I made my first electric guitar in 1997, I was 19 years old. I used an old sailboat rudder as the top, comprised of light and dark laminated wood, and the whole design was inspired by Alembic/Irwin and Rick Turner’s work. For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to make Jerry Guitars. During this time I was deep in a book that has forever changed my life, “Steel String Guitar Construction” by Irving Sloane. In the back of the book was a piece on Jimmy D’Aquisto and a brief look into his process and his amazing guitars. In me it planted a seed that being a luthier is something you could actually do. For the first time I really believed I could make this my life and relate to guitars as a high form of art. I was also in art school and graduated with a BA in Sculpture.
Fast forward to 2005, I set out to discover how guitars really work in the acoustic sense, and because I was loving Django at the time, the first several instruments I made were Selmer/Macaferri acoustics. I played in a Hot Club, I lived and breathed Django. A few years later however, I returned to my roots. I started making Garcia inspired electrics again, as well as some unique acoustics like the Troubadour, the Lemurian Archtop and Ukuleles. Not long after I began working alongside Tom Leiber in his one man shop in Fly Creek, NY. Tom worked in Doug Irwin’s shop in the 70’s and has ornamental design credit for Jerry’s Guitar, Tiger. He has made some incredible basses with Stanley Clark, and has is own line of amazing work and more conceptual art pieces like the Gigerstein. During my time there, we made a bunch of Garcia guitars, as well as it being a fairly busy repair shop. There I worked on custom guitars for Melvin Seals, the Garcia Family and countless others. While at Tom’s, I also had been working on my own projects. This is where I made my first Dorado and, essentially, officially launched DeLuis Guitars. The concepts that were reinforced in me during this time were: Bulletproof construction, enhanced sustain and critical consistency.
DeLuis Guitars is a one man shop. Every single process is done by hand, by me. I never sacrifice quality and seek out the most superbly constructed chisels and things of the like I can find. I hand cut all my inlay, and hand carve all my guitars.
I’ve set out to make functional art in the form of guitars. It has required years and years of dedication and education and I would do it all again. I love making guitars. These years have helped me create a process and a product that I’m proud of and confident in. It didn’t happen overnight, not even in a decade. Luckily, I have a amazing wife who has put up with all the dust (figuratively and literally) that comes along with being a Luthier. The sky is the limit, I want to know what else is out there in the aether, you tell me.