2023 GAL Convention Presenters


Thirty-one year GAL member James Buckland began building as a kid to get the left handed guitars he couldn’t find. His doctoral research on the terz guitar, which included building his first terz guitar, earned him first prize in the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Graduate Endeavors from the University of South Carolina. Today, his research involving the early 19th century guitar is the central focus of his performance, lutherie, and teaching activities. Jim and his wife Karen are kept busy with their family of ten rescue cats.

Friday, July 7, 10:30am – Workshop: Proportional Design Aesthetics of the Early Guitar

Presbyterian College


Todd Cambio is a musician , luthier, and guitarcheologist who focuses on American instruments of the early 20th century.

Friday, July 7, 1:00pm – Workshop: Making Instrument Cases

Saturday, July 8, 8:30am – Lecture: Finding Inspiration in Early 20th-Century Instruments


Nathan Ching has been a member since 1992. He came to lutherie later in life after suffering a serious injury as a carpenter. On a vacation in California he met famed luthier Ervin Somogyi by showing up at his shop unannounced. Ervin discouraged Nathan from pursuing a life in lutherie, saying he'd be poor if he did. But that was enough to pump up his contrarian spirit; since then he has built over sixty guitars and ukes, and repaired thousands.

Saturday, July 8, 10:30am – Ukulele Listening Session with Nathan Ching, moderator


Mandolin Magazine columnist, Fine Woodworking author, regular AL contributor, and a GAL member for a total of sixteen years, James Condino has been building instruments for over thirty-five years. He’s also a serious outdoorsman who guides whitewater expeditions and takes fine guitars and mandolins to volcanic summits.

Friday, July 7, 1:00pm – Workshop: Vacuum Laminating Sides, and Beyond

James Condino Enterprises


After sixteen years of full-time guitar making, thirty-one-year Guild member Mike Doolin retired from professional lutherie to play music full time. This doesn’t mean he has quit building guitars, it just means now he gets to keep them all.

Thursday, July 6, 10:30am – Workshop: Replicating Existing Archtop Plates with 3D Probing and CNC

Friday, July 7, 10:30am – Steel String Guitar Listening Session with Mike Doolin, moderator

Doolin Guitars


Forty-eight-year member Jeffrey Elliott started making classical guitars when he began his apprenticeship in 1966 with Richard Schneider in Detroit, Michigan. Since then he has made hundreds of classical guitars, repaired thousands of classical and steel string guitars, and studied and restored dozens of historic classical guitars. He has also been an instructor at the American School of Lutherie, and continues to enjoy teaching others through lecturing at GAL Conventions, writing articles for American Lutherie, contributing full-scale plans to the GAL Instrument Plan series, and in one-on-one private instruction. Currently, he is concentrating exclusively on making his own guitars for those on his waiting list.

Thursday, July 6, 10:30am – Classical Guitar Listening Session with Jeff Elliott, moderator

Jeffrey R. Elliott Guitars


Nineteen-year GAL member Mónica Esparza commutes easily between her two jobs: her family’s soft drink company and her guitar shop on the second floor of the same building. Besides being a passionate, intrepid traveler, she finds time for guitar lessons, long bike rides, and guitar shows and conventions.

Saturday, July 8, 10:30am – Workshop: The 18-Hole Classical Guitar Bridge

Sunday, July 9, 9:00am – Lecture: Homage to José Romanillos in Badalona, Spain

Esparza Guitars


Larry Fitzgerald is a Guitar repairman and guitar builder in the NYC tristate area. He has worked with Dimarzio Pickups, The National Guitar Summer Workshop, Rudys’Music 48th street NYC, Mandolin Brothers of Staten Island and Sam Ash Music of Huntington Long Island. He also developed his own Guitars and opened his business in May of 1993. Celebrating his 30th year as a guitar builder under the Fitzgerald Guitar brand name. He has given seminars and lectures for various programs such as the Associated String Instruments Artisians. He has taught and developed several classes at The National Guitar Summer work shop. Also taught Master classes with Dan Erlewine and Mike Koontz. He has enjoyed teaching other repair people over the years and enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with others.

Wednesday, July 5, 2:30pm – Workshop: Electric Guitar Repair: Setups, Frets, and Inspiration


Alex Glasser grew up with a musical mom and a woodworking dad. He cut his teeth in the repair department at Gryphon Stringed Instruments before opening his own shop, Iron Horse Instruments, back home in Rockland County, NY in 2012. He focuses on large scale repair and restoration along with general guitar maintenance to the Tri-State area.

Thursday, July 6, 10:30am – Workshop: Acoustic Guitar Repair: Worn Out Frets and Sticky Necks

Saturday, July 8, 10:30am – Workshop: A Brief History of American Steel String Guitar Building


Eighteen-year GAL member Evan Gluck says he is not the world’s best guitar repairman, but Google says he is. Like many luthiers, he made models as a kid, then got into a rock band. His shop is in his New York City apartment. Evan was a popular presenter at the 2011, 2014, and 2017 GAL Conventions. He will be celebrating 20 years of running his own shop in January 2024.

Wednesday, July 5, 2:30pm – Workshop: Electric Guitar Repair: Setups, Frets, and Inspiration

New York Guitar Repair

Barry Grzebik

Friday, July 7, 8:30am – Lecture: Thoughtful Electric Guitar Deisgn


A Guild member for twenty-five out of the last twenty-eight years, Steve Kauffman lives with his wife and daughter in a home he rebuilt, and works in an adjacent shop that he designed and built.

Sunday, July 9, 10:30am – Lecture: A Steel-String Guitar Maker's Journey


Long-time GAL member Jason Lollar literally wrote the book on making electric guitar pickups. His business outgrew his island homestead, so he moved it to the big city — Tacoma. He is slated to present at the upcoming GAL Convention.

Friday, July 7, 1:00pm – Electric Guitar Listening Skills with Jason Lollar, moderator

Lollar Pickups


Twenty-four-year GAL member Stephen Marchione spent his earliest years in Texas, then Italy, then Texas again. He went to New York City to make it as a guitarist, but ended up becoming a luthier. Now he’s back in Texas and at the top of his game.

Wednesday, July 5, 2:30pm – Workshop: Spirit Varnishing an Archtop Guitar, Spanish Guitar, or Violin

Thursday, July 6, 1:00pm – Workshop: Marchione Fretting Techniques

Marchione Guitars


Pat Megowan builds ukuleles for players around the world. He has also been spotted helping folks learn at Lie-Nielsen handtool events, giving ranger talks in Yosemite Valley, and playing eccentric roles in community theater musicals. More than you could possibly want to know is at patmegowan.com.

Wednesday, July 5, 2:30pm – Workshop: Hand Planes: Effective Sharpening and Use

Thursday, July 6, 1:00pm – Workshop: The Alluring Ukulele: A Design Adventure

Pat Megowan Stringed Instruments


After graduating the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in 2002, Brian Michael relocated from his home state of New Hampshire to work for Frank Ford at Gryphon Stringed Instruments. More than 20 years later, he's still there repairing instruments and helping run the shop.

Thursday, July 6, 10:30am – Workshop: Acoustic Guitar Repair: Worn Out Frets and Sticky Necks

Gryphon Stringed Instruments


Federico Sheppard began building guitars in 1979. He now splits his time between workshops in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Carrión de los Condes, Spain, where he is artist in residence. He has been a GAL member for twenty-nine years.

Thursday, July 6, 8:30am - Lecture: The Guitars of Augustin Barrios: History of the Guitar Rewritten

Friday, July 7, 10:30am – Workshop: The Simplicio Classical Guitar Bridge: Elegance and Genius


Twenty-year Guild member Jeffrey Yong travels from Malaysia to GAL Conventions, a twenty-hour flight each way. He’s an urbanite who traverses the jungles in search of tonewood. He’s a guitar maker and a teacher of lutherie, and he welcomes visitors.

Thursday, July 6, 1:00pm – Workshop: Alternative Woods for Instrument Making

Jeffrey Yong Guitars



Michael Partington is one of the most engaging concert players of his generation. Praised by Classical Guitar Magazine for his “lyricism, intensity and clear technical command,” this award-winning British guitarist has performed to unanimous critical praise. Audiences are put at ease by his charming stage manner and captivated by his interpretations. An innate rhythmic understanding and sense for tonal colour combine to form some of the most memorable phrasing to be heard on the guitar.

He has appeared throughout North America, Europe, Russia and Scandinavia as a soloist and with ensembles, and live radio performances include BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, BBC Wales, and St. Paul Sunday on National Public Radio. He has released ten solo CD’s for Rosewood Recordings, and can be heard on the Cadenza and Present Sounds labels. An advocate of new music he has commissioned and premiered works by Stephen Goss, Bryan Johanson, Toshio Hosokawa, Angelo Gilardino, Tom Baker, Kevin Callahan and others.

Partington is currently Artist in Residence and director of the guitar program at the University of Washington in Seattle. He has given classes and workshops at festivals and institutions around the world, including the Royal College of Music in London, the Royal Conservatory in Gothenburg, Sweden, the San Francisco Conservatory, the Guitar Foundation of America, the Canadian National Confederation of Music Societies, and the International Guitar Research Centre. His students have won prizes in regional, national and international competitions, and scholarships and awards to study all over the world. Michael Partington is a Savarez Strings artist. He also serves on the board of the Guitar Foundation of America.

Thursday, July 6, 8:00pm – Concert: Michael Partington, classical guitar


Alex de Grassi has been a unique voice in the world of acoustic guitar for the past 47 years, and his innovative approach to composing and arranging for solo steel-string guitar has influenced a generation of younger players. From his first solo performances in university coffeehouses and as a street musician to his engagements at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Montreux Jazz Festival, Alex has followed his own vision and helped lay the foundation for contemporary fingerstyle guitar.

His 1978 recording, Turning: Turning Back was listed by Acoustic Guitar magazine among their top ten essential fingerstyle recordings, and his subsequent recordings Slow Circle (1979), Southern Exposure (1984), and his GRAMMY® nominated recording The Water Garden (1998) are considered classics of the genre. Alex performed at the 1980 GAL Convention in San Francisco, and we are thrilled to have him back after an absence of 43 years.

Friday, July 7, 8:00pm – Concert: Alex de Grassi, steel string guitar


With a performance history spanning more than 29 years and having released 15 CDs, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. Pearl Django has performed at festivals, dances and nightspots throughout the U.S. and abroad. They have played at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine and have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.

Wednesday, July 5, 7:30pm Concert: Pearl Django, Hot Club-style jazz group

Pearl Django