Froggy Bottom

Michael MillardI first met Michael Millard in the fall of 1972 when I started work at Gurian Guitars in Hinsdale, N.H. He was shop foreman. By the next spring he was making Froggy Bottom guitars full time and I was on my way to starting the Arthur E. Smith Banjo Company. Our relationship has grown over the years as Maple Leaf Music represents the company with a wide and continually changing selection of these amazing instruments.

Froggy Bottom is the smallest of the hand-built guitar companies that we have chosen to showcase, and they definitely the most unique. A Froggy Bottom guitar is like no other guitar in the world; these guitars are individual beings, full of character. Woods are chosen first for sound and secondly for cosmetics. The inlay patterns are original and the botanical, bird or animal engraved heel caps set him on a high pedestal in the elegance department. But the most wonderful thing about Froggy Bottom guitars is their acoustics. The head Frog is exceptional and magical in that if you can describe a sound to him he can build the guitar with that sound.

His knowledge of woods and how they work is unsurpassed. Even his small guitars- especially his small guitars- hold a big secret. SSHH! don’t tell them they’re small because they sound way bigger than they are; you don’t have to play them like a big guitar to fill a room. In all the Froggy Bottom guitars the sound palate is incredibly rich and diverse; it’s no work at all to get more than an incredible tone.

My favorite Frog story is the time we shipped an H12 Indian and Adirondack guitar to California. The client was a consummate collector of fine guitars and when I called him to ask if he was going to keep the guitar he said “I am very very unhappy with this guitar!” My heart sank. I knew it was a fine instrument- what was wrong? He continued “This guitar makes all my other guitars sound like RAILROAD TIES!!!”

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