BILL’S (MY) STORY
Music has always been a part of my life, from church choir as a youth, to band in Jr High and High school, to learning to play guitar in college. Woodworking has been a hobby since graduation from college. I’ve made various tables, bookcases, bunkbeds, and such. My father, like his father, was always tinkering with something in the shop and I can’t remember a time when dad wasn’t working on one project or another. It is hard to envision a future without a shop to tinker in, I’m just so at home there. Prior to lutherie, I spent 17 successful years (7 patents, a couple awards from GM and Delphi, and induction into the Delphi Automotive Innovation Hall of Fame) in the engineering profession.
Charis Acoustic began in my basement workshop in 1996 while looking for a nice guitar to play. After considering building my own guitar, the decision was made to give it a try. Like many others, I was hooked. There is a certain pride and accomplishment that occurs when you finish that first, second, and third instrument. To hold them in your hands and hear the music coming from your creations is a very satisfying experience that quickly becomes an addiction. The next six years were spent building and learning this craft in the evenings and on weekends. Encouragement from Michael Card and a quick visit to Jim Olson’s shop in Minnesota during this time especially inspired me. These early years and first few guitars were instrumental in developing the Character and Charisma that became Charis.
In 2002, I left engineering to pursue this lutherie passion (addiction!) full time. Who needs paid vacations and benefits! (Well, looking back, I do kind of miss that part.) Guitar building continued in my basement shop until 2010 when I moved into the current Charis Acoustic shop. My wife was very happy to have the sawdust making operation out of the house!
HOW DOES BILL DESCRIBE HIMSELF -
My preference is to do a few things well rather than do a lot of things just OK. If something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing! In engineering, it was frustrating when I had to quit tweaking and advancing the design to meet production schedules. The desire of wanting to go back and do things better was ever present. It was also evident when helping my kids with science projects and grand prix cars, and it is true of my pursuit of lutherie.
People who know me know that I am a quiet person. Happiness is found in my shop with my tools. You will not find me in front of a video camera, making “how to” videos or entertaining you on the web. You will not find me advancing my opinions on discussion forums, and I’m a fish out of water at guitar conventions.