Modern Builder Vault: James A. Olson Guitars
December 16, 2008
Luthier James A. Olson performs every aspect of guitar construction and has been honing his reputation as a fine flattop maker since 1977. Known for his custom tooling and high profile clients like James Taylor and Phil Keaggy, Olson’s starting price for a custom guitar is $12,500. He currently produces about 40 guitars a year with a wait time of about nine months.
The guitar pictured here is one of two Anniversary Models Olson produced to celebrate his 30th year of guitar making. Identical except for one model having a cutaway, the guitars have cedar tops and “special reserve” Brazilian rosewood backs and sides. They feature Brazilian and paua shell rosettes, old growth Brazilian rosewood neck laminates and WBW purfling. These Anniversary Models also feature fossilized ivory nuts, saddles and bridge pins. This model features special fingerboard inlays by Larry Robinson. It sold for $35,000.