Meet the Builder

About Wyatt Wilkie

My introduction to stringed instrument making came in 1992 when I began making cases for the Calton Case Company in Calgary, Alberta Canada. I was designing and making cases for some of the finest guitar makers in the world. This was the golden age of archtop guitar making and I had the opportunity to work with all the legendary guitar makers including Jimmy D’Aquisto, Bob Benedetto, Linda Manzer, John Monteleone and Tom Ribbecke. This experience sparked my interest in the Archtop guitar and I was especially drawn to the guitars and designs of Bob Benedetto.

After 4 years at Calton Cases, I followed in my father’s footsteps and pursued a professional career as a mandolin player. I played in several bands in the Calgary area before joining a band in Sumatra, Indonesia where I moved with my wife for 3 years.

I began making mandolins in 1999 while living in Albuquerque, New Mexico and continued developing my mandolins in my workshop in Aberystwyth, Wales, for 5 years and for a couple years in Northern California.
   
In 2007 I had the opportunity to work for Bob Benedetto in his new shop in Savannah, GA. Working alongside Bob was an invaluable experience for me. During my time as his apprentice I learned how the archtop guitar functions inside and out. I made around 70 carved top instruments during the two years that I was there, so I was able to study how bracing and carving creates the instrument’s voice and how the top and back work together. I became the Master Craftsman of the shop and was responsible for making all of Bob’s high-end Flagship models and Custom instruments.

In 2009 my wife and I decided to return to Canada and made our home on Vancouver Island where I continue to hand carve archtop guitars and mandolins of my own design. I have built instruments for some of the finest players in the world and continue to work with my clients to make guitars and mandolins of the finest quality.

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Art of the Archtop

A Documentary by Darcy Muenchrath