2017 G.A.L. Convention

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Guild member Michael Bashkin builds and repairs guitars full-time in Fort Collins, CO. Before lutherie he was a soil scientist for the U.S. Forest Service. Before that he hiked the Continental Divide Trail from Mexico to Canada for apparently no good reason.

Thursday, July 22, 10:30am - Steel String Guitar
Friday, July 23, 8:30am - Steel String Guitar


Twenty-four-year member Greg Byers has been building classical guitars ever since he discovered they didn’t just come from stores. He lives and works in a home he built for himself, one filled with a musical family.

Friday, July 21, 10:30am – Workshop: Classical Guitar Sound: Seeking Quality and Consistency


Twenty-year GAL member Kerry Char repairs and restores fine acoustic instruments and still finds time to build classical, flamenco, and steel string guitars, not to mention Weissenborns and ukes. He has a special interest in and reputation for his work on harp guitars Ä restoring them, and building replicas of wonderful old Dyers and Knutsons.

Friday, July 21, 1:00pm – Workshop: Adventures in Vintage Guitar Restoration


Nathan Ching has been a member since 1992. He came to lutherie later in life after suffering a serious injury as a carpenter. On a vacation in California he met famed luthier Ervin Somogyi by showing up at his shop unannounced. Ervin discouraged Nathan from pursuing a life in lutherie, saying he'd be poor if he did. But that was enough to pump up his contrarian spirit; since then he has built over sixty guitars and ukes, and repaired thousands.

Saturday, July 22, 10:30am – Ukulele Listening Session (moderator)

Erick Coleman has been repairing guitars for over 25 years, working by appointment only out of his home shop in Athens, Ohio. As senior technical advisor at Stewart-MacDonald, Erick participates in the research and development of new tools, writes product instructions, and educates the staff. He has conducted numerous guitar repair workshops at the Guild of American Luthiers and Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans conventions as well as at the Northwoods Seminar and Purdue University. A guitarist for nearly 4 decades, Erick performs regularly with his band the D-Rays.

Wednesday, July 19, 2:30pm – Workshop: A Thousand or Less Repair Tips (with Evan Gluck)

After sixteen years of full-time guitar making, twenty-two-year Guild member Mike Doolin has retired from professional lutherie to play music full time. This doesn’t mean he has quit building guitars, it just means now he gets to keep them all.

Friday, July 21, 10:30am – Steel String Guitar Listening Session (moderator)
Friday, July 21, 1:00pm – Workshop: 7-String Guitar: Considerations for Luthiers and Players

Thirty-seven-year member Jeffrey R. Elliott has frequently contributed both to American Lutherie and GAL Conventions. When he’s not building guitars, he can be found constructing leaning towers of Legos with his grandkids, tracking the Hubble, or listening to music of all sorts.

Thursday, July 20, 10:30am – Classical Guitar Listening Session (moderator)

Long-time GAL member Dan Erlewine is a frequent writer and convention speaker for the Good Ol’ Guild. If you repair guitars, he is your superstar.

Thursday, July 20, 8:30am – Lecture: Training the Next Generation (with Frank Ford)

Frank Ford is a guru for guitar repair people, and his website is a treasure trove of guitar repair info.

Thursday, July 20, 8:30am – Lecture: Training the Next Generation (with Dan Erlewine)

Ten-year GAL member Evan Gluck says he is not the world’s best guitar repairman, but Google says he is. Like many luthiers, he made models as a kid, then got into a rock band. His shop is in his New York City apartment. Evan was a popular presenter at the 2011 and 2014 GAL Conventions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2:30pm – Workshop: A Thousand or Less Repair Tips (with Erick Coleman)
Saturday, July 22, 10:30am – Workshop: When Your Business Hits a Bump

Chris Herrod was born in Healdsburg, California and lives there still. He has been Sales Manager at Luthiers Mercantile Int’l for eighteen years. Chris and LMI have been with the Good Ol’ Guild for a long, long time. He performs as a singer/songwriter in local venues.

Thursday, July 20, 1:00pm – Workshop: Talking about Tone

Jason Lollar

Friday, July 21, 1:00pm – Workshop: Pickup Design Principles and Small Shop Practices

Twenty-four-year GAL member Stephen Marchione spent his earliest years in Texas, then Italy, then Texas again. He went to New York City to make it as a guitarist, but ended up becoming a luthier. Now he’s back in Texas and at the top of his game.

Wednesday, July 19, 2:30pm – Workshop: Fitting Bars and Braces with Hand Tools
Thursday, July 20, 1:00pm – Workshop: Shaping Necks with Hand Tools
Saturday, July 22, 10:30am – Workshop: From Good to Great: Refining Your Work Before You Finish (with Charles Rufino)

Graham McDonald is an Australian mandolin builder who has published two books on instrument making and a third on the history of the mandolin. He has been a member of the GAL for most of the past 33 years. Despite living on the other side of the globe, he has attended four previous GAL Conventions and been a presenter at two of them.

Sunday, July 23, 9:00am – Lecture: A Field Guide to Mandolins

Eleven-year GAL member Robbie O’Brien was born in Germany to American parents, and grew up in Atlanta. He became interested in the guitar as a young medical student in Brazil. Now he’s been teaching lutherie for over twenty-five years.

Wednesday, July 19, 2:30pm – Workshop: Five Basic Steps of Guitar Setup
Saturday, July 22, 8:30am – Lecture: Build a Classical Guitar in a Week

Charles Rufino has been immersed in the art of the violin maker since 1974, studying at the Newark School of Violin Making in England and working under “Nigo” Nigogosian of New York and Carl Becker of Chicago before opening his own shop in 1984. He is a full member of the American Federation of Violin and Bow Makers and the International Society of Violin and Bow Makers. Like Bach, he enjoys playing the viola in several community orchestras so that he can be “in the middle of the harmony.

Friday, July 21, 10:30am – Workshop: Setting a Violin Neck Like a Professional
Saturday, July 22, 10:30am – Workshop: From Good to Great: Refining Your Work Before You Finish (with Stephen Marchione)

Federico Sheppard was born in Mexico, and he began building guitars in 1979. He now splits his time between workshops in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Carrion de los Condes, Spain, where he is artist in residence. Dr. Sheppard is also a practicing chiropractor with a special interest in orthopedics as it applies to musicians. He has been a GAL member for a total of twenty-two years.

Sunday, July 23, 10:30am – Lecture: Guitar Maker without Borders

Ted White
Thursday, July 20, 1:00pm – Workshop: Mandolin Acoustics: Practical Workshop Techniques

Science and Technology Seminar
Wednesday, July 19, 2:30pm – Workshop

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