About Skipper Custom Instruments

Skipper instruments are built by me, Roger Skipper, in a small, one-man shop in the mountains of western Maryland. My first instrument, a simple electric guitar, was constructed when I was in high school, a long time ago. The body was a piece of pine from a local lumberyard, the frets were flattened wire (I didn't know there was such a thing as fret wire), and the pickups were hand-wound around hardware-store magnets. The instrument had decent sound and was quite playable, and I soon built another.

Much later, in 1985, I met luthier Norm Adams at a bluegrass festival, and became fascinated with his instruments. I'd been working with wood all my life, and fueled by this new inspiration, I built an F-5 mandolin. I quickly got an order for another, and more after that, and suddenly I began to look at lutherie as more than a simple hobby. In 1998 I quit my day job and turned my full attention to lutherie and to writing.

Now, more than three decades after my first serious venture into lutherie, my instruments are spread across the country in the hands of musicians of many genres. During these years, I've built acoustic instruments of all descriptions, and I believe that each new lutherie adventure has both built on and strengthened the others. Until recently, as a complement to my hands-on lutherie, I was a contributing editor for American Lutherie magazine, the leading publication for luthiers worldwide. I've relinquished that position to focus my energies on my own lutherie and on my writing.

Although I'm still building custom instruments, in these later years of my career, I'm primarily building what I want to build, then making those

available both directly from me and through other venues. Please check the "For Sale" pages for what is currently available. If you have a custom instrument in mind, please contact me. If my schedlue will accommodate your project, and it's one I find interesting, I'll be happy to work with you toward delivery.

Until recently, Dr. Gerry Snelson --a college professor by day but in every breathing moment a musician, artist, consummate craftsman, and my close personal friend -- was a key element of my business. With my shift away from custom work, he's stepped out of the picture. I'm eternally grateful for the inspiration and creativity he's provided through the years.

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