BY GAYLA DRAKE PAUL
There’s something compelling about a guitar maker
whose client list includes Chet Atkins, Lenny
Breau, Tommy Emmanuel, Jerry Reed, John
Knowles, Steve Wariner, José Feliciano, Richard
Smith, and Richie Sambora. It gets your attention. When some of the best guitar players
ever all gravitate toward a particular brand,
you can pretty much trust it’s the good stuff.
And Sand Guitars in Laguna Beach, California,
makes seriously good stuff. From flattops to
nylon-string electrics to carved tops, Sand
guitars are remarkable creations that have
played a role in creating legendary music. We
caught up with Kirk Sand to learn more about his
relationship with Atkins, his revolutionary cutaway
design, and his new carved-top electrics.
You started playing guitar when you were
6 years old, right?
Yes. I was a little kid playing guitar, following Peter,
Paul and Mary, the New Christy Minstrels, and the
Kingston Trio. And I was glued to the television
whenever I saw Tommy Smothers playing his
big Guild dreadnought. I was just fascinated
by guitar. I don’t remember even thinking
about doing anything else my entire
life—that was it! When I was 6, I knew
I was going to spend the rest of my
life mastering this instrument. I’m
not kidding you, I remember going
to bed and having my guitar lying
next to me. Especially if I got a
new one, I did not want to put
I’ve been there.
I’m still there. I build in batches,
so I’ll build a batch of 16 in one
group, and when I get done with
them, each night I’ll take one
home and I’ll sit on my couch and
hug it and play it and kind of fiddle
with it, just looking for any little
thing I can tweak before I send it off.
Man, I’m like a little kid.