www.montuoroguitars.com

MONTUORO GUITAR CO.

Maker Of Traditionally Inspired Golden Age Acoustic Guitars

I started my career in the 1980's, when I moved to Los Angeles and began working at a vintage guitar facility. I worked on guitars used by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Peter Frampton to name a few. Keeping guitars in great running condition and continuing my journeyman experience, I realized a very important thing - it’s not just the guitar. It’s the person playing the guitar that makes the instrument sound great; the instrument does not play itself. A Luthier must cater to the needs of the player and I have always felt that a good Luthier would make great shrink.

I continued to listen and work with some of the most inspirational people in the world. I feel that sometimes I learned more about my craft by just being thoughtful towards what someone expected out of their guitar, than by how many thousands of an inch the low E string was from the fingerboard. I believe the guitar is a living and breathing entity, much like ourselves, and they all have their own limitations.

I continued my tenure in California until I found what I had waited a long time for, the opportunity to work with a master. I moved to the great Pacific Northwest to study under John Stephan. John has been the most inspirational part of my journey, a master craftsman from Palmer, Alaska with Houdini like skills. Together we forged a guitar bond that will last forever. John was an amazing teacher. His entire focus was on “what not to do” rather than “what to do". He felt I had my own facility and I should capitalize on it; the rest was up to me. I am indebted to him forever. Many of you may never see his work, but if you look close you can see it in mine. He is my "Guitar Father.” But, as the saying goes, I guess all good things must come to an end and John had to eventually set me free to do my own thing.

I took a position at Dusty Strings in Seattle where Ouds, violins, harps and guitars live together happily ever after. Here I spent most of my time restoring instruments young and old. I encountered some of the best ears on folks with a deep devotion for fine instruments. It was a very enriching experience that helped me continue to be considerate to what needs to be done and remember it’s “what not to do!”

While working at Dusty Strings I received a call from Luthier Bill Asher of Guitar Traditions in Santa Monica, California. It was an opportunity to help Bill get through at least 200 guitars in need of restoration, and I was up to the task.

Having the chance to work alongside Bill on some of the finest guitars ever made and further my journey was another enriching experience. Bill hails from Rick Turner’s world and has a keen eye for detail. It helped keep me on my toes to the point where our work was one and the same. I spent 3 years working at Bill’s shop until I had the burning desire for my own.

I went a unique route and moved to San Juan Island on the Pacific and built my humble little shop in the trees. Going where it is quiet I felt I could hone my skills. Some of which was a passion for guitars built by the infamous Larson Brothers.

While at Guitar Traditions I met a client who had a 30's Larson made Stahl that he had purchased from George Gruhn’s Guitar Shop. Purchased “as is” and in “need of fixing.” Not being familiar with them at the time I began my research and the more I looked, the more excited I got. That takes me to where I have been for the last 8 years, in the land of the Larson Brothers. I truly feel that Larsons are some of the finest made flattop steel string instruments to date. The progressive nature of their work is so captivating to me that it has inspired me to think about and understand so many new things about guitars. The Larson’s figured out a new interesting swing on that wheel idea that worked and still does. There is nothing out there that sounds like a Larson; that is subjective of course, but few would disagree. In the past 8 years I’ve become somewhat of a specialist in the Larson realm of refurbishing, working on well over 300 of their creations. Every instrument I received basically needed to be rebuilt, and each project has had great results.

I’ll also continue to build to order and welcome whatever you might dream up. To insure consistency in the product, I work alone, building only 10 to 12 guitars per year. My principles for acoustics are inspired by what I have learned over the years through restoration work and in my opinion a new guitar can be made in a fraction of the time it can take to do most detailed restoration work.

I will continue to be available to do fine restoration work, keeping our old friends healthy and performing at their best, with much respect for where they have been and the great music they have made. I really appreciate you taking the time to look over my bio, to see where I am coming from and where it is I plan to go.

Sincerely,

Guitar Maker Frankie Montuoro

January 11 2017

Ordering Information

Please note that as of March 2016 I am no longer accepting custom guitar orders.

Despite rumors to the contrary, I am not retiring! I have stopped accepting new orders as of the fall of 2016, but I am continuing to fill orders on my waiting list, as well as developing some new special runs of guitars which will be offered in the ' Currently in Stock' section of this website. I intend to continue to build guitars as long as I am able to do so, hopefully for a long time.

For those of you on my waiting list, I thank you for your patience and hope I can reward you with a guitar that will be a worthy companion for your many days of playing enjoyment.

 

May 23 2015

Historic Tuners & Pick Guards

Montuoro Guitar Co. 1931 to 1935 Brown celluloid pickguard / copyright 2015 Montuoro Guitar Co. 

Montuoro Guitar Co. 1931 to 1935 Brown celluloid pickguard / copyright 2015 Montuoro Guitar Co. 

 

In an effort to create the most realistic version of some instruments made from 1931 to 1935 specifically, I have taken it upon myself to fabricate the most accurate reproduction of the famed Grover G-98 tuner that was used during this period. These tuners will incorporate all of the same features in exacting detail as the originals, which includes-

6 : 1 tuning ratio

Solid brass that is plated

Clipped end plate

Brass drive rivet as opposed to screw

Correct size "Butterbean" button

Correct worm gear with 12 tooth helical worm drive gear

Note: These tuners will not be made available for retail sale, and only made available on Montuoro Guitar Co. "bench copy" instruments.

Montuoro Guitar Co. 1931 to 1935 Brass rivet tuning machine / copyright 2015 Montuoro Guitar Co. 

Montuoro Guitar Co. 1931 to 1935 Brass rivet tuning machine / copyright 2015 Montuoro Guitar Co. 


Historic "Bench Cop" Series

History does have a way of repeating itself. The "Bench Copy" series of historic instruments from the golden age built exclusively at the Montuoro Guitar Co. coming soon.

April 6 2015

 

2015 And Beyond

Hello and welcome to the new year. With the dawn of each new year comes a different set of plans to follow. I have been fortunate enough to amass a pretty substantial amount of work, with both custom builds and vintage restoration.

Being a one-man shop most certainly presents its challenges from time to time, And the largest challenge it seems is time itself. As of this year I have officially hit a 3-1/2 to 4 year turn around time for custom order builds. As for vintage restoration I am currently operating at a 2 to 2-1/2 year turn around.

This means if you order a guitar today, 1/5/15, it will be close to 3 years before I can even start your build. And for restorations it will be 2 years minimum before I can begin to tend to your instrument.

A wise sage of a person once told me "a man must know his limitations", and I find that sentiment very poignant. So currently I will only be entertaining clients who are seriously interested or are fully understanding of my current wait time. I realize it is a wait, but alas this is what it is.

I greatly appreciate all of the interest and patronage over these years, I look forward to hopefully serving more of the guitar community once I am caught up with my present work load. I am always available via email to answer any questions you might have in the meantime....just please forgive me if I'm slow to respond.....it means I'm hard at work!

January 5th 2015

 

Julian Lage

This weekend i had the incredible and rare opportunity to get to sit and listen to a master of the guitar julian lage. Julian was in town playing with Frank Vignola, Bucky Pizzarelli, Martin Taylor, Gene Bertoncini, Ed Laub & Vinny Raniolo for Frank Vignola's Guitar Spectacular. and it delivered on the guitar spectacular part. some of the most incredible people and musicians i have ever met.

It is on the rare occasion that i actually have a guitar at the shop for someone to try when they are passing through town. lucky for me this happened when Julian was on his way through. it goes without saying that i had a lump in my throat getting to sit in front of one of my guitars while julian worked his magic. quite possibly the most deft guitarist i have met in my life. to be such an enigmatic guitar figure at only age 27 is just mind blowing. and to think he's been playing at these extreme levels of virtuosity since the tender age of 8.

I can go on and on but it would be futile. I will say that Julian is as sweet a person as his playing is. I want to thank Julian for his graciousness with his time. having these rare opportunities as a guitar maker is what makes all of your hard work manifest before you. 

Julian is seen playing a 16" 0000 size, Larson bros. inspired Style 7 "Special solo"

Sincerely Frankie

January 6th 2015

 

 Fretboard journal live nels cline and julian lage

Recently I received an email from Jason Verlinde the publisher of the fretboard journal as well as Nels cline. they were kind enough to share this video with me. Nels makes mention of an instrument I build for him way back in 2006 and its use on the duos upcoming acoustic guitar record.  Nels and Julian are seen here performing a few tunes off of their new album entitled "Room".

January 23rd 2015