What type of work do you do at Baxendale Guitar?
We teach guitar repair and restoration using hand techniques. The course can last between 6 months to 1 year. We take apart and rebuild guitars to create a higher grade instrument. The students of the course learn about geometry, playability, sound, and other techniques. We also remanufacture old guitars. This is an ecofriendly practice as many older guitars are made from wood like rosewood and mahogany that is now endangered. Custom guitars can also be built here. We are really more of a workshop than a music store.
How did you get started building guitars?
When I was in 4th grade, I saw The Beatles perform on Ed Sullivan After that I got the wigs and boots from their merchandise and wanted to start a band. My friends and I started a band called ‘The Shaggy Dogs’ from a movie that had recently come out. We sang Beatles songs, but changed the lyrics to be about dogs. For example, ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ became ‘I Wanna Hold Your Paw’. We performed for our class and ended up going on tour to every classroom in the school. I built guitars for our band using poster board, wood, yarn, and buttons. Later on, I was in college at the University of Kansas and started working at Mossman Guitars. It was a pioneer boutique guitar factory.
What brought you to Athens?
I had bought Mossman Guitars and started a shop in Denver. I sold the shop in 2010 after 11 years in business and moved to Athens because the Drive By Truckers hired me as a guitar tech.
What do you think the key is to Living Well and Aging Well?
I play and perform music which is a hobby that I really enjoy. I also spend a lot of time around young people. I think hanging out with the younger crowd keeps me thinking young.
You’ve built guitars for some notable artists. Do you have any favorites you have worked with?
This career has afforded me the opportunity to know and be friends with many of the important artists of our generation. Each instrument I make is a piece of art – individual sculptures. To be able to hand a piece of my art to another artist that can be inspired by it and moved to create their art really brings everything full circle and keeps me focused and motivated.