I started building guitars in 2011 after taking a guitar building class from Rick Davis and Cat Fox at the Sound Guitar Workshop in Seattle. Although the class was focused on steel string guitars, it was a great introduction to the guitar building process and (for me) the art of woodworking. Since that time I have focused on building traditional, fan-braced classical guitars.
My goal is to build responsive guitars that are balanced across the strings and that have an even response. I create instruments that have firm basses and round, easily shaped trebles. My build philosophy is “less is more.” I keep it simple and am wary of trends. I also decided early on to primarily use hand tools in an effort to keep things simple. Hand tools fit my personality and aesthetic. They allow me to focus more on the task at hand rather than the means of getting there.
My guitars are entirely finished with shellac which I feel offers the right mix of durability, beauty, and repairability. While living in Seattle, I studied French polishing techniques with Eugene Clark and Cyndy Burton. They both helped lessen the learning curve of French polishing and greatly improved my technique.
My love of music and enthusiasm for the guitar predates my career as a builder. I started playing the guitar when I was 14, playing bass and electric guitar in garage bands and then jazz guitar in a big band. I eventually moved on to study classical guitar at Towson University.
When I'm not building guitars, I enjoy cycling, trail running, hiking, snowboarding, and listening to the latest BibleProject podcast. Doing these activities with my wife makes them even more enjoyable.
Richard L. Waltz