"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 & customized individually, one by one. I believe that strategic variation is the key to creating uniquely perfect instruments for different players. After a precise process using the finest materials & craftsmanship, every guitar gets a complete and perfect setup. Solstice features a blend of traditional & modern design elements, using a combination of time-honored & innovative construction methods.
We'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.
The Nova bass model came from a collaboration with Jordan Fairless, bassist for the band Spafford. It is a thunderous five-string.
This bass is a neck-through design, using special old-growth Ponderosa for the wings. The top if completely capped with figured Walnut giving it a deceptive look. The Nordstrand P-J pickups are powered by a Demeter onboard preamp. Graphite tone rods reinforce a two-way truss rod system in the neck. The dragon & phoenix custom inlay was inspired by Jordan as well.
He's an incredible bass player, and a great musician in general. Building for someone with such an excellent ear and discerning taste can be daunting. But this project turned out amazing. We took notes from his old bass and improved the neck feel and fret access for him, plus using different wood choices and hardware. Use the contact form below to inquire about building your Nova bass.
past • present • future
Solstice Guitars is the result of a career dedicated to luthiery.
A SHORT STORY
I started playing acoustic guitar at age 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 building a guitar was like a firestorm igniting inside me. The fact that this was even possible was astounding. After buying a copy of that textbook I read through it twice while highlighting and making notes. I was completely overwhelmed when this dream became a true possibility. My dad had an old ShopSmith tool buried deep in our garage. He showed me basically how it worked, and I began building a guitar when I was 15. I had a natural talent at understanding of the process, and the attention to detail required.
A LONGER STORY
I was taking guitar lessons at a small shop renowned for their acoustic guitar work in California. While reading that book I started bugging the repair 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 history and course was thus set before I could even help 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 that I earned my first real apprenticeship. The guitar was impressive. And not just for a kid working in his garage by himself. It was good for anyone's first build. I began learning repair and restoration work while planning my next guitars. Then I moved to Flagstaff to attend Northern Arizona University in 1999.
The first time I dropped out of college I went home to build two more guitars. But then I went back to finish my degrees in pre-med microbiology and music composition.
The second time I dropped out of college was to start my own guitar store. I was a talented repair tech 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 vast amount, creating multiple different brands and business models. Over 20 years I have become recognized as a master repair luthier. I have always wanted to create and share my original designs, and I have occasionally. Solstice is the culmination of my career and study of the guitar.
PHILOSOPHY & STRATEGY
My desire is to build the best guitars possible in the style that I build. Articulate voicing and combining power with balance is always my aim for acoustics. For my electric guitars, I want a vocal and vintage tone with modern functionality. 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) 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 every guitar is different. I am consumed with making sure various components are chosen together for their consonance of tone. Jason and I build each guitar with the final target of aesthetic 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 makes an amazing guitar sound bad. I believe in creating models that feature specific variables and choices to provide you with the best set of parameters 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 in 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 so many new things.
However, I am still founded and inspired by the 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 some trees "grow better" than others depending on their direction and location. I'm talking about the embedded patterns and variations with which nearly all 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 these guitars, you will fall in love when one reaches your hands.