If you haven’t heard the song “The Guitar” by Guy Clark and Verlon Thompson do yourself a favor and give it a listen. Many a guitar or instrument has inspired a musician to new heights in an almost mystical way. The alchemy between a great guitar and an artist can be almost frightening. Still, the guitar that inspires greatness in one player may go dead in the hands of another.
The search for “the ONE” and stories of the guitar that got away are spread all over cyberspace in guitar forums. That old Martin you had the opportunity to play at a little store while you were waiting for the bus out of Birmingham when you were in college… or some such yarn. It is truly a treat to find that guitar and when we do, it may be the source of inspiration for months or years, but often we find ourselves needing something else.
It may be we’ve stopped listening to that muse or it could be our own muse is making more noise than the one in that guitar. The Roberts “musician series” is a series of guitars, at present “the Minstrel” and its big brother, “The Troubadour”, based on those old guitars we’ve all found ourselves inspired by.
I’ve been building guitars a long time and worked with some of the biggest names in the guitar industry. I know most of the major builders on a first name basis and though I never thought I had to take a backseat to anybody and was always proud of my abilities and hard earned talents, I never really felt I needed to see my name on a headstock to feel fulfilled.
When circumstances lead me into starting my own company, I suddenly found myself in complete control of the artistic process. The results of that fact have surprised and delighted me. I hear on almost a daily basis that clients who have owned guitars by some of the most revered names in the business consider their new Roberts guitar to represent a whole new level of guitar for them.
I build guitars with soul. I feel that while many companies, and even many independent builders have tried to produce repeatability, or dimensional perfection, by utilizing the latest technologies like CAD/CAM computer aided design and milling, I have maintained and strengthened my connection to the great instrument building and woodworking traditions of the past. I work alone, drawing on all the experience you can read about in my biography on the “About” page. I build instruments that are as perfect as I can make them for you and your individual needs. When I build a “Minstrel” I build an instrument that is the culmination of all I can bring to it.
I build from a intuitive knowledge, and skills gained through a lifetime of woodworking and the pursing of the creative arts. I have a refined sense of design, and I work at a high skill level which allows me to compete favorably with the highest tech and best known guitar companies in the world, without giving up the qualities that were inherent in those great old guitars from our past. Often you find independent builder complaining that their product is better simply by virtue of the fact that it is made by hand and so they shouldn’t have to compete cosmetically with the high tech companies. I don’t believe this. I can compete with those companies. What you feel when you pick up one of my guitars is quality. It has the soul of those favorite old guitars but with a fit and finish second to none.
I market my own guitars because I want to know my customers and I don’t want them paying far more for an instrument than is necessary. By selling direct I can knock 25% to 50% off the price you would have to pay if you bought my instrument through a store. For me the interaction with the musician is one of the greatest gifts of my job.
I make a couple models of instruments that I can build without the need to create an intimate dialogue with the client. These are models I have developed based on my own love of vintage guitars and improved upon in subtle ways, based on what we have learned in the last 50-100 years, and a knowledge of what today’s musician needs and expects. If you missed out on a great old guitar that just seemed to have a soul of its own … you may want to check out the musician series. These are hand built instruments using the finest tonewoods and built in the tradition of some of the greatest guitars ever built. They are built the same way, with skilled hands, Adirondack Red or European Spruce, hot hide glue and they are built with the musician in mind. These guitars can be had for the kind of money a musician can come up with. The same materials and methods that a factory will charge you $8000.00 or more for, if they’ll do it at all.
Or you can choose to really enter into a lovely artistic journey with me to create an instrument that embodies all of your dreams and supplies you with a tonal palette beyond your dreams. You may have a musical direction, or a need that you’ve never found an instrument to satisfy. You may even have a vision of an heirloom you want to enjoy today that you can pass down to your children in the future. If you would like, just once, to purchase something where your needs and desires and your vision really gets understood, then let’s work together. We will sit down or talk on the phone at length and create a common vocabulary that will allow me to build the instrument you yearn for.