Whitfill Custom Guitars
My buddy Charles doesn’t much care for talking about himself, so I volunteered to do it for him.
Raised up in rural Kentucky, Charles developed an early fascination for building (and sometimes un-building) things. His first foray into guitar construction definitely fell into the latter category, and it’s a good thing too. Reverse engineering is a sound principle and an honest teacher. After high school Charles found work as a machinist, beginning a decades long career that progressed from the shop floor, to manager of Process Improvement/Quality Control and finally to an executive management position with the company. It goes without saying that a solid knowledge of metal and tolerances is critical in the luthiery trade, and Charles’s precision machinery experience is second to none in the industry.
Having reached the top tier in his field and in need of a new challenge, Charles’ next gig was overseeing the construction and manufacture of wooden wine barrels for the foreign and domestic wine industry at a Kentucky facility. Apparently they make barrels for more than bourbon in the bluegrass state!
So what makes a man walk away from this kind of success and security? In a word, passion. Charles is unquestionably passionate about music and musicians, but mostly he is passionate about wood and turning it into fantastic guitars. Ask anyone who has played a Whitfill guitar, the very first thing they’ll tell you is how great the wood is. Light, resonant and harmonic, the man flat out knows wood. Combine that with his metals experience and a decade of instrument repairs and handcrafting custom mandolins, and you come up with a pretty damn good skill set.
So that’s pretty much the story folks, for the past few years Charles’ guitars have been gaining favor with a whole bunch of pickers and gear heads including Jack Pearson, Brent Mason, Johnny Hiland and just recently Vince Gill. If you were to ask Charles what goes into making a fine guitar he’d likely tell you; passion, elbow grease, patience, skill and a little luck. My guess is that there’s more than a fair share of hillbilly Zen in there as well.
Proud Whitfill Player