Guitars. Here is a brief overview of how we got started...
Back in Jr. High School (mid 80's), Van Halen was "On Top of the World" and pointy guitars were it! I had an early 80's USA BC Rich (Bernie Rico) Mockingbird that was the envy of a few friends (and purchased used from world renown inlay artist Craig Lavin - whom I grew up with). I turned some screws and basically obsessed over hot rodding the playability of my guitars. Around this time, I attempted my first guitar build. I bought a Fender Strat neck and routed a body in wood shop. With the help of my wood shop teacher, and my friend's father (an expert woodworker - and owner of MLCS Woodworking supplies -) I developed the skills to build a fairly solid instrument.
After college, I moved from Philadelphia to Silicon Valley and worked as an engineer in high tech during the height of the dot com explosion. I earned a decent salary and expanded my tool collection and continued building on the side...mostly for fun. As you can imagine, the guitars started to pile up. Some of my friends would commission builds from time to time. Eventually, I got a call from a friend of a friend and I sold my first guitar to someone I didn't know in 2002...that was the birth of Sweetwood Guitars.
Today, the boutique lutherie industry is really maturing. There are more great builders than ever before. Different designs and ideas are popping up, innovation is rampant and the quality of these instruments in some cases is simply outstanding. Players are embracing these new concepts and designs and major manufacturers are losing significant market share.
All our guitars start with the careful selection of tonewood. For this we use only the best tone woods available, all from certified means of forestation. Lumber is matched for both appearance and resonance. They are then allowed to dry and age naturally. Most major manufacturers kiln dry their wood. A twenty foot plank of mahogany will lose 18 inches in this process. In the kiln, the wood de-hydrates then water is re-introduced to a consistent level. Close to 96% of the water in the cells of the wood are evaporated. Its like taking a grape, turning it into a raisin, then trying to turn it into a grape again. This makes for a very stable piece of wood, but its soul is lost in the process.
At Sweetwood, we strive to make instruments to the highest standard in the industry: Super tight tolerances, neck pockets that practically don't need glue, very fast action, etc. We do things the right way to ensure the instruments out live us and are enjoyed for many years, not just by the original purchaser, but by their grandchildren as a family heirloom.
I am very committed to making the best possible instruments.
Thanks for taking the time,