sherman guitars

The former Hamer, Washburn, and Dean builder takes boutique shredmachine luthiery to the extreme with an approach that prioritizes local sourcing and one-on-one client engagement.

On an atypically warm, late-December Friday afternoon, Mike Sherman is scrambling to get the last of his holiday orders out the door. The lone builder of custom extended-range guitars has been working 12-hour days for the past five years to produce the 60 or so one-off instruments he sells annually. In the coming year, however, he says he’ll be scaling back his annual ambitions by 20 pieces in hopes of working shorter days: “The hours are just too long,” he says with a sigh.

Although he was recently featured in Robert Shaw’s book Electrified: The Art of the Contemporary Electric Guitar, Sherman doesn’t consider himself a master builder. “When I was contacted about doing it, I thought it was a joke,” he says. Still, he’s been building since he was 14—when he suddenly found himself fatherless and with a garage full of carpentry equipment. “I always wanted to be a musician, and my father was a carpenter and a mason,” he explains. When his father passed away, Sherman recalls, “my mom was thinking about selling his equipment, but I said, ‘Y’know what? Let me start dabbling.’” Tinkering away in the garage, armed with dad’s tools, a few guitar-building books, and plenty of ambition, the teenager built what he now describes as a 7-string, Stratish- looking thing that he was surprised even played. “I’ve been hooked ever since.”

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