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Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now?

by Tim Olsen

Originally published in American Lutherie #2, 1985 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie, Volume One, 2000

See also,
The Business of Lutherie, 1980 by Richard Bruné, George Gruhn, Steve Klein, Max Krimmel, and Robert Lundberg
The Business of Lutherie, 1984 by Ted Davis, Steve Grimes, Bob Meltz, and Matt Umanov

Five years ago, the Guild presented its first Business of Lutherie seminar at our 1980 Convention/Exhibition in San Francisco. I recently contacted the five panelists to see how lutherie has treated them in the interim. I found that times have changed, and that the panelists have changed as well.

Vintage and fine guitar dealer George Gruhn told of a wildly fluctuating and vastly changed market, and pinpoints late 1981 as the sudden end of the relatively good market conditions which prevailed throughout the seventies. At that time, the rise in value of the U.S. dollar shut off the lucrative export market, which had previously accounted for 40% of American-made guitars. The dismal conditions of 1982 and 1983 brought Gruhn Guitars to the brink of bankruptcy, and only in 1984 was George able to “climb out of the ooze onto dry land.”

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