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World's Greatest Modern Luthiers & Designers

 Below is a short list of Luthiers, Designers and Visionaries that I have worked with and that I have learned from over the years. I have not listed everybody. And I probably won't ever finish this page. It has been a privilege a pleasure and a tremendous honor knowing all of these guys.

I have not listed anyone on this page
 that I don't know personally

Kerry Livgren Playing one Of Jeff Terwilleger's Masterpieces

Dave Bunker Senior

Dave Bunker is an amazing Luthier, He is in his late 70's and still ahead of the current times. He still resided up near Seattle. Dave is also an amazing musician (Rare For A Luthier)  He played with Elvis. He also invented the PBC headless guitars, He Ghost Built all the American Ibanez Guitars in the 90's.
It's not that his ears are big.... It's just that his hair is short  ha ha

Dean Zelinsky

Ed Roman & Paul Reed Smith 1989
I am holding my original pink Signature guitar that Paul gave me.
I have known Paul since he started in the mid 70's,
Paul Smith was my original inspiration to build custom guitars.
Today when I design my guitars, I always try to go one better than Paul.
I use him as the benchmark for quality, tone & design.
It's just a classic case of the student trying to outdo the teacher !!!

Bernie Rico Senior  R.I.P.
I learned a real lot from this great man.
I have also tried very hard to outdo his designs.
I have the added advantage today of better wood selection capabilities.
Better electronics available & better more skillful craftsmen
 Most of these craftsmen have been building these guitars for 30 years.
I am lucky to have 3 or 4 of his key employees on my staff today.

Rick Gledura
One of my own discoveries, Rick is a good friend and an excellent builder.
He has the unique ability that most Luthiers don't have.
His guitars sound good, play really well and most of them are gorgeous
the fit & finish is dead on, The balance is good. they are true works of art.

I have worked with many talented builders who make really pretty guitars.
But they put so much finish on the neck that the guitar plays horribly.
Or the fit and finish is awesome but the balance is off. 

There were two builders I have known that were very talented woodworkers.
They both made some very sweet looking guitars.
But they just didn't sound good !!!!
 They were easy to sell because they were pretty.
 Most of the original owners ended up selling them.

Grover Jackson with Alan Holdsworth

Grover has been a huge help to me over the years.  He helped me launch the Quicksilver and taught me a lot of what I know about guitar building.
He has helped me to source out components and great builders to work with me.
He is responsible for the Rickenbacker C series, he has worked with Washburn and is best known for his incredible line of Jackson Guitars which is now wholly owned by Fender.

We have been talking about coming out with some kind of guitar together for almost 10 years.

Tony Zemaitis  R.I.P.
A talented and eccentric artist who succeeded with a substandard product because of his artistry, not his luthiery. Even so he was considered a fine luthier .

Today his standard creations go for well over $40,000 and his fancier ones have sold for over $100.000.00.  Recently I sold Jimi Hendrix's Acoustic Zemaitis for over $350.000.00. Like many of them, would barely hold tune. In the Video that we provided the buyer of Jimi playing the guitar, Jimi comments on the fact that the guitar is "hard to play".

The fascination people have with his guitars is uncanny, David Bowie, George Harrison, James Honeyman Scott, Ron Wood, Mick Jagger & many more have visited this eccentric old coot "Affectionately said" at his home workshop in the UK for a Les Paul copy with an engraved front or something with seashells covering the whole body.

I have some of the new ones that are quite different, They are 200% better quality and they are selling for 1/4 what an original sells for. I have several originals in stock also. (Call if interested)

Tom Ribbecke
Another great master builder from the Healdsburg area.

Ned Steinberger & Ed Roman

I worked for Ned Steinberger, Ned is a great guy and a full on genius. His contributions to the guitar world will rarely be duplicated.  I really got an education because I was hired by Gibson after they bought the company from him.  Ned is truly one of the great ones !!!!

Ned Steinberger ranks up there with Leo Fender & Rick Turner & Paul Reed Smith. His inventions and innovations have revolutionized the entire guitar business. If there is a Mount Rushmore for Luthiers Ned would be up there.

When I worked at Steinberger, I learned about the part of the business that no one wants to know about. Working for Gibson made me very cynical & bitter about the soft white corporate underbelly of the guitar business.  Sometimes I wish I had never worked for Gibson!!!!

Working For Gibson can only be compared to meeting a famous person that you have idolized for years.
Then you find out that he's an incredible dolt !!!!



John Bolin backstage at ZZ Top with 2 of his creations
John has Ghostbuilt guitars for so many famous guitarists it's mindboggling

John & myself are close personal friends, We also have partnered up in the Crazy Cowboy, ZZ Top guitar project. John has Ghostbuilt guitars for more famous guitar players than anyone else I know.
We still work together to this day. John is not building as much as he used to. I have been trying to persuade him to move to Las Vegas and get into the mainstream guitar business. Needless to say I have been unsuccessful in my endeavors to get him back into building on a larger scale.


John Hall
The man behind the success story of Rickenbacker
Whenever I am curious about something going on in our industry.
 John always has the complete lowdown.

Jol Dantzig Of Hamer Guitars
I loved his 80's designs.
We disagree about set neck joints but I still have a lot of respect for him
It seemed like they had new models every couple of months
lately I have not seen anything interesting from Hamer  but remember Fender owns them now !!!
I am now making replicas of all those old discontinued Futurist designs

John Garcia
AKA Johnny Frog
My associate and the original builder of George Lynch's Skull N Bones

Leo Fender   R.I.P.
He revolutionized the electric guitar !!!
 In my opinion Leo's greatest achievement was the electric bass
In fact at one time all basses were called "Fender Bass"

"Leo did not know how to play a guitar"

Gary Kramer
I believe that if the management at Kramer were a little more savvy.
If they had been able to make all the guitars they had orders for,
Kramer would have put Fender and Gibson out of business in 1984 1985
If you were not a Kramer dealer in those years you didn't sell guitars.

Greg Curbow RIP

A Very Creative Luthier & A Great Guy !!!
 When Greg died a few years back it was looking like the only guitars available of his were the low cost Cort imports. We at Ed Roman guitars decided to continue building the original high end petite models which we feel are among the best basses ever made.
See The Abstract Caesar Bass


Steve Helgeson "Moonstone"
Steve & myself collaborated on the Viking Guitar
Steve was probably the first luthier ever to
offer amazing wood choices on his guitars.

Floyd Rose
I first met Floyd back when Kramer ruled the world.
Kramer put almost every other American guitar company including Fender & Gibson almost completely out of business.
This was a true demonstration of Eddie Van Halen's phenomenal power.
But the bottom line is If there was no Floyd Rose, There would have been no Kramer, They would have ended up in the basket of forgotten guitars like Travis Bean, Messenger & Richelieu.

NEW for 2008

Floyd is still developing some incredible products for guitars, his speedloader is awesome and I have been using it on many of my Abstract Guitars. Floyd always wanted to design guitars, and he hasn't had as much success with guitars as he has with tremolos etc.  Ed Roman& Floyd Rose are conspiring to revive all those early Floyd Rose guitar designs like the Tri-axe and the Enterprize.

These guitars will be signed by both Floyd & myself, There were only a handful built back in the 80's and the new ones will be improved with ebony fingerboards bound necks and nicer inlay designs.

They are now available for sale, Anyone who is looking for one of these guitars,  Please contact me at the custom shop.
Ed Roman
Custom Shop 702- 875-4552


Steve Klein
A talented luthier & forward thinker,
He is currently not building anything but I am sure he will be back !!!
The great ones never go away, They just have to stop for a while to make a living !!!!
We Have Klein Guitars In Stock Call For Information

Tim Wilson & Mike Shannon
Jackson Guitars
Grover Jackson introduced me to Mike Shannon in 1993
  Mike has built many custom guitars for some of my special customers under the
 Abstract Brand Name.

Stuart Spector & Jack Nau of EMG

Semie Moseley  R. I. P.
A real character & true genius
Undercapitalized and a bit over the top.
His Mosrite guitar line is the third most copied brand in the world !!!
I have been involved with Mosrite Guitars for about 10 years.
I am only now starting to realize just what an awesome guitar these are.
I came in this door a bit late, But better late than never!!
When I was a kid I owned every guitar brand I could beg borrow or steal.
I could never afford a Mosrite, they were probably the most expensive guitar of that time.
I never owned one as a youngster and I now realize what I missed.
I urge everyone to check one of these out, They are pretty awesome !!!!
Totally made In USA only a couple of miles from the original factory
The shop is headed up by Dana Moseley,  Semie's daughter

Have Ed Roman build a themed guitar for you or your company

  Your Motorcycle       Your Car     Your Boat
 Your Wife, Your Family or Your Mistress
Your Favorite Rockstar     Your Favorite Vegas Hotel
Your Favorite Sports Team    Your Favorite Movie or TV Show
Your Favorite Hobby      Your Motorcycle Club      Your Secret Society
Your Country    Your Coat of Arms   Your Personal Symbol

 If you like money we can build you a guitar covered with $100.00 Bills
We can do it with fake bills so the cost is not too bad !!!!

Bernie Rico Jr. & Family

Bernie Jr & Sr  in 1998

Jim Jaros
Another great builder who gave up making guitars. Feeding your family is tough when you are an artist.
The guitar that Jim is holding is a gift that I gave him when I was producing the Jaros guitars. My shop built about 150 of them over a 3 year period.

When I bought Baker USA Guitars when Gene Baker went Bankrupt, I did not have the time to build the Jaros Guitar brand any longer.
I sold the brand name to a good customer of mine who had bought a couple of Jaros Guitars from me

"He liked it so much he bought the company"  Ha Ha

The Original Jim Jaros guitars are numbered under #999
The Ed Roman Jaros guitars start at  #1000
The Dave Weiler models all start above #2000

Tom Holmes with one of his singlecut models

For those of you who have heard of Tom's pickups & assume he is a pickup builder.
Tom used to build all of Billy Gibbon's guitars in the early pre bearded ZZ Top days.
Many people mistake Tom's guitars for Gibson's or Gretsch Billy Bo's.   
Today Tom is hand winding some pretty magical pickups. If you have a spare $390.00 I can hook you up.  Ed Roman is currently the only Tom Holmes Dealer in The USA. Tom Handles the Japanese & European market himself. He is actually rather famous over there.

Gary Jacobs
If any of you are lucky enough to own a Gary Jacobs Guitar, Then you will understand why I have put him on this page. Sadly Gary is no longer building guitars.
Building guitars is not the most profitable thing you can do with your life.  Believe me I can make much more money selling Gibsons & Fenders than making my own. Plus, there is practically a zero investment, when you carry major mass produced brands. I mean all the inventory eventually sells and the prices go up every year.
Think about this for a second.  Let's say, Gibson has a 10% price increase. Companies like Guitar Center could conceivably make $1,250.000.00 in a single day simply by adding the 10% cost in on their main computer on the inventory that they already own. This operation could be done by a computer in less than 10 seconds. Now imagine, what if all the major companies gave you a warning that they were going to have a price increase. This way a large dealer like GC could place a $ order the day before the price increase & make another million. Why do you think I carry so much inventory, It's probably the best way to make a nice clean 5% to 15% profit every year.
The bottom line is you have to love building guitars to do it because in that part of the business it's impossible to get rich. My best boutique builder Jeff Terwilliger (JET Guitars) whose guitars sell in the above $6,000.00 range actually has a day job. Hell, I would love to just build guitars, but I need the majors to subsidize my cost of doing business or I could not afford to continue.

Wayne Charvel
n the right place at the right time, Wayne Charvel & Grover Jackson hit the big time in 1982 building guitars for every roc kstar imaginable.
Today a San Dimas Charvel will bring stupid money. People just assume that if they buy one of those they will sound like Van Halen did in his first & second albums.   Oh Well,   sigh

Today Wayne & his son Mike are still making the same style guitars that made them famous in the 80's.

They cost about 6 times more today so they have a rough time selling through a dealer network. There simply is no room for a dealer.

BC Rich just reintroduced their Gunslinger which is their version of the Wayne guitar. The list price is well over 5,000.00
Street price $3,600.00.  In the 80's they sold for $660.00


Sheldon Dingwall
Personally I really like the sound of the fan fretted Dingwall Bass.  I am replacing my own early priceless Prima (pre fire) model that I have owned for quite some time with a new Afterburner simply because I like the brighter tone.

These days I am only building about 50 Basses a year. Incidentally I started as a bass builder.
I actually like the Dingwall lower cost models better than his really expensive models.
His guitars are moderately priced but awesome sounding.

The only thing I like better is the Abstract Caesar Bass
Mike Tobias
Back in the 80's when I first started building my own guitars, Mike was kind enough to help me find some sources for wood. Many Luthiers are very secretive about wood sources because good wood is what makes good instruments and it's very hard to find the good stuff. I visited Mike's facility in Burbank before Gibson purchased his good name. Today Mike is still building under the MTD name.


So don't buy a Tobias guitar and expect it be a real Mike Tobias product.    It could be a Gibson imported low end guitar with the name Tobias on it.   Buyer Beware


Ron Wickersham
Ron Wickersham & Rick Turner are the grandfathers of the custom guitar business.
These 2 incredible luthiers started the Alembic Guitar company back in the early 70's
They have gone their separate ways today & Ron & his family Susan & Micah are still building some of the most expensive guitars the world has ever seen. Every aspiring luthier seeks to rise to the level of these guys.
I should say, Every aspiring luthier seeks to rise to their ability to charge $30,000.00 plus for a guitar!!

Rick Turner with the famous model one (LB1)

I Think Rick Is Retired Or Out Of Business No One has Answered The Phone In Over A Year
The first ones were built at the Alembic factory before Rick & Ron split up
In the 70's I used to buy Alembic guitars from their national sales manager
Paul Rothschild who was the manager & producer of "The Doors"
See The Abstract  Tiberius Guitars

Harvey Citron

Joe Veillette`
Inventor Of The Baritone Guitar

I used to carry Veillette Citron when I started back in the mid 70's. Today these guys have separated but they are both building great instruments.  I have partnered up with Joe Veillette to bring a piccolo 12 string guitar to market.

Dana Bourgeois (BurJ wah) has been building great acoustic guitars ever since I can remember. I personally owned several of the ones he made when he was building Paul Reed Smith's short lived Acoustic guitar line.  I bought one of his when he started his own company in approximately 1992.

I don't list too many acoustic builders on this page at this time, Mainly because I concentrate on electrics and I don't include anyone here that I don't know personally. I own 250 electric guitars personally and only about 5 acoustics. I am starting to appreciate fine acoustics more and more so I am looking to slowly expand my acoustic collection. I will of course be keeping my fabulous Bourgeois # 17

Mike Pedulla has been building great basses since the 70's and they keep getting better all the time. In fact I personally own an original Thunderbolt model.
I always pick up little gems of information from every luthier that I deal with.
One day about 20 years ago I called him to complement him on his new lower priced Thunderbolt bass. I had just received my first one and I really liked it !!!  Being a typical dealer know it all, I suggested to Mike that the guitar was perfect in every way except the bridge looked a little skimpy. I commented that "It reminded me of a low cost Fender bridge". In my opinion a custom made high quality bass should have had some type of cast massive looking bridge.  (Always makes them easier to sell)

Mike responded to me by asking me how I liked the sound of the instrument? I replied that "I thought it was excellent and that the newer technique slappers & funk players would really appreciate the clean crisp spank."

Mike went on to explain to me that he had given it a lot of thought. He told me, that if I put one of those Badass, or ABM heavy duty bridges on. The bright spank would disappear, He told me, that the original great Fender bass sound, relied on that cheesy looking tin bridge.  I never forgot that, but over the years I learned that that is only 1/4 of the equation. Just because someone uses a cheap low end bridge it does not mean that they will automatically get a great tone.  Tone is not an exact science,

Ed Roman    2007

Seymour Duncan
Overall Seymour makes the absolute best pickups In the world.

There are about 50 challengers who may do a couple of things here & there that might be a little different. From a subjective standpoint even better.

I will repeat though, Overall Seymour makes the absolute best passive guitar pickups in the world. There is no other company out there that I know of that comes close. I am quite sure that most of the people on this page will agree with me.  Just check out any premium guitar and 90% of them use Seymour Duncan as their high end pickup supplier.

There are many boutique pickup guru's out there Rick Turner is probably one of the best of them, Rick & Seymour are working on projects together. This proves that the Cream truly rises to the top,