Feature documentary about me and my work.

My name is bill BRUNTon

My only connection with my paternal grandfather, who died long before I was born, was through a partially completed violin he had left behind.  As a child, I wondered about the person who could make such a thing. 

This wonderment planted a seed that would sprout years later, in 1967, when I was attending the University of Hawaii for one semester as part of my doctoral program in anthropology at Washington State University.  I found an Englishman living in Honolulu who taught flamenco on a guitar he had built.  Seeing this instrument caused my childhood wonder to resurface.  Returning to the mainland, I bought Irving Sloan’s little book on classical guitar construction and by so doing, unwittingly embarked on a new life path.

Years later, in 1973, I took my first uncertain steps in lutherie when I built my first classical guitar as a reward to myself for finally finishing my PhD.   Although this guitar is seldom shown to others, it catalyzed my passion for building these incredible Spanish instruments and taught me the first lessons on how to improve my approach and skills.

Over the next twenty-eight years, on a hobby basis, I refined my building skills and the concepts behind my approach to building classical guitars.  I also slowly accumulated the tools necessary for this work, a never-ending process. 

As I approached retirement at North Dakota State University, where I enjoyed a long teaching and research career, I began to see retirement as an opportunity to launch myself into classical guitar building in a serious way, with the goal of being able to reliably craft professional-level instruments that would reflect my own special quality and character.

Fortunately, my opportunity to put this plan into action came in 2001 when I enrolled in a master class taught by Jeffrey Elliot and Cyndy Burton through Charles Fox’s American School of Lutherie.  Exposure to Jeff’s ideas regarding soundboard design and voicing and Cyndy’s expertise in French polishing refined my approach to both, giving me what I needed to proceed with “the plan.” 

I have been building and refining my guitars ever since, usually building two instruments at a time.  It usually takes me two months to build one instrument, as I am in no hurry and am exploring and thinking as I proceed in the build of each.

Happily, Brunton Classical Guitars have been attracting the attention of players who have given me feedback regarding the characteristics of each instrument, which I then use to fine-tune each new generation. 

In a small shop filled with tools and pulsing with music, I now happily build for hours on end.