Garrett Gardner’s love for creating musical instruments came through a background in woodworking, not music. And we are sure glad he did, because the results are breathtaking.
He played very little when he started hand-crafting acoustic guitars and ukuleles 12 years ago, because it was something he thought would be “fun and interesting to do.” No reason to start with birdhouses or a simple table, he went right for the epitome of woodworking, and built a guitar.
And to this day, he still commits more time to fine-tuning his craft than endeavouring to become an accomplished musician, because well, there are only so many hours in a day.
Garrett’s passion for building beautiful, precise and enduring musical instruments came from a love of woodworking; learning to play came in parallel.
Mostly self taught, he surrounded himself with mentors, poured over the books his sister sourced for him out of the library she worked at, and simply fell in love with it. Growing up around woodworking, his father would bring him a handful of sawdust, and ask him to identify what kind of wood he had been working with simply by smelling it.
How did COVID disrupt your business?
COVID disrupted many things, but it gave Garrett the time and the focus that he needed to go out to his shop and start building with more fervor than ever before. What else has changed since COVID? Garrett has had the time to network more with suppliers and sawmills in the area, allowing him to go directly to the source for his materials, and keep it local.
Who is Garret’s customer?
The people that seek Garrett’s work out and buy his handcrafted guitars and ukuleles appreciate the same things that he does; buying local, people who care about giving back to the community. Shared values, and shared love and appreciation for something that is handcrafted with forever in mind.
Alongside an inventory that keeps on hand in his showroom, he also builds both acoustic guitars and ukuleles to order. And this is why Garrett does what does:
“The joy and happiness I get to see when one of my customers picks up and plays an instrument that I built for them for the first time, that’s why I do what I do.”
What about lumber prices?
Interestingly enough, rising lumber prices haven’t impacted his business much, because while everyone else is seeking out framing material and plywood, he’s looking for maple, myrtle, black walnut, and spruce, as well as the occasional exotics such as rosewood and olivewood.
Every type of wood creates a different tone, and Garrett is able to work with his customers one on one to help them capture that one of a kind sound that they are looking for.
The Stigma Legacy
There’s a lot of things that a person could decide to do for a living, but one thing is for sure. No one throws away a handcrafted musical instrument. Long after we’re dead and gone, someone will pick up one of Garrett’s pieces for the very first time, and fall in love all over again.
To see some of these beautiful instruments, to learn more or to see how you can commission one of these pieces of musical art for yourself, you can contact Garrett:
Phone: (208) 250-1708
And make sure to follow Stigma Guitars on Facebook and Instagram!
And Buy Idaho!
Story by: Breann McKinney