Paul Reed Smith

Paul Reed Smith has been a musical instrument maker his entire working life. As he celebrates his 30th year as an instrument builder, he'll be sharing his thoughts on acoustic and electric guitar building. Smith has twice been a TedX speaker and was featured in The Fretboard Journal #4 as well as on our video channel.

Richard Hoover
With the Summit taking place just down the street from the Santa Cruz Guitar Co., we couldn’t resist inviting Richard Hoover to attend. A living lutherie legend, Hoover was featured in the very first (and now very out-of-print) Fretboard Journal. In addition to making great guitars, Hoover is a de facto historian of stringed instruments.

Dana Bourgeois 
Every time we talk to Maine’s Dana Bourgeois we learn something new about guitar construction and tonewoods. Bourgeois was featured in The Fretboard Journal, but he’s also been a guest on our podcast and a frequent resource for our magazine’s editors and writers. At the Summit, he’s offered to give us a top voicing demonstration, finally showing us all what the fuss is about.

Bill Collings
He’s insightful, informative and always hilarious. Yes, builder, car fanatic and all-around-wildman Bill Collings is a one-of-a-kind character in our little guitar universe. Though we’d pay to watch him crack jokes for an hour, we’re pretty sure he’ll be discussing his fanatical work at Collings and Waterloo Guitars at the Summit. Collings was first featured in The Fretboard Journal #3. /

Jeff Traugott
The exquisite Brazilian rosewood guitar creations of Jeff Traugott are some of the most collectible modern instruments ever made. In fact, over the course of his 24 year career as a luthier, every guitar he’s built has been pre-sold. We featured Traugott in the Fretboard Journal #22, where he and client Charlie Hunter talked about the evolution of the seven-string bass-guitar hybrid that they created. A Santa Cruz local and former Santa Cruz Guitar Co. employee, Traugott is also a former TedX speaker.

Michael Gurian
Michael is a living legend in the world of guitars. A product of the Greenwich Village scene of the 1960s, Gurian started out making and repairing classical guitars, ouds and lutes. As his business grew, he expanded to steel string guitars and eventually created one of the first “boutique” guitar factories of the modern era. Today, Gurian is no longer building guitars but he is supplying nearly every major manufacturer with binding, herringbone trim, bridge pins and other essential parts. Watch the documentary we filmed on Gurian

John Thomas
Frequent FJ contributor John Thomas has penned stories for us on nearly every facet of the guitar world: from CITES, to Jackson Browne, to the art of lutherie (his issue nine profile of builder Kim Walker is here). Thomas recently blogged about his first guitarmaking project with builder Jay Licthy, but perhaps is best known as the author of Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women & Gibsons "Banner" Guitars of WWII. At the Summit, Thomas will be sharing behind-the-scenes stories from the making of Kalamazoo Gals and illuminating us with this great guitar tale.

Jim Baggett
Mass Street Music owner and founder Jim Baggett is a pre-war Martin aficionado, experienced luthier and instrument appraiser. You’ve undoubtedly seen him on Antiques Roadshow appraising fine guitars and violins. He has also served as a consultant to Martin guitars. Baggett could talk about any number of subjects in depth, but at this year’s Summit he’ll be walking us through the evolution of fretted instrument restoration and repair.

Richard Johnston
Gryphon Stringed Instruments co-founder Richard Johnston is one of the world’s foremost experts on vintage Martins and was the co-author of Martin Guitars: A History and Martin Guitars: A Technical Reference. He’s also a frequent musical instrument appraiser on the hit PBS series Antiques Roadshow. Johnston's Summit talk will be on "The Guitar As a Symbol of the Great American Melting Pot" and cover the rich, seldom discussed twists and turns of our favorite instrument leading up to the 20 century.

Mark Stutman 
Since founding Folkway Music in 1999, Mark Stutman has quickly earned a reputation for not only carrying some of the world’s finest instruments but being able to fix them, as well. A former student of Sergei de Jonge, Stutman is one of the go-to repairmen for high-end vintage instruments and counts among his clients Ry Cooder and Joe Henry. We interviewed Stutman back in 2013 for this site.


Howard Klepper 
Howard Klepper began repairing guitars in the late 1960s. In the 1970s he had a repair shop in Berkley and began building acoustic guitars. He then took a 20-year break from instruments to pursue careers in law and philosophy. He decided to return to working with his hands in 1997 after holding academic positions at institutions including Harvard and Stanford Universities. In 2007, Howard moved to the wine country of Sonoma, California where he built his dream shop for lutherie. He mainly build steel-string flattop guitars, but also makes arch tops, classicals and solid-body electrics. Howard is also known for restorations, conversion, and reproductions of vintage Martin and Gibson guitars (subjects that he will discuss at the Summit).