Acoustic Guitar Building ~ Summer Camp – On Sale Until DEC 26

An immersive experience in a fully equipped guitar building workshop… Build a beautiful acoustic guitar under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor. No experience necessary.   Questions? Please call us! 773-489-4830

We are making the final push before installing the Sonic Arboretum at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago next Monday. This week we’ll be completing the final stages of French polishing the horns, testing the system and installing the remote control unit for the XL Janus spinning horn speaker. It’s getting pretty exciting around here!

Chicago Magazine features Andrew Bird & Ian Schneller's Sonic ArboretumChicago Magazine features the Sonic Arboretum in their December 2011 issue.

What a day! The photo shoot for this feature began at 8:00 am when Saverio Truglia and his crew loaded in an intriguing assortment of equipment, props, and even a smoke machine!

Shot back in September on location in the building where Specimen Products is located, Saverio pulled out all the stops creating a moody garden scene using our horn speakers, astro-turf, fake rocks, and mysterious lighting techniques. We wrapped up around 3:00 pm – just about the time when Ian’s feet were going numb.

This was perhaps the first time Ian has ever worn makeup. Oh, wait! There was that one time he painted himself green for a Shrimp Boat show.

You can see the Chicago Magazine article here.

Ian Schneller on stage with Shrimp Boat at the Lounge Ax, Chicago

With little less than one month before we setup the exhibit at the MCA Chicago, work on the Sonic Arboretum is in high gear. We have a great group of people working away at assembling, seaming, dyeing, french polishing, sanding, carving, wiring and just about every other “-ing” you can think of.

With the help of photographer Shane Welch, we are creating a photo journal. Here is a little slideshow for you.

It is with great pleasure (and a healthy dose of relief) that we are sending out into the world this brand new web site. A lot has changed at Specimen since the old site went up back in 1999(!):

  • We moved
  • We now build lots and lots of horn speakers and hi fi tube amps
  • We started the Chicago School of Guitar Making
  • The old site was formatted for a Commodore 64
  • We have more grey hair

For the past few months we have been pouring over gigabytes of images, dusting off old photographs, and ironing wrinkly magazines. We had fun reminiscing about the old Division Street shop , those early days of guitar making, and the amount of work that our little shop has produced over the years. It was an especially poignant process given that it will soon be Specimen’s 25th Anniversary!

BEHOLD the new Specimen site. Have a walk through a quarter century of guitar making, amp experimentation, and horn speaker evolution and let us know what you think.