Below is a short list of Luthiers,
Designers and Visionaries that
I have worked with and that I have learned from over the
years. I have not listed everybody. And I probably won't
ever finish this page. It has been a privilege a
pleasure and a tremendous honor knowing all of these
I have not listed anyone
on this page
that I don't know
Kerry Livgren Playing one Of Jeff
Dave Bunker Senior
Dave Bunker is an amazing Luthier, He is in his late
70's and still ahead of the current times. He still
resided up near Seattle. Dave is also an amazing
musician (Rare For A Luthier) He played
with Elvis. He also invented the PBC headless guitars,
He Ghost Built all the
American Ibanez Guitars in the 90's.
It's not that his ears are big....
It's just that his hair is short ha ha
Ed Roman & Paul Reed Smith 1989
I am holding my original pink Signature guitar that Paul
I have known Paul since he started
in the mid 70's,
Paul Smith was my original inspiration to build custom
Today when I design my guitars, I always try to go one
better than Paul.
I use him as the benchmark for quality, tone & design.
It's just a classic case of the student trying to outdo
the teacher !!!
Bernie Rico Senior R.I.P.
I learned a real lot from this great man.
I have also tried very hard to outdo his designs.
I have the added advantage today of better wood
Better electronics available & better more skillful craftsmen
Most of these craftsmen have been building these
guitars for 30 years.
I am lucky to have 3 or 4 of his key employees on my
One of my own discoveries, Rick is
a good friend and an excellent builder.
He has the unique ability that most Luthiers don't have.
His guitars sound good, play really well and most of
them are gorgeous
the fit & finish is dead on, The balance is good. they
are true works of art.
I have worked with many talented builders who make
really pretty guitars.
But they put so much finish on the neck that the guitar
Or the fit and finish is awesome but the balance is off.
There were two builders I have known that were very talented
They both made some very sweet looking guitars.
But they just
didn't sound good !!!!
They were easy to sell because they were pretty.
Most of the original owners ended up selling them.
Grover has been a huge
help to me over the years.
He helped me launch the Quicksilver and taught me a lot of what I know
about guitar building.
He has helped me to source out components
and great builders to work with me.
He is responsible for the Rickenbacker C
series, he has worked with Washburn and is
best known for his incredible line of
Jackson Guitars which is now wholly owned by
We have been talking about
coming out with some kind of guitar together
for almost 10 years.
Tony Zemaitis R.I.P.
A talented and eccentric artist
who succeeded with a substandard product because of his
artistry, not his luthiery. Even so he was considered a
fine luthier .
Today his standard creations go for
well over $40,000 and his fancier ones have sold for
over $100.000.00. Recently I sold Jimi Hendrix's
Acoustic Zemaitis for over $350.000.00. Like many of
them, would barely hold tune. In the Video that we
provided the buyer of Jimi playing the guitar, Jimi
comments on the fact that the guitar is "hard to play".
The fascination people have with his
guitars is uncanny, David Bowie, George Harrison, James
Honeyman Scott, Ron Wood, Mick Jagger & many more have
visited this eccentric old coot "Affectionately said" at
his home workshop in the UK for a Les Paul copy with an
engraved front or something with seashells covering the
I have some of the new ones that are
quite different, They are 200% better quality and they
are selling for 1/4 what an original sells for. I have
several originals in stock also. (Call if interested)
Another great master builder from the Healdsburg area.
Ned Steinberger & Ed Roman
I worked for Ned Steinberger, Ned is a
great guy and a full on genius. His contributions to the
guitar world will rarely be duplicated. I really
got an education because I was hired by Gibson after
they bought the company from him.
Ned is truly one of the great ones
Ned Steinberger ranks
up there with Leo Fender & Rick Turner & Paul Reed
Smith. His inventions and innovations have
revolutionized the entire guitar business. If there is a
Mount Rushmore for Luthiers Ned would be up there.
When I worked at Steinberger, I learned about
the part of the business that no one wants to know
about. Working for Gibson made me very cynical & bitter about the
soft white corporate underbelly of the guitar business.
Sometimes I wish I had never
worked for Gibson!!!!
Working For Gibson can only be compared to meeting a
famous person that you have idolized for years.
Then you find out that he's an incredible dolt
John Bolin backstage at ZZ Top with 2
of his creations
Ghostbuilt guitars for
so many famous guitarists it's mindboggling
John & myself are close personal friends, We also have
partnered up in the Crazy Cowboy, ZZ Top guitar project.
John has Ghostbuilt guitars for more famous guitar
players than anyone else I know.
We still work together to this day. John is not building
as much as he used to. I have been trying to persuade
him to move to Las Vegas and get into the mainstream
guitar business. Needless to say I have been
unsuccessful in my endeavors to get him back into
building on a larger scale.
The man behind the success story of Rickenbacker
Whenever I am curious about
something going on in our industry.
John always has the complete lowdown.
Jol Dantzig Of Hamer Guitars
I loved his 80's designs.
We disagree about set neck joints but I
still have a lot of respect for him
It seemed like they had new models
every couple of months
lately I have not seen anything interesting from Hamer
but remember Fender owns them now !!!
I am now making replicas of all those old discontinued
AKA Johnny Frog
My associate and the original builder
of George Lynch's Skull N Bones
Leo Fender R.I.P.
He revolutionized the electric
In my opinion Leo's greatest achievement was the
In fact at one time all basses were called "Fender Bass"
"Leo did not know how to play a guitar"
I believe that if the management
at Kramer were a little more savvy.
If they had been able to make all the guitars they had
Kramer would have put Fender and Gibson out of business
in 1984 1985
If you were not a Kramer dealer in those years you
didn't sell guitars.
Greg Curbow RIP
A Very Creative Luthier &
A Great Guy !!!
When Greg died a few years
back it was looking like the only guitars available of
his were the low cost Cort imports. We at Ed Roman
guitars decided to continue building the original high
end petite models which we feel are among the best
basses ever made.
Abstract Caesar Bass
Steve Helgeson "Moonstone"
Steve & myself collaborated on the
Steve was probably the first luthier ever to
offer amazing wood choices on his guitars.
I first met Floyd back when Kramer
ruled the world.
Kramer put almost every other American guitar company
including Fender & Gibson almost completely out of
This was a true demonstration of Eddie Van Halen's
But the bottom line is If there was no Floyd Rose, There
would have been no Kramer, They would have ended up in
the basket of forgotten guitars like Travis Bean,
Messenger & Richelieu.
NEW for 2008
Floyd is still developing some
incredible products for guitars, his speedloader is
awesome and I have been using it on many of my
Guitars. Floyd always
design guitars, and he hasn't had as much success with
guitars as he has with tremolos etc.
Floyd Rose are conspiring to revive all those early
Floyd Rose guitar designs like the Tri-axe and the
These guitars will be signed by both
Floyd & myself, There were only a handful built back in
the 80's and the new ones will be improved with ebony
fingerboards bound necks and nicer inlay designs.
They are now available for sale, Anyone
who is looking for one of these guitars, Please
contact me at the custom shop.
Custom Shop 702- 875-4552
A talented luthier & forward thinker,
He is currently not building anything but I am sure he
will be back !!!
The great ones never go away, They just have to stop for
a while to make a living !!!!
We Have Klein Guitars In Stock Call For Information
Tim Wilson & Mike Shannon
Grover Jackson introduced me to
Mike Shannon in 1993
Mike has built many custom guitars for some of my special
customers under the
Stuart Spector & Jack Nau of EMG
R. I. P.
A real character & true genius
Undercapitalized and a bit over the top.
His Mosrite guitar line is the third most copied brand
in the world !!!
I have been involved with Mosrite Guitars for about 10
I am only now starting to realize just what an awesome
guitar these are.
I came in this door a bit late, But better late than
When I was a kid I owned every guitar brand I could beg
borrow or steal.
I could never afford a Mosrite, they were probably the
most expensive guitar of that time.
I never owned one as a youngster and I now realize what
I urge everyone to check one of these out, They are
pretty awesome !!!!
Totally made In USA only a couple of miles from the
The shop is headed up by Dana Moseley, Semie's
Ed Roman build a themed guitar for you or your company
Your Motorcycle Your
Car Your Boat
Your Wife, Your Family or Your Mistress
Your Favorite Rockstar Your Favorite Vegas Hotel
Your Favorite Sports Team
Your Favorite Movie or TV Show
Your Favorite Hobby
Your Motorcycle Club Your Secret Society
Your Country Your Coat of Arms
Your Personal Symbol
If you like money
we can build you a guitar covered with $100.00 Bills
We can do it with fake bills so the cost is not too bad !!!!
Bernie Rico Jr. & Family
Bernie Jr & Sr in
Another great builder who gave
up making guitars. Feeding your family is tough when
you are an artist.
The guitar that Jim is holding is a gift that I gave
him when I was producing the Jaros guitars.
My shop built about 150 of them over a 3 year period.
When I bought
Baker USA Guitars
when Gene Baker went Bankrupt, I did not have the time
to build the Jaros Guitar brand any longer.
I sold the brand name to a good customer of mine who
had bought a couple of Jaros Guitars from me
it so much he bought the company" Ha Ha
The Original Jim Jaros guitars are numbered under #999
The Ed Roman Jaros guitars start at #1000
The Dave Weiler models all start above #2000
with one of his singlecut
For those of you who have heard of
Tom's pickups & assume he is a pickup builder.
Tom used to build all of Billy Gibbon's guitars in the
early pre bearded ZZ Top days.
Many people mistake Tom's guitars for Gibson's or
Gretsch Billy Bo's.
Today Tom is hand winding some pretty magical pickups.
If you have a spare $390.00 I can hook you up. Ed
Roman is currently the only Tom Holmes Dealer in The
USA. Tom Handles the Japanese & European market himself.
He is actually rather famous over there.
If any of you are lucky enough to
own a Gary Jacobs Guitar, Then you will understand why I
have put him on this page. Sadly Gary is no longer building
Building guitars is not the most
profitable thing you can do with your life.
Believe me I can make much more money selling Gibsons &
Fenders than making my own. Plus, there is practically a
zero investment, when you carry major mass produced
brands. I mean all the inventory eventually sells and
the prices go up every year.
Think about this for a second.
Let's say, Gibson has a 10% price increase. Companies
like Guitar Center could conceivably make $1,250.000.00
in a single day simply by adding the 10% cost in on
their main computer on the inventory that they already
own. This operation could be done by a computer in less
than 10 seconds. Now imagine, what if all the major
companies gave you a warning that they were going to
have a price increase. This way a large dealer like GC
could place a $10.000.000.00 order the day before the
price increase & make another million. Why do you think
I carry so much inventory, It's probably the best way to
make a nice clean 5% to 15% profit every year.
The bottom line is you have to
love building guitars to do it because in that part of
the business it's impossible to get rich. My best
boutique builder Jeff Terwilliger (JET Guitars) whose guitars sell in the above
$6,000.00 range actually has a day job. Hell, I would
love to just build guitars, but I need the majors to
subsidize my cost of doing business or I could not
afford to continue.
In the right place at the right
time, Wayne Charvel & Grover Jackson hit the big time
in 1982 building guitars for every roc kstar imaginable.
Today a San Dimas Charvel will bring stupid money.
People just assume that if they buy one of those they
will sound like Van Halen did in his first & second
albums. Oh Well, sigh
Today Wayne & his son Mike are still making the same
style guitars that made them famous in the 80's.
They cost about 6 times more today so they have a rough
time selling through a dealer network. There simply is
no room for a dealer.
BC Rich just reintroduced
their Gunslinger which is their version of the Wayne
guitar. The list price is well over 5,000.00
Street price $3,600.00. In the 80's they sold for
Personally I really like the sound of
the fan fretted Dingwall Bass. I am replacing my own
early priceless Prima (pre fire) model that I have
owned for quite some time with a new Afterburner
simply because I like the brighter tone.
These days I am only building about 50 Basses a year.
Incidentally I started as a bass builder.
I actually like the Dingwall lower cost models better
than his really expensive models.
His guitars are moderately priced but awesome
The only thing I like better is the Abstract Caesar
Back in the 80's when I first
started building my own guitars, Mike was kind enough
to help me find some sources for wood. Many Luthiers
are very secretive about wood sources because good
wood is what makes good instruments and it's very hard
to find the good stuff. I visited Mike's facility in
Burbank before Gibson purchased his good name. Today
Mike is still building under the MTD name.
buy a Tobias guitar and expect it be a real
Mike Tobias product. It could be a
Gibson imported low end guitar with the name Tobias on
it. Buyer Beware
Ron Wickersham & Rick Turner are the grandfathers of the custom
These 2 incredible luthiers started the Alembic Guitar
company back in the early 70's
They have gone their separate ways today & Ron & his family
Susan & Micah are still building some of the most
the world has ever seen. Every aspiring luthier seeks to
rise to the level of these guys.
I should say, Every aspiring luthier
seeks to rise to their ability to charge $30,000.00 plus for
Rick Turner with the famous model one
Rick Is Retired Or Out Of Business No One has Answered The
Phone In Over A Year
The first ones were built at the
Alembic factory before Rick & Ron split up
In the 70's I used to buy Alembic guitars from their
national sales manager
Paul Rothschild who was the manager & producer of "The
See The Abstract
Inventor Of The Baritone Guitar
I used to carry Veillette
Citron when I started back in the mid 70's. Today these guys
have separated but they are both building great instruments.
I have partnered up with Joe Veillette to bring a piccolo 12
string guitar to market.
Bourgeois (BurJ wah) has been building great acoustic
guitars ever since I can remember. I personally owned
several of the ones he made when he was building Paul
Reed Smith's short lived Acoustic guitar line. I
bought one of his when he started his own company in
I don't list too many
acoustic builders on this page at this time, Mainly
because I concentrate on electrics and I don't include
anyone here that I don't know personally. I own 250
electric guitars personally and only about 5
acoustics. I am starting to appreciate fine acoustics
more and more so I am looking to slowly expand my
acoustic collection. I will of course be keeping my
fabulous Bourgeois # 17
Pedulla has been building great basses since the 70's
and they keep getting better all the time. In fact I
personally own an original Thunderbolt model.
I always pick up little gems of information from every
luthier that I deal with.
One day about 20 years ago I called him to
complement him on his new lower priced Thunderbolt
bass. I had just received my first one and I really
liked it !!! Being a typical dealer know it
all, I suggested to Mike that the guitar was
perfect in every way except the bridge looked a little
skimpy. I commented that "It reminded me of a low cost
Fender bridge". In my opinion a custom made high
quality bass should have had some type of cast massive
looking bridge. (Always
makes them easier to sell)
Mike responded to me by asking me how I
liked the sound of the instrument? I replied that "I
thought it was excellent and that the newer technique slappers &
funk players would really appreciate the
clean crisp spank."
Mike went on to explain to me that
he had given it a lot of thought. He told me, that if I
put one of those Badass, or ABM heavy duty bridges on.
The bright spank would disappear, He told me, that the original great
Fender bass sound, relied on that cheesy looking tin
bridge. I never forgot that, but over the years
I learned that that is only 1/4 of the equation. Just
because someone uses a cheap low end bridge it does
not mean that they will automatically get a great
tone. Tone is not an exact science,
makes the absolute best pickups In the world.
There are about
50 challengers who may do a couple of things here &
there that might be a little different. From a
subjective standpoint even better.
I will repeat
though, Overall Seymour makes the absolute best
passive guitar pickups in the world. There is no other
company out there that I know of that comes close. I
am quite sure that most of the people on this page
will agree with me. Just check out any premium
guitar and 90% of them use Seymour Duncan as their
high end pickup supplier.
There are many boutique pickup
guru's out there Rick Turner is probably one of the
best of them, Rick & Seymour are working on projects
together. This proves that the Cream truly rises to