challenge a Les Paul. I really like that tone. David Torn appeared
on my radar in the ’90s, and he is one of those rare free spirits.
How did Torn affect your building approach?
What Means Solid, Traveller? was the first Torn record I bought. At
that time, I had already designed the Birdfish, but David had an
influence when I designed the Tesla. One year after I introduced
the Tesla, he called me and told me he liked it and asked me to
build a custom version with a [Steinberger] Trans Trem and another
control for his looper.
What do you remember most about your earliest guitars—the
I still look back on that early period with fondness—it was filled
with an intense desire to learn how to build a perfect guitar. It was
an experimental time—not in the manner of pushing the envelope,
but in achieving a professional building level. I was working toward
critical evaluation and getting my guitars accepted as equivalent to
or better than those in the shops. When I achieved that, my attention switched to guitar design. That was when I decided to study