Art has been building and repairing stringed musical instruments since 1978. Starting in a small repair shop in East San Diego, Art worked on all the known stringed instruments: guitars, banjos, violins, cellos, mandolins, ukes, ouds, bazoukis, et al. He also picked up work from the electronics techs such as repairing microphones, speakers and crossovers, and replacing components in digital key boards or hot-rodding Rhodes or Wurlitzers. He attended seminars at the Gibson, Kalamazoo and JBL factories which gave him a close-up view of how the big guns play. The factory experience and the day-to-day interaction with clients and their instruments gave Art the foundation he employs today: Make things that fulfill the requirements; meet standards and don't break or are easy to repair.
A ten year stint at Taylor Guitars helped to create an outline for A.Davis Guitars production and design. Spearheading the final assembly department which delivered a million dollars worth of product every month, Art learned the right way and the wrong way to build instruments. He delivered 7 or 8 thousand guitars and turned only one into a second that went to Bob's brother. He oversaw the completion of nearly 20,000 guitars and saved plenty with his excellent and creative repair skills. There were many lessons learned at Taylor but the core of his current work started much earlier.
Perusing books on aviation and automobiles as a child. Building and flying model aircraft. Surfboard construction and repairing or customizing cars. These things may seem unrelated but they are crucial to understanding the way Art has applied modern technology to a centuries old craft while maintaining the classic integrity of a traditional luthier.
A lifetime study of art and industrial design also play an integral role in how the guitars are put together. The pragmatism of Raymond Loewy or Henry Ford, combined with the purity of abstract artist Joan Miro will continue to provide influence as Art follows the path of Stradivari and DeTorres.
After leaving Taylor there was no path but take everything learned about the guitar and give it a new future. With A.Davis Guitars, Art wanted to combine the mass production he experienced at Gibson, JBL, and Taylor with the humanity and classical expression in traditional luthiery. He succeeded by keeping the guitar in the hands of the builder and reducing environmental resistance by designing tools and processes that made daily production easy, safe and predictable. The product and process were sound as evidenced by the video interviews and many records and film scores A.Davis Guitars appear on. The marketing and sales were inadequate; giving Art something else to study and learn from. Eventually the 2008 market crash took its toll and the company quietly and sadly folded.
Recently, the completion of a computer science degree has introduced a new group of heroes to Art's hall of fame. The scientific work of Galileo, Einstein, Newton or Fibonacci may seem distant from Jackson Browne, David Crosby or Jay-Z and Beyonce but the fact remains that music can be defined by math. In the spirit of all the great thinkers in our history, Art Davis Guitars will concentrate purely on the guitar as a musical vehicle with optimum performance. The next thing...