The Builder

About Mark V.


What was the first guitar you built?

The first guitar I built was in 2008. I wanted a guitar that was light, resonant, had a neck that felt good holding in my hand…and I wanted huge frets. I built that guitar, sold it and then bought it back. It’s my favorite guitar by far, and also serves as a testing ground for new pickups I want to try out.

What guitar designs do you admire most?

Fender guitars are ok. But I really admire guitars built by luthiers who understand that there are many aspects of a build that add to the whole picture…such as weight, how well the body and neck sound once put together, and how the guitar feels in your hands.

Do you have any heroes in the world of luthiery?

Heroes? I don’t know…I really admire Ron Kirn. He’s a custom builder who just seems to get it. That was my first impression of him when I heard about him on TDPRI…a guitar enthusiast forum.

Your company is based in Whittier, Ca. How has that shaped your approach to making guitars?

Well, I’ve been able to attend many blues jams in and around the Long Beach area and Orange County…so many great players, and I’ve been able to talk with them, and find out what they like in an instrument. That has really influenced my desire to create guitars with the player in mind….what they want out of their guitar, and what they are searching for with regards to sound, tone etc.

What do you look for when buying wood for your guitars?

Oh cmon…a guy’s got to have some secrets. Haha. But I’ll be honest. I search for the best stuff…often buying old growth wood that I Know will make for a perfect body.

Talk about the process of designing your own line of guitars.

That is best explained this way…I like to build relationships with clients. I want to know them, and then I ask a lot of questions…and I’ll take measurements of their favorite guitar, if they’ve got one. Players often find a neck shape they love, and they’ll stick with that. That said, I also incorporate many of the skills I’ve picked up over the years to create a total guitar package…it’s all of the tiniest of details that turn into an awesome instrument at the end of the day.

Who is your hero as far as musicians go?

Well, that’s an easy question to answer. My hero would be Mr. Walter Trout…ever the gentleman. I got to meet him a few years back and eventually built a special guitar for him that he currently plays. The guitar is made from very old douglas fir reclaimed from the rafters of an old house. The man has been through so much recently with his health, and he has proven that he’s got a lot of character…and that he really values family and friendships over anything else, and that he just puts so much of his energy into his music…it just shines right through.


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