Lacey Guitars / Virtuoso Archtop (Made To Order) / 2010's / Guitar For Sale
The Virtuoso is currently my flagship model and is available in both 17 and 18 inch body sizes. Both models feature hand engraved, soap pierced, 24k gold plated tailpieces. The mother of pearl inlays are intricately hand engraved. A blue version was commissioned by the late Scott Chinery as part of the Blue Guitar Collection and I have since made several variations of blue guitars. Only the absolute finest of woods are selected for this model.
Highly figured choice maple back & sides - blonde finish
Two piece figured maple neck with ebony center stripe
Close grained sitka spruce topX bracing
Ebony fingerboard & bridge
Ebony head veneer front & back
Multiple bindingsHand engraved Mother of Pearl inlays
Amber blonde or sunburst lacquer finish
Grover Imperial tuners
17 inch or 18 inch body
3 1/4 inch body depth
Scale: 25 inches or 25 1/4 inches
Nut width: 1 11/16 inches
My career building musical instruments began in 1974 when I attended The London College of Furniture & Interior Design. The college offered a three year full-time course in Musical Instrument Technology. I spent the first two years building mostly early fretted instruments from the renaissance and baroque periods. These included lutes, guitars, citterns and viols. During my final year at college I concentrated on building modern fretted guitars including acoustic and electric guitars. Other notable builders that attended the college are, lute maker Stephen Barber, classical builder Michael Gee, Gibson Custom Shop engineer Matthew Klein, Flip Scipio, Norman Reed and Andy Manson.
In 1977 I moved to Oslo, Norway and spent the next four years working as a repairman for Norway's largest importer of musical instruments; Norsk Musikk Instrument Company A/S. During this time I traveled to America and Germany to attend repair courses at Ovation, Peavey and Hohner factories.
In 1979 vintage expert and dealer George Gruhn offered me a position as a repairman and in 1981 I moved to Nashville. This was a valuable education as I was able to observe what can go wrong with guitars over time and correct the problems.
In 1983 I located to Los Angeles, following an offer to run a custom guitar shop for pick-up designer Bill Lawrence. The following year I decided to strike out on my own. My first venture was repairing and building out of another store in Hollywood called Voltage Guitars. This continued until 1986 when George Gruhn contacted me again asking if I would work at the Guild guitar factory located in Westerly, Rhode Island. At Guild I doubled as quality control and design engineer. I was responsible for getting the Ashbury Bass and the new line of solid bodies into production as well as the new Gruhn models.
In 1987 I returned to Los Angeles. Then in July 1988 I decided to open my own custom guitar shop which I called "The Guitar Garage" located just off the Sunset Strip in Hollywood. I hired two repairmen to help with the work load and within a short time we were inundated with repair work which allowed me to devote my time exclusively to making instruments. At first, I was building mostly solid body electrics and flattops. In 1989 I delved into Archtops and carved top semi-solid body electrics. Two of the repairmen who worked for me have gone on to build fine reputations, notably Bill Asher and Paul Flynn.
In 1995 my wife and I had had enough of Los Angeles and we returned to Nashville where I work at home.
Since returning to Nashville, my services have been sought as a consultant for Eastman Stings Archtops with three trips to their Bejing factory and more recently by Two Old Hippies to assist with their Great Divide flattops.
I have been featured in magazine articles including Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Just Jazz Guitar and several foreign publications. I am found in many guitar related books and online websites. My guitars can also be heard on many recordings. I have also lectured at two A.I.S.A. symposiums about archtop guitar construction and affordable CNC for luthiers.
Over the years I have built or repaired instruments for many known musicians which have included: Aerosmith, America, Howard Alden, Jackson Browne, Credence Clearwater Revival, Duran Duran, Herb Ellis, Pink Floyd, John Fogerty, Bruce Forman, Peter Frampton, Frank Gambale, GIT students and instructors, David Alan Grier, he Hard Rock Cafes, Jacksons, Bon Jovi, Leo Kottke, Yngwie Malmsteen, Paul McCartney, Jeff Meyer, Hall and Oates, John Porter, Terje Rypdahl, Louie Shelton, Rod Stewart, Tiny Tim, U2 and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
~ Mark Lacey