A short history in the evolution of our string instruments starts with the “Gigmaster”. When I first started making guitars, I wanted to create a guitar for the gigging musician that had all the professional upgrades but came at an affordable price.The result of this effort was the Gigmaster and it’s concept remains a corner stone in our philosophy. A solid work horse, simple in design, but one that stands out for it’s exemplary performance. As the designed evolved, a fancier version was developed that incorporates exotic tops and this model is called “The Deluxe Gigmaster”.
During this time period, it was apparent that a lot of the components that I was working with had a reputation of their own. Certain parts looked like they came from the famous models that had incorporated them. The challenge was to design new models and not have them look like they were “parts” guitars. There was also the appeal of what made the classic models so popular - simplicity. Our T-Master is a take on a classic model, but one that we have tried to update. We pride ourselves on having original designs. The T-Master is an evolution of this classic with the best components that can be found. Bill Callaham bridges are unique. I haven’t found a better bridge that provides this level of sustain. The pickups used on the T-Master, as well as those used on most of our other guitars, are made by Lindy Fralin. He is another leader in the field of custom components. My long relationship with his products has been a very positive experience.
The next step in our evolution took place with the addition of the electric banjo. My home town of Asheville has a thriving music scene. There is bluegrass, Americana, and country, and one of the local stars asked me if I would make him an electric banjo. A lot of the components had to be made by hand in my shop as they simply couldn’t be found in the luthier supply stores. This is one model that has surprised me in many ways. I get lots of inquires about it and it draws a lot of attention. It’s a niche instrument that we are very proud of. And for anyone who has played it, it is very exciting!
The introduction of our Set Necks took place at the Montreal Guitar Show in 2011. This was a big step, not only because they were being exhibited at a major show, but also because they required a more sophisticated joinery and a new level of execution. These two models, the SN* 22 and the SN*24 are our top of the line models. They have chambered bodies, hand carved tops, and a host of other bespoke appointments. The SN designation simply refers to the “Set Neck” model. The 22 or 24 designation refers to the number of frets, either 22 or 24. The SN*22 ’s neck joins the body at the 16th fret. It’s shorter than the SN*24, which has a fingerboard that contains a full 2 octaves. The SN*24 ’s neck joins the body at the 19th fret. This fingerboard is spread out with easy access to the upper frets.
Our latest addition is the ukulele. It has an amazing history with it’s Hawaiian roots, and it’s popularity as a “ fun” instrument. I’ve tried to enrich it’s reputation by making it a serious instrument as well. We spend just as much time hand crafting tenor and baritone ukuleles as we do with our other fine instruments. I hope that for the serious ukulele aficionado, a custom made ukulele will be something that you try. They have a beautiful tone, heirloom looks, and a unique appeal that makes people smile.
Vintage Guitar Magazine
The Widman is a classic in terms of function, with refreshing styling….There are many vintage-styled instruments, but painfully few offer this level of