Sick String– About Me

I grew up playing in hardcore and punk bands in the Columbus, OH area, and have always valued the DIY ethics of the community I experienced during that formative time. While my musical interests now run the gamut from jazz to noise to classic country and all things in between, what’s most important to me is that it be honest, personal, and creative.

I attended the Galloup School of Lutherie in 2002 before getting my MFA in poetry from the University of Montana, already knowing that I wanted to work with my hands and not only in the abstract world of academia. After moving to Portland in 2005 I reunited with my old friend Bryan Sours and worked with him at Old Town Music, gaining experience working on hundreds of vintage and new guitars, with clients including many touring acts and up-and-comers in the flourishing Portland music scene.

Over the next 5 years I toured extensively with bands such as Modest Mouse, The Shins, and Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, applying my experience in a shop environment to the  real-world problems encountered by bands under grueling road conditions. My experience handling changes in heat, humidity, and wear-and-tear from the road gave me a unique perspective on my work at the shop, and in 2008 I founded the Portland Custom Shop along with Bryan Sours and Tim Hochstedler, while continuing to tour part-time.

The opportunity to work with two other talented technicians has helped me further my interest in pickups and guitar circuit design, and I recently taught the guitar electronics portion of Charles Fox’s electric guitar course at the American School of Lutherie. I am continuing to research and educate myself about all aspects of guitar and am pleased and proud to be a part of the vibrant Portland guitarmaking community.