About Howie Guitars
The seed for Howie Guitars was planted clear back in 1988 when Craig’s dad taught him his first riff on the guitar. Just a few simple notes through a 1960s Gibson ES330 blaring out of a Sears Silvertone amp and the guitar became an obsession.
Fast forward to late 2015. Craig and Jen, living in Longmont Colorado, married for 14 years with two sons, were at a turning point with their current jobs and were looking for new direction. Both were educators and small business owners, and needed a change. Jen came up with the idea of building guitars. Music and guitars were always Craig’s dream job so he started forming his dream guitar in his mind.
Craig’s college degrees in Mathematics and Physics helped him a lot, but he had absolutely zero experience with building a guitar. He did know what a great guitar sounded like though. Craig Explained….
“Everyone always talks about wood making the sound of a guitar, but I thought…..what about Shape? I had wondered about the mathematics behind the shape of the Mormon Tabernacle and it’s acoustic qualities. Then I came upon so many other examples of shape producing focused sound such as the Whispering Walls in Grand Central Station or the Whispering Gallery in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Add on to this that I have always had an obsession with the Golden Ratio and I began formulating a way to use the ratio to focus sound and vibration in a guitar using nautilus shells.”
Jen and Craig began forming the business model for a guitar company even though they still had no idea how to build a guitar. Jen had the business side down from her experience running her own baby food business and their current endurance athletics business. She also had just begun work on a maker space in her current position as a librarian at Burlington Elementary in Longmont and the philosophy behind maker spaces really helped. In Craig’s words….
“Jen has this saying from her work with maker spaces…..’fail fast’…..which basically means just go for it and mess up and learn from your mistakes. I also read two books, How To Fly A Horse by Kevin Ashton and A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, that really motivated me. What stuck with me most from these books was the idea of ‘Beginner Brain.’ Basically a beginner’s brain is wide open to an infinite number of possibilities, while an experts brain is already closed off to many ideas. Following this idea I just walked into our garage one day with simple tools and went for it. No schooling or teachers. I just made it up as I went along. Whenever I messed up or got stuck, I researched the problem from the mindset that the guitar had never been invented.”
When you watch Craig build a guitar today you will see many classic techniques that he developed out of necessity, but you will also see some very unique ideas that have never been done before. This is the result of coming at the process with a beginner brain and not being afraid to fail. What has evolved is a new sound never
heard before, and guitars that put the beauty of the golden ratio on full display. The exciting part is that this is just the beginning according to Craig….
“I will never be finished trying to build my perfect dream guitar. I will always be working to “fail fast” and improve from my mistakes.