In the Tennessee log cabin where I grew up, there were two pianos, an autoharp, a flute, a saxophone, two ukuleles, a 1950ʼs Ludwig trap set, and probably most important, my dadʼs 1965 Gibson J-45. I started playing that guitar around the time I turned 12, and Iʼve loved it ever since.
About a year later at a show in Columbia, South Carolina, Phil Keaggy very graciously let me try out his guitar, a beautiful cutaway cedar/rosewood SJ by Jim Olson. At 13 years old, I was amazed that a human could make something so beautiful. And that was it.
I was smitten with the idea of building guitars, so I started by nearly destroying a couple of cheap electrics, then moderately improving an old Silvertone classical. Around 1992 I helped my brother Scott build a little concert model from scratch. I worked my way through college playing guitar and repairing old furniture in the university woodshop. Soon after finishing university, I took the first chance I had to head to northern California and attend a class with Harry Fleishman, a wonderful teacher who has become a good friend over the years. I was grateful for Ervin Somogyi’s influence and ideas early on, and over the years Jim Olson, Kevin Ryan and Richard Hoover of Santa Cruz Guitar Co. have been incredibly generous with their ideas, influence and resources. I’m also a big fan of George Lowden’s team in Northern Ireland.
My wife, little boys and I moved to India in June of 2010, with a dream of connecting Indian artisans with healthy markets. Mel started a textile-based fashion company called JOYN, and I started Dehradun Guitar Co. The real heart of DGC is the group of men who build with me.
If you’d like us to build you an instrument, you can contact one of our dealers, or contact us directly and we’ll help point you in the right direction. Weʼll update the website from time to time, but if you want a more direct link, you can connect with us on Facebook.
To those who play a Dehradun, I’m so grateful for you. Your encouragement and excitement about your instrument means the world to me and my builders. Play on!
J. David Murray, luthier