Gerald Sheppard Guitars

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by Teja Gerken

Like most luthiers, Tennessee-based Gerald Sheppard began building guitars because of his passion for playing the instrument. An accomplished fingerstyle player who has released an album of instrumental solo guitar music (In the Morning, available at sheppardguitars.com), Sheppard had an industrial technology background when he started to teach himself about guitar building by reading every book he could find on the topic more than two decades ago. Now in his 20th year of building guitars, Sheppard offers a full line of body styles and options, but he considers himself to be a custom maker, rather than someone who re-creates standard models. A regular at North Carolina’s Swannanoa Gathering (he’s been the Guitar Week’s staff luthier since 2003), Sheppard built an instrument commemorating the camp’s 20th anniversary in 2012, and the guitar was raffled to benefit the Swannanoa scholarship fund. Sheppard currently builds 14–18 guitars a year, and his prices start at $8,190.

"This is my personal guitar, built with a German spruce top and Madagascar rosewood back and sides. It is a multiscale guitar (24.9 inches at the treble side, 25.56 at the bass side) with several cool options. While it is basically my grand concert design, it also has a beveled Venetian cutaway to facilitate access to the higher frets and two lower-bout comfort bevels. It has a lower-bout side port to open up the chamber and allow the top to move more freely. The multiscale design is particularly favorable for the player who enjoys alternate tunings or low tunings similar to that of a baritone guitar." —Gerald Sheppard

Contact Info

Gerald Sheppard Guitars

316 Hunters Crossing Lane

Kingsport, TN 37664

(423) 349-5582

sheppardguitars.com

Excerpted from Acoustic Guitar June 2013

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