I have been designing and building guitars since the mid 1970's. Many of those years, 21 in fact, at Fender Guitars... the first 9 as a Guitar Designer in Research and Development and the last 12 as the co-founder and head of the Fender Custom Shop. During those years I worked with some incredible people and created guitars for some great artists. Artists like Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Elliot Easton and Cesar Rosas, just to name a few. I was also fortunate to design guitars in conjunction with some of the world's most well known iconic companies like Harley Davidson, Playboy Magazine and Jaguar Automobiles. I designed, built and led with the passion of an artist. Having to combine business with art is a tough gig, and I bucked the system a lot. It wore me out. After almost a quarter of a century I lost the passion for guitars.
I left Fender in November of 1998 to pursue another passion, although tied to the first to some degree in spirit. I became the founding Executive Director of the Fender Museum of Music and the Arts. I spent the next four and a half years creating a 33,000 foot Museum, Education, Performance and Recording facility in Corona California for kids. It was a gas! It allowed me to pour all of my energy into a "feel good/do good" project...free music education for kids. After the Center was built and the programs developed it was time for me to move on again.
In January of 2003 I moved up to my land in the Southern Oregon forest to build a new life and home. The first year I built my shop. The next several years I concentrated on my non-guitar related art... functional art furniture. I'm not sure where my interest in art furniture came from, but I'm pretty sure it stemmed from the same core as my guitar building desire... I didn't have the finances to buy the quality I wanted, so why not build it. And if I'm going to build it, why not make it really unique and cool? I was always challenged and intrigued by how to take a necessary function and create a utensil to achieve that function in a unique and beautiful way. I loved it! Unfortunately I never seemed to get around to building my own furniture. Everything I built usually was sold... pretty much just like the guitars. Funny how life works, eh?
Soon, my fiery passion for guitars, which a few years earlier had burned out, started to smolder again. In mid 2006 I sat down at my drawing table and designed a new guitar... the P-1. It was a combination of all the things I had wanted to do in prior years but hadn't gotten to, and since it was "my" guitar, I could design it my way, not Fender's or any other companies way. That day John Page Guitars was born. Since then the line has grown to seven guitar models, two bass models, and a line of handmade wood and stainless steel bridge saddles... JP Woodtone. In addition to that, John Page Classic was born, finely crafted production versions of my hand-made designs, the brain-child of my business partner, founder and CEO of HRS Unlimited, Howard Swimmer. Oh, and I figured why not throw my art smack dab in the middle of the guitars too. So I have created, and am still creating, some very unique art guitars. Some by myself, and some in collaboration with some good artist friends... Pamelina Hovnatanian, John "CRASH" Matos, and Vince Carl.
I'm back... the passion is back... the guitars are back! I build a very low number of custom guitars per year, by hand, by myself, the way I think they should be built. I put an enormous amount of time into each instrument and give it all the time it needs in between each operation to be built the way I think it should be. I have always tried to let my art lead me in the direction I should go... I can always trust the art.