"It is a rhythmic gift binding us to our natural human experience. The time & meter of our existence on earth is defined by this fundamental cycle. The Solstice represents our connection to what is real."
~Ryan R. Elewaut
...a new line of masterpieces...
Solstice Guitars are built individually, one by one. I believe that strategic variation is the key to creating unique & perfect instruments for different players. We use the finest materials & craftsmanship. Every guitar is finished with a complete and perfect setup. Solstice features a blend of traditional & modern design elements while using time-honored & innovative construction methods.
I've been trying to create the perfect T-style guitar. But there are too many options! And that's why the Transit is our most variable model. We offer a wide combination of specs and appointments, upgrades and customizations. The Deluxe version opens up even more possibilities. Every Transit comes stock with our unique neck joint using machine bolts and inserts (no wood screws.) We also use parallel graphite rods in combination with a modern truss rod system.
Perhaps most importantly, the Transit body is designed as a semi-hollow with specialized internal tone chambers. But we can always make yours solid, or even half-semi-hollow! Choose four different colors, four different bridge types, various spec options like nut width and fingerboard radii, neck & fingerboard woods... too many variations to mention here.
Visit the Transit page for details.
The Ecliptic model is an ideal fingerstyle guitar, with enough punch to handle some pickin'. It's a big acoustic instrument for being a small-body guitar. Every top is braced with our Woven-A-Frame neck support system and also utilizes our Compound Parabolic bracing pattern. It is our goal to seek the optimal response from each piece of wood and pair all components. During construction, all tops are individually voiced and tap-tuned. We are looking for the best possible balance of tone and potential power. Every piece, including braces, are selected based on consonant tonal characteristics and tap tones. Standard wood choices or exotic upgrade options are available. Hot hide glue is used exclusively for all bracing and the bridge joint. You can choose your own spec options and woods.
This bass is a neck-through design, built with mahogany and laminated with maple and walnut. The body wood and wings are made from locally harvested old-growth Ponderosa. The top is fully capped with figured Walnut, hiding the neck-through on top. For the pickups and electronics, Jordan chose Nordstrand P-J pickups powered by a Demeter onboard preamp. Graphite tone rods reinforce a two-way truss rod system in the neck.
The custom inlay was inspired by Jordan. The dragon & phoenix are symbols of union and balance, power and success through love and parntership, an expression of yin and yang.
past • present • future
Solstice Guitars is the result of a career dedicated to luthiery.
A SHORT STORY
I started playing acoustic guitar at the age of 13. Everything about the instrument was magical to me. When I was 14, a family friend loaned me the book Guitarmaking Tradition & Technology and I was immediately obsessed.
The very concept of a person building a guitar was like a firestormed revelation to me. The fact that this was possible for an individual was astounding. After buying a copy of that textbook I read through it twice while highlighting and making notes. My dad had an old ShopSmith tool buried deep in our garage, and it was overwhelming to learn that this dream was a real possibility. He showed me basically how it worked, and I began building my first guitar at 15. I had a natural talent and understanding of the process. And the required attention to detail.
A LONGER STORY
I was taking guitar lessons at a small shop renowned for their acoustic guitar repair work in California. While reading that book I started bugging the shop owner with questions. Lots of questions. He showed me a mail order business called Luthiers Mercantile for acoustic guitar building supplies. Back then it was all catalogs and call-in orders. My course in life was revealing itself before I knew it!
I finished my first guitar when I was 17. It was a modern classical guitar with engelmann spruce top and macassar ebony back & sides. And with it I earned my first real apprenticeship. The guitar was impressive, and not just for a kid working in his garage by himself. It was pretty good for anyone's first build. I began learning repair technique and restoration work while designing my next guitars. Then I moved to Flagstaff in 1999 to attend Northern Arizona University.
The first time I dropped out of college was to build two more guitars. After that I went back to finish my degrees in microbiology and music composition while working on this side as a repair tech.
The second time I dropped out of college was to start my own guitar store. I was a talented repair luthier by then and the opportunity came. At 23 I didn't completely know what I was getting myself into, but I was up for the challenge. This guitar journey was calling me.
The next decade was a long and arduous education in business, accounting, marketing, management and finance. That experience served me well and I learned a lot about myself, creating multiple brands and business models. Over 20 years I have become recognized as a master repair luthier. But I have always wanted to share my original guitar designs. And while I have occasionally, Solstice Guitars are the culmination of my study and career.
PHILOSOPHY & STRATEGY
My desire is to craft the best guitars possible in the style that I build. Articulate voicing and combining power with tonal balance is always my aim for acoustics. For my electric guitars, I want a vocalized and vintage tone with modern functionality. My favorite voice is the neck-middle position on a strat, and a tele neck pickup can sometimes sound like that. I design with an aesthetic that is both classic and original. And I spend a lot of time thinking about voicing, and the pairing of consonant wood components. Like most luthiers, I have an obsession with superior materials and a wood collection that keeps growing.
Throughout my career I have worked on thousands upon thousands of guitars and other instruments. (Approx. 6,500 as of 2020.) My history as a repair luthier has significantly informed my approach to design and building. The way a guitar plays and feels, along with longevity and stability are all components of my target. Aesthetic beauty, tone and function are also primary aspects of this target. It is impossible to fully understand what goes into achieving these marks without working on thousands of guitars. There are a lot of great builders out there. But only the best luthiers know how to produce stunning guitars that also play perfectly, sound amazing, and pass the test of time.
I spend a lot of time thinking about voicing and the pairing of consonant wood components... I have an obsession with superior materials and a wood collection that keeps growing."
Every piece of wood is different, just as every player and thus every guitar. I am consumed with making sure various components are chosen together for their consonance of tone and aesthetic. We build each guitar with the final target of beauty, superior voice, perfect playing action, and stability. My repair career has led me to a deeply informed understanding of what makes a good guitar sound amazing and play great, and what can make an amazing guitar sound bad. I believe in creating instruments that feature specific choices to provide you with the best set of variables for your playing style. This is what creates a perfect experience when you find the right Solstice, or when you have one made exactly for you.
I am inspired by many great builders from past and present. Specifically the true artists and craftsmen of the modern luthierie movement. I have studied the works of Ervin Somogyi and use his texts often as reference. My earlier inspiration comes from James Goodall and Dana Bourgeouis. All three of whom are masters of voicing, specifically with techniques for treating the top plate. I have also studied the works and lecture notes of John Greven and many other luthiers. I believe that a craftsman can never stop learning. And this world of modern luthiery continues to explode with builders trying many new things.
However, I am still founded and inspired by a perspective of "Tradition & Technology."
An experience is perhaps the only thing that can be truly perfect.
The Solstice event itself represents everything foundational as it relates to the patterns of life on earth. I believe humanity has forgotten how connected we are to the natural rhythms, pulses and cycles created by the rotational motion of our planet. And I'm not talking about astrology. I'm talking about how the angle of the earth's axis relative to the sun is the reason we have seasons. It's the reason trees grow the way they do. And it's the reason some trees "grow better" than others depending on their orientation and location. I'm talking about the embedded patterns and variations with which all terrestrial life grows and exists here.
Music in all forms is completely and utterly a tapestry of rhythm, pattern, frequency and pitch. All of these components are vibrational by nature. The unique window with which we perceive and enjoy music is defined by the connection we have to the fundamental vibration of our existence. That fundamental frequency of our lives is veritably defined with the biannual Solstice, whether we realize or not.
To me, music has always been the most serene and pure thing to experience as a human. Combining these pure elements is a great honor and privilege for me. Solstice is the culmination of my life's work, and represents a sacred aspect of our existence.
If you like the style of my guitars, you will fall in love when one reaches your hands.