Metal guitars from north of the Motor City

A STUDENT OF Roberto Venn’s school of luthiery in Arizona and veteran of guitar-makers Huss & Dalton in Virginia, Matt Eich never expected to end up back in Saginaw. He moved to Chicago in the mid-2000s to be closer to ailing family members. Not long after that, his father was diagnosed with cancer, so the stay was longer than anticipated. He had a warehouse job that he subsequently lost in the economic downturn of 2008. He decided to move back to Michigan to figure out his next move. It was a concert by Kelly Joe Phelps in Traverse City that would be Eich’s light of inspiration.

“He was playing a National and he made a joke about it blinding the audience because it was chrome-plated,” recalls Eich. “I wasn’t building guitars at the time, but I knew how to from my time at Huss & Dalton. I left wondering if I could make one look like the natural material, the steel… I’m a guitar player. I like old guitars that looked beat up, and look like the wood. I knew about part, but I didn’t know anything about the metal working. So I was trying to figure out how to cut the metal, what type of metal to use, thickness and all of that. I got kind of obsessed with figuring out how to do it. Once I had it down the wheels really started turning.”

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