When I was about 14 years old, a friend and mentor taught me to play guitar. Just open chords on the Fedco finger-bleeding guitar that my parents got me. It wasn't much, but turned out to be enough. I played that 3/4 size toy guitar wherever they'd let me, (which wasn't many places) - but we did have fun.
Eventually I moved on to better instruments, but I still have that thing in a closet around here. The bridge is lifting, not because it's coming unglued but because the thin plywood/pressboard top is bending up from the pull of the strings. I keep it around as a reminder that I want the guitars I build to be super comfortable with low action and fantastic playability.
I don't know why I never thought of making guitars sooner. Perhaps it was because this obsession needed to wait until this particular time in my life to avoid driving my family crazy. Well, I actually do drive them crazy anyhow - but it would've been worse when the girls were younger and things were different. I've always done some woodworking, even though the last woodworking class I took was Mr. Montanari's woodshop class in the 7th grade. Several years back I was thinking about getting a new guitar and wasn't sure what I wanted, or if I could find what I thought I wanted, and at some point it hit me that maybe I could build one myself.
So I set about teaching myself to build guitars. I read forums, books, I downloaded tutorials, I watched countless YouTube videos and even listened to a podcast. I created a lot of very expensive sawdust and kindling at first. After a while though I got better at it. I took a couple of classes on specific topics that I needed more help with. I soaked up everything I could find, and I still do.
Now the guitars I build play and sound excellent, as well as display the natural beauty of the wood. Still, I'm sure the next great one is right around the corner. I always seem to have more great ideas than I have time or money to build them, but I suppose some degree of self-limitation is necessary anyhow.
For now though, I have plenty of projects. I'll keep this blog and website updated, and if you have any questions to ask or stories to tell, drop me a line. I'm always game to talk guitar building.