While it was definitely my mother who inspired me to play guitar (and still provides encouragement for all of the endeavors in my life), I think that my father was the person who inspired me to build guitars. My father (a machinist by trade) is an individual who can seemingly fix and build anything, and my brother is the apple that didnt fall far from the tree. I started playing guitar at the age of 11, and was much better with a guitar in my hands than I was with a wrench - a bit of a black sheep among a family of mechanically inclined men. Music was definitely the talent that came natural to me. As I grew older, I wanted to be able to create or build things like the other men in my family could, and eventually fulfilled some of those ambitions by working on old cars. But once I started playing classical guitar in 1994, busting knuckles and breaking nails on cars was no longer practical, and I shifted my energies toward working on guitars. For me, it was the best of both worlds, combining music and mechanics.
This was about the same time that luthiers were starting to advertise on the Internet, and they had pictures and explanations of their design principles. After purchasing several guitar-making books combined with hours of phone conversations with John Gilbert, Douglas Ching, and Steve Walter, I became completely obsessed with building a guitar. In the beginning I destroyed a lot of nice tone woods and spent a substantial amount of money on phone bills, but I kept building and repairing instruments, and I feel like its a real niche for me.