Sebastopol Guitar Festival


Woodworking is about passion and guitar making is a form of that passion. Woodworking is challenging enough but building a guitar requires making something out of wood that not only looks good but also sounds good.

Kevin Russell is a musician and show promoter who lives in Seabastopol Calif.  Kevin is so passionate about guitars that he decided to stage the first Sebastopol Guitar Festival.

Two of my fellow band members from “The Bench Doggs” are none other than Tom Ribbecke who is an incredible arch top guitar maker and Larry Robinson, one of the finest inlay artisits in the country, so I had to go out there and check out the festival to see what my friends were up to.

Larry Robinson's table at Guitar Festival

Larry Robinson talks about his work at the Sebastopol Guitar Festival

Larry had some of his instruments on display and I am always inspired everytime I see his work.  Take a look at the amazing detail work that Larry put into his “Nouveau Guitar”.

Nouveau Guitar

Nouveau Guitar is magnificent beyond description

close up of Nouveau Guitar

This is a close up view of “Nouveau Guitar”

nouveau guitar back

This is the incredibly beautiful back of the “Nouveau Guitar”

Tom Ribbbecke, Master Luthier, and his shop foreman Stuart Day were on hand to answer questions about the amazing qualities of the arch top guitars they build. Tom has been designing and building guitars for over forty years. His craftsmanship and innate skills result in guitars best described as “extraordinary” and exceeding all expectations.

Tom and Stuart with guitars

Master Luthier Tom Ribbecke and his shop foreman Stuart Day

My friends Richard Prenkert and John Knutson also had their guitars on display as well as many other great guitar makers.

Richard and his guitars

Richard Prenkert with two of his guitars

John on guitar

John Knutson plays one of his guitars at the festival

The Festival had a down home, relaxed feel to it.  Guitar makers shared their creations with fellow makers, friends and guitar enthusiasts as well as others that were new to this genre and curious to see what is was all about.

I was fortunate to be able to capture some of the sounds of the festival when I walked into one of the display rooms.  John Knutson, and Bill Iberti  were taking a break from exhibiting their work and found themselves playing some music with another musician.  The wonderful melodies captured the attention of all that were within earshot.

Tom was asked to lead a panel discussion about what it takes to earn a living as a guitar maker. Some of the people that work with Tom were on hand to talk about their work as well as Robert Lee,  another guitar maker who owns his own company.

guitar making discussion

Stuart Day, Maegen Wells, Tom Ribbecke, Timmy Lovold, Frankie DiSouza, Mike Gutsch and Robert Lee, participate in panel discussion about their passion for guitar making

Master Guitarist Mike Dowling performed on stage and was captured in this brief video by Master Luthier Bruce Sexauer:

Mike Dowling Video   

A great time was had by all. Tom, Maegen, Stuart, myself and Larry were captured in this photo at the end of the Festival.

Tom and the group at the festival

Tom Ribbecke, Maegen Wells, Stuart Day, David Marks, and Larry Robinson at the close of the 2013 Sebastopol Guitar Festival

Larry will be teaching a class at my woodworking school here in Santa Rosa, CA on Shell Inlay on March 23 & 24, 2013.  For a full class description and registration in, go the Classes Section of my website:        Classes Page

Here is the link to the Bench Doggs website where you can see me, Larry, Tom, and Chet playing rock & roll: The Bench Doggs

To see Tom Ribbecke’s guitars : Ribbecke Guitars

To see more of Larry Robinson’s inlay work: Robinson Custom Inlays