About Mark Lacey

During my career building and restoring guitars I have had the opportunity to work with some of the icons of popular music and jazz including:

Aerosmith, America, Howard Alden, Jackson Browne, Credence Clearwater Revival, Duran Duran, Herb Ellis, Pink Floyd, John Fogerty, Bruce Forman, Peter Frampton, Frank Gambale, GIT students and instructors, David Alan Grier, The Hard Rock Cafes, Jacksons, Bon Jovi, Leo Kottke, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul McCartney, Jeff Meyer, Hall and Oates, Jake Owen, John Porter, Terje Rypdahl, Louie Shelton, Rod Stewart, Tiny Tim, U2 and Stevie Ray Vaughan.

 

My career began in 1974 where I attended The London College of Furniture & Interior Design, which is now part of The London Guildhall University. The college offered a three year full-time course in Musical Instrument Technology. I spent the first two years building mostly early-fretted instruments from the renaissance and baroque periods, which included lutes, guitars, citterns and viols. In my final year I focused on modern fretted guitars.

After college, I moved to Oslo, Norway and spent four years working as a repairman for Norway's largest importer of musical instruments; Norsk Musikk Instrument Company A/S. During this time I traveled to America and Germany to attend repair courses at Ovation, Peavey and Hohner.

In 1979 vintage expert and dealer George Gruhn offered me a position as a repairman and in 1981 I moved to Nashville. This was a valuable education, as I was able to observe what can go wrong with guitars over time and learned how to correct the problems.

In 1983 I located to Los Angeles, following an offer to run a custom guitar shop for pick-up designer Bill Lawrence. The following year I decided to strike out on my own. My first venture was repairing and building out of another store in Hollywood called Voltage Guitars. This continued until 1986 when George Gruhn contacted me again asking if I would work at the Guild guitar factory located in Westerly, Rhode Island. At Guild I doubled as quality control and design engineer. I was responsible for getting the Ashbury Bass and the new line of solid bodies into production as well as the new Gruhn acoustic models.

A year later I returned to Los Angeles to open my own custom guitar shop, which was called "The Guitar Garage" located just off the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I hired two repairmen to help with the workload and within a short time we were inundated with repair work. This allowed me to devote my time exclusively to making instruments. At first, I was building mostly solid-body electrics and flattops. In 1989 I started making archtop and carved top semi-solid body electrics.

I returned to Nashville in 1995 and began working at home.

My services have been sought as a consultant for Eastman Stings Archtops with three trips to their Beijing factory and by Two Old Hippies to assist with their imported flattops.

I am featured in magazine articles including Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Just Jazz Guitar and several foreign publications. My instruments appear in many guitar related books and online websites. My guitars can also be heard on many recordings. I have also lectured at two A.I.S.A. symposiums about archtop guitar construction and affordable CNC for luthiers.  Mark Lacey