irvin guitars

about me


My Dad bought me my first guitar when I was 6 years old, in 1967. It was a Silvertone from Sears, I think he paid $17.95 for it. I learned all 14 Hank Williams greatest hits off his 1961 album. My love for guitars and music grew rich and deep from there.

In high school I worked in the hay fields, making 10 cents a bale.  I saved every dime for 2 years and bought a Martin D-28.  In 1995 I discovered the wonderful world of beautifully hand crafted acoustic guitars. I was intrigued and very interested in knowing what kind of acoustic guitar Phil Keaggy played.  I found out it was an Olson guitar. Sometime later I had the privilege of visiting James Olson and toured his shop.  I was smitten forever and often dreamed of learning how to build my own guitars.  Years later I came across Sergei de Jonge's school of Lutherie.  There is a much bigger back story, but through the encouragement and support from my wonderful wife of 30 years, I had the great privilege of taking Sergei's course.  This was life-changing for me as he gave me the confidence and encouragement to launch out on my own.  Irvin Guitars was born.  


Me on the stool.jpg

When someone is serious about finding a one-of-a-kind, masterfully crafted, acoustic steel string guitar, it's personal.  They certainly know what they don't want, that's easy. But when they play a guitar that evokes an all out physical and emotional response, where their body seems to move and even vibrate with the music, a near "worshipful" experience, if you will, then they know they have stumbled across something special.  Everything feels, sounds and plays exactly right.  

This is what I want to experience when I play, and certainly what I want for those who play an Irvin.  So, I strive to build great guitars that make people want to play them over and over again. I believe each piece of wood is unique, and I take extensive time to listen to it, and work with it till I believe I have brought out its greatest potential. I don't try to build my guitars quickly; I am driven to take the time necessary to build it right.  I want everyone who buys an Irvin to know their guitar was built with extreme care and attention to detail.  That their luthier builds with his heart and soul poured into each process every step of the way.


In my pursuit to become a luthier, I have experienced an incredible number of generous and kind people along the way.  I am really not sure how many people go this deep in checking out someone's website, but I suppose this section is most meaningful to me and perhaps those I mention here. So here is my list;

Peter Adams. - you have been a dear friend for so many years, I am so grateful for all you have done. And all the "Friday boys" for that matter; Steve, Tom, Ron, and Brian.

Sergei de Jonge - What an honor and privilege to have sat under your guidance.  It was pure joy. 

Stephen LeiwekeFrom Nashville is the featured guitarist who played the guitars on all the video sound clips. The clips were recorded in his studio in Nashville. A huge thank you Stephen, for all you have done and continue to do for me! All clips were recorded using;  Mics - 2 sE Electronics Voodoo VR2 Ribbon mics.  Spaced pair configuration with 2 guitaRF Reflection Filters. Pre's - Neve 1073

Mike Beckwith - Thanks for all your photography work throughout the site.  Even more for you and Hilary and your friendship.  You are special to us!

Jacob Roethlein - Thanks for the drum sander! As for those of you who do read this, check out Jacob's website.  He is an amazing artist, you'll love his work.

Steve W., Tim and Tif W., Wow! Thank you!

A very special thanks to the following luthiers who have graciously given so much advice, insight and encouragement; Tom Doerr,  James Olson, David Wren, and Chris Ensor.

Above all, to my wife Julie, and our 4 amazing children, Brad, Rhyan, Parker and Kyleigh, who are the true joy of my life.!