“When I was 15, my parents sent me to a wilderness program and boarding school because I was such a hard-headed, rebellious kid. At the time, I was so angry that I wouldn’t even hug my mother goodbye, but it didn’t take long for me to realize how ungrateful and wrong I’d been. The year I spent away from home was the best thing for me. It’s also where I really learned to play the guitar well. The program allowed students to bring their own instruments and they even had some there that anybody could use.
“I came back to Memphis, graduated from Christian Brothers, and went to college to study business, but it just wasn’t for me. After my freshman year, my dad said, ‘Fine. You’ve got six weeks to figure out what you want to do or get a job.’ I really wanted to build and repair guitars, so I did some research and found a school in Canada. My parents weren’t too enthused about it at first, but they knew I wasn’t going to be a banker or doctor or lawyer. Before I left, my dad took me out to dinner and said, ‘You better bring home some damn good-looking guitars.’ I did. At Christmas, I brought him the first one I ever made, and he actually got a little emotional. He still has it hanging on his office wall.
“I’ve been building and repairing guitars professionally for six years now, and I’ve just been made a partner in the shop. I’m still strong-willed and determined, but that energy has been channeled in a better direction. Building custom guitars is intricate work, and I’ll do something over and over until I get it exactly right. It takes a lot of time and patience, but I enjoy it. We do everything here in the shop, from tree to finished product. And we repair instruments that veteran players have had since they were kids, instruments that have tremendous sentimental value. That kind of trust means a lot to me. When these seasoned players get the guitars back and I see the smiles on their faces, when they tell me it plays just like new again, I’m satisfied.”
Website: Memphis Guitar Spa
FB: The Memphis Guitar Spa
Kevin Ferner, Owner / Luthier
Hans Hilboldt, Partner / Luthier
A luthier is one who makes stringed musical instruments (as violins or guitars) - Merriam-Webster