July 2009

Premier Guitar

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Builder Profile:
Specimen Products and the Chicago School of Guitar Making
– by Chris Burgess

The Specimen Guitar Shop, owned and operated by Ian and Nadine Schneller, is the home of both Specimen Products and the Chicago School of Guitar Making. More than a luthierie and a repair facility, the Specimen shop is also a gallery and an artist’s studio. I recently visited Specimen for a tube amp building seminar, and found a Midwestern haven where esoteric creativity and invention meet traditional techniques and handcrafted quality.

Specimen Products
If you’ve ever visited their website, you already know that Specimen offers quite an impressive array of intriguing and engaging instruments, from the nearly traditional looking aluminum guitars, solidbodies and archtops to the custom offerings they affectionately call “Singletons” and more unconventional creations, like electric ukes, mandolins and even an electric lute. Schneller also repairs all manner of stringed instruments and amplifiers, and even builds his own guitar and hi-fi stereo amps, along with a variety of custom high-fidelity horn speakers (you’ve seen them if you’ve seen Andrew Bird recently). read more

Video interviews on Premier Guitar’s Web site:

In these videos Ian talks about various custom projects underway and the techniques he uses for building aluminum guitars, archtop guitars, and horn speakers.