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About Will Bright

Will Bright portrait

Guitars have been my passion since I was a kid. Playing guitars, modifying guitars, buying guitars, studying guitars, coveting guitars.

I started taking lessons, age 11, on an imported dreadnaught my parents bought for me. The following year I got my first electric, a Harmony Strat copy. By 9th grade I had upgraded to a beautiful Gibson Les Paul Studio, white with gold hardware.

Not long after, I found myself carving Stratocaster-style bevels and contours into this lovely Les Paul, and chiseling out a 3rd pickup cavity, and with my dad's help, completely rewiring it with 6 knobs and 3 toggle switches. And I painted it metallic blue. This was my first major guitar mod job.

I went to college at Wesleyan University in Connecticut, where I continued studying acoustic guitar styles on my trusty $150 import, and I also studied extensively in the West African music department, playing all 4 years in a Ghanian drumming ensemble.

In 2001 I wandered into Sylvan Music in Santa Cruz, California, a store known for its busy service department and impressive inventory. I was looking for a banjo head. By the end of the week I had a job there, first in retail sales, and eventually I was running the repair department. It was there I played my first high-end acoustic guitars (Santa Cruz, Goodall, Lowden, Breedlove, etc.) and realized what it was to play a multi-thousand-dollar guitar.

From 2005 to 2010 I worked at Keyfax NewMedia Inc., a Santa Cruz-based company specializing in music technology and education. My duties were many and varied, from pro audio sales and support to marketing and content creation.

While living in Santa Cruz I played bass and guitar with Oka Road, an original rock band with 3 studio albums to our name, and on projects with Rob Owen, a talented and acclaimed singer-songwriter from the Bay Area.

I have been a member of the Guild of American Luthiers since 2003 and I studied with Charles Fox at the American School of Lutherie in Portland in 2011. In March 2013 I relocated my shop from Santa Cruz to Bellingham, Washinton.

"My mission as a luthier is to create instruments that are new and different, yet instantly familiar to guitar players. I want each model I design to add to the current guitar landscape and remain part of that landscape over time."

Will Bright custom guitar

My experience in music retail, repair, and performance has shaped and informed my intuition as to what makes a great guitar.  There is no better way to understand instruments than to handle and play one after another, in the studio, on stage or in the shop, comparing and contrasting every last detail.

Photo 2011

The Milkbombs

Will's first bass gig, 8th grade; The "Milkbombs"!

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