Exhibitors Schedule Location Admission Lowertown Guitar Festival Home

2016 Exhibitors


Brian Applegate




Al Beardsell

Al Beardsell has been building, playing, repairing, and generally thinking about guitars for most of his adult life. The past 25 years have seen him building them professionally for genius musicians luminous and obscure alike, from Lou Reed, avant-garde musician and filmmaker Henry Kaiser, punk-poets the Weakerthans, banjo historian Bill Evans,  to Quebecois noise/folk fusionist Rene Lussier. His work has been featured in The Fretboard Journal and Acoustic Guitar Magazine. He lives and works in Winnipeg, Manitoba. His workshop creates, repairs and restores guitars, ukes, mandolins,  and handcrafted hardware and pickups.



Gordon Bischoff Guitars

The beauty, voice and playability of Bischoff Guitars comes from blending 41 years of experience in instrument repair and building with an eye and ear of an artist and musician. Gordon Bischoff’s guitars are cherished by accomplished musicians like Willie Porter and Justin Vernon ( from Bon Iver ). Gordy has won the national Rockler Woodworking Award for his guitar building. His current fascination as a player and builder, has been building his new line of gorgeous ukuleles.



John Derrick


I am a self-taught guitar craftsman who has been making guitars since 2005. Beginning with the classic Benedetto archtop template, I quickly branched out to my own designs, with each guitar a one-off. My interest in many different styles of music drives me to create guitars to suit different musical genres including archtop acoustic, semi-hollow electrics, and solid body electrics.



Drew Heinonen

T. Drew Heinonen builds custom acoustic guitars, combining vintage traditions with modern techniques. Previous to developing his own instruments, Drew worked in the shops of master luthiers Jim Olson and Dana Bourgeois, having a hand in the creation of over 1600 instruments. He was trained at Southeast Tech in Red Wing, MN. His workshop is located in Grand Marais, MN. He is currently collaborating with the Fretboard Journal on a podcast series documenting the designing/building of a custom guitar.



Charlie Hoffman


(612) 338-1079

Steve Kakos


I have been building Classical Guitars for 40 years. In that time I have found that using traditional materials and methods, yields the most satisfying instrument, for me the builder and, I hope, for the player.


(952) 472-4732


Michael Keller


Michael Keller began building guitars in 1975. He established his own studio in Minnesota in 1979, where he builds 6 and 12 string guitars and does instrument restorations. His guitars have been featured in Fretboard Journal, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and The Blue Book of Guitars. Michael has exhibited at both the Healdsburg and Newport Guitar Festivals, and his guitars were featured in an exhibition at the Plains Art Museum in the show "The Art Of The Guitar"



Phil Lang

Philip has been a creative woodworker since an early age of 9 when he took interest in creating things with wood in his Father’s basement workshop, at age 12 he began playing acoustic guitar. He merged the two passions in 2003 while attending several workshops given by master builder Kent Carlos Everett of Everett Guitars in Atlanta. Soon after he realized that building acoustic instruments would be his legacy. Creating one of a kind acoustic instruments that fit the player perfectly and are treasured by their owners.



Lloyd Laplant

Lloyd Laplant has been building mandolins and guitars for over fifty years. His instruments are well known and highly reguarded in the bluegrass community.


Dave Livermore

Dave Livermore is a husband/dad/teacher/musician/guitar maker who resides near Forest Lake MN where he has been building guitars for eight years. He uses a variety of high quality materials and builds a number of different steel string and classical body styles. Guitar building has become the perfect marriage between art and science and the results should sing for themselves.




Long Guitars

I’ve been building guitars and Ukuleles for over 20 years. I strive to use materials that represent the true soul of the ones who will make these instruments their own. Using locally sourced and re-claimed wood can give an instrument a unique history and provenance… and serve as a tribute to people, places and times.



Joe Mendel Fretted Instruments

Joe has been building and repairing for three decades, originally building guitars and mandolins. He has become well known as a repairman in the St. Louis, MO Region.
Joe is currently building octave mandolins, open back banjos, ukuleles, and acoustic guitars. Possessing respect for tradition, and eye to the future, a willingness to try alternative woods and materials, an eye and ear for pleasing wood combinations, Joe is crafting instruments that combine excellent sound and playability with simple elegance.



Owasso Guitar Co.



Kevin Pederson

My name is Kevin L Pederson and I began my luthiery career in 1996. Since then, I have created over 300 instruments of all sizes, shapes and designs – all entirely by hand. As a boutique builder, I rely on individual interpretation and customer input, to create the modern and traditional acoustic instruments my customers desire. I am guided by experience and intuition in seeking the perfect guitar tone. My desire is to build unique, collectable and innovative guitars. I hope you enjoy my guitars. Please stop by and play them.



Bruce Petros

Bruce Petros has been building guitars since 1972. Son Matthew has been building full time since the year 2000.
The Petros boys strive to squeeze out every possible bit of tone through inspirational, innovative and non-conventional thinking and techniques. In addition to building about 20 guitars per year, they have developed numerous industry innovations. Most recently they have developed and patented a new flexible, designer purfling called Purflex®.



Randolf Ukulele

Randolph Ukulele Company (founded 2008) manufactures handcrafted, custom made ukuleles in St. Paul, Minnesota.All instruments are made on site. We focus on the individual customer. We have three sizes: concert, tenor and baritone. Randolph Ukulele has sold instruments to players in Minnesota and on both coasts. In previous years, we exhibited at the New York Ukulele Festival in New York City.



Tim Reede Guitars

Tim Reede has been a professional woodworker for over 20 years. He studied guitar making in Red Wing, MN. His love of guitars and passion for woodworking are combined to create extraordinary arch top, flattop, and electric guitars. Tim's arch top guitar was part of the “Art of Guitar” exhibit at the Plains Art Museum. His instruments are featured in the “Sonic Sitka Project”, the “Blue Electric Guitar” exhibit and “Meeting the Makers”, a book about Minnesota’s finest guitar builders.



J Rieck Lutherie

Josh Rieck offers custom acoustic and electric guitars, basses and ukuleles built under the name J. Rieck Lutherie. He studied guitar repair making at MN State College in Red Wing in 2003-2004 and also studied the history of musical instruments at the National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD. In addition to custom instrument making, Josh provides guitar repair services to the Sioux Falls area. He is a member of the Guild of American Lutherie and the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii.



Ryerson Guitars/Mana'e Ukulele



1967 graduate, U. of Minn. Law. Guitar-making started as a hobby in 1992, while practicing law in Minneapolis. In 2000, moved to the island of Molokai, Hawaii. Continued making guitars, but soon got into ukulele, which is 75% of my work.

After 13 years, moved to Sioux Falls, SD. I continue to be one of the Directors of the Ukulele Guild of Hawaii. Building under the names of Mana'e Ukulele (named for a region of Molokai) and Ryerson Guitars.



Vesper Guitars

Neal Van Slett established Vesper Guitars in 1999 with the idea of building guitars for, and working with, Christian artists and worship leaders. He learned the art of lutherie through diligent study of luthier publications, and through training from Frank Finocchio (former engineer for Martin Guitars). Neal's transition to building custom instruments followed thirty-plus years of custom woodworking and Tool & Die. Under the brand Vesper Guitars, Neal builds acoustic guitars, acoustic bass guitars, electric guitars, and ukuleles.



David Vincent

David Vincent has been making and repairing instruments since 1978. In 1984 he became the head of the the Stringed Instrument Repair and Construction Program at Southeast Technical in Red Wing MN.