Who I am
I've been playing guitar for almost 50 years and have enjoyed building things as long as I can remember. Having owned and played a lot of guitars over the years including flat top steel string acoustics, classical guitars, archtops, solid body electrics, semi-hollow body electrics, and a resonator guitar, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't work in guitars. I also play a variety of styles including folk, blues, Celtic, rock, and jazz using flat picking and finger style playing. This gives me a good understanding of the tonal characteristics, responsiveness, and playing mechanics that are important for different styles and players, and makes it easier to communicate about a player's specific needs and preferences in a guitar.
The four things I look for in a guitar are its tone, playability, craftsmanship, and aesthetics, in that order with the first two being the most important by a big margin. A beautiful looking guitar is great, but it has to sound and play great as well to be worthwhile. The designs of my guitars are original. They build on the accumulated knowledge in the luthier community necessary to build a guitar with excellent tone and playability, but I bring my own sense of aesthetics to the guitars. I strive for an overall cohesiveness in design motifs and in combinations of woods and appointments. I build guitars using the classic woods, but I also have a strong interest in building with alternative woods and there are many that can be used to make truly excellent and distinctive guitars. One of my recent guitars was built using woods from the west coast of North America ranging from northern California to British Columbia. I plan to use that theme again in the future.
Building guitars is great fun. Going through the various woods I have (or could acquire) to come up with the next combination to use to build a guitar is always a good time. Problem solving comes up regularly which keeps me on my toes. Building successfully requires a meticulous approach, patience, persistence, and high standards, but hearing a new guitar for the first time after putting the first set of strings on is tremendously exciting and rewarding. It's also fun to hear how the tone changes in the first few hours after string up as the wood settles in and then a little more over the next couple days. Even better is seeing the new owner play it for the first time and then getting back positive reports from the owner's time with it out in the wild.
Working with a player to come up with a guitar configured specifically for them is also fun to do. If you are interested in talking over the possibilities for building a guitar specifically for you, please feel free to contact me.
Jay De Rocher
About the model names of my guitars. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and have spent a lot of time in the outdoors here and still do. Ospreys, Kingfishers, and Meadowlarks are three of my favorite birds from this part of the world. A pair of ospreys nests at the top of the hill by my home every year, and Kingfishers can be seen and heard flying back and forth along the creek by my house every day. My family spent many weekends on the Long Beach Peninsula in southwest Washington and Meadowlarks were a common sight and sound in the dunes there.