INTERVIEW BY THOMAS SCOTT MCKENZIE
Randy Parsons abandoned the guitar after years of playing in high school and college. He quit, assuming he had no future in music, and ended up working for the city of Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle. But
then, one day, he received a vision of sorts that sent him on a journey toward custom-made guitars
made of exotic and unusual materials—in addition to interactions with some of his childhood heroes.
That journey came after a period of serious introspection mixed with sweat and hard work, a blend of the
esoteric and do-it-yourself know-how. Despite starting with zero training as a luthier, he has built a business with five different shops and celebrity clientele that includes Jimmy Page, Joe Perry, Jack White,
and Sammy Hagar. He works out of his main Seattle shop, which is run by five women—three of whom
are luthiers—and he also has Parsons Guitars repair shops in four Washington-area Guitar Centers.
We recently spoke to Parsons about his history, using bones in guitars, the significance of the number
333, and the fusion of mystic vibes and good old-fashioned hard work.
Left: Randy Parsons (left) with Jimmy Page at a star-packed gathering. Right: Page playing the Strolling with Bones flattop Parsons made for
him. It features Kasha-inspired bracing and a secret button to light up the interior, and its neck, fretboard, back, and sides are all of ebony.