Maple Leaf Music Supports Vermont Luthiers
Maple Leaf Music takes pride in representing some of the finest stringed instruments to local, national and international players. In the past six months, we have made great strides to develop and increase our selection of talented luthiers from the Green Mountains. We now carry handmade acoustic guitars, mandolins and banjos all expertly crafted right here in Vermont by seven luthiers. Some of these names you’ll recognize as being well established and reputed while others are just breaking into the scene with their own line of instruments. Either way, these instrument builders have been carefully vetted by our high selection standards and each one has something unique to offer.
Froggy Bottom Guitars – Chelsea, Vermont
Froggy Bottom Guitars, a name which is now known to musicians everywhere as one of the finest builders of acoustic guitars, has been a staple Vermont luthier for forty years. There is no other guitar quite like a Froggy. All of the guitars that come out of Michael Millard’s shop in Chelsea, VT have a nearly unmatched standard of excellence, and each has its own distinct character. After forty years of building, the team at Froggy Bottom has refined their techniques to a science filled with pure tone. Maple Leaf Music currently has seven Froggy Bottom guitars in the shop, each unique in size and wood combinations. The spectrum ranges from a dark, rich Mahogany in a parlor size to a stunning Walnut in an M size (a little rounder than an OM). The newest arrival is a K Deluxe Maple with a Florentine cutaway and a rainbow trout heelcap painted by Petria Mitchell. Froggy Bottom guitars are the type of guitar you save for, dream about and cherish as an heirloom.
Whetstone Guitars – Brattleboro, Vermont
When it comes to locally produced, it doesn’t get much closer than Scott Hausmann’s Whetstone Guitars, built right here in Brattleboro, VT. Hausmann procured years of experience working both at Gurian Guitars and Froggy Bottom. He currently directs the Whetstone School of Lutherie where he teaches courses on how to build guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles. We have been fortunate to receive several of the guitars and ukuleles that he built while teaching his classes. These high-quality hand-built guitars have a much more affordable price tag (under $2500) than most handmade instruments because of their simple, back to the basics aesthetics. Scott’s instruments are par none for any price point: they are beautiful and exceptionally rich sounding guitars characteristic of a luthier hitting his stride. Right now, we have two 00’s, a 000 14-fret, a small jumbo, and a dreadnought, all with Sitka spruce tops and Mahogany back and sides. Additionally, we have one of Hausmann’s signature guitars which are hand tailored in a slope shoulder dreadnought size with rosewood back and sides, incredible, driving sound, and looks to match.
Excitable Guitars – Westminster, Vermont
Recently, Maple Leaf Music was pleased to add a selection of Excitable Guitars, built by Jeffrey Bickford in Westminster Vermont. In addition to two fine OM’s, we have a truly special Baritone guitar that is rich and deep without being muddy, this is a rare feat indeed! All three have koa back and sides and each has a different top (one koa, one Adirondack spruce, one redwood). These unique guitars can’t be found anywhere else, so please come in and give them a strum!
Circle Strings – Burlington, Vermont
Luthier Adam Buchwald of Circle Strings has recently opened his own workshop in Burlington Vermont after working for a number of renowned luthiers and teaching for the Vermont Instrument School of Lutherie in Post Mills. He just delivered a fine A-style mandolin which we would characterize as being crisp, clean and balanced throughout the range of the instrument. Simple appointments, carefully selected woods, and an expertly done finish all complete his wonderful looking instruments. Maple Leaf Music is looking forward to seeing more of his work in the shop. Next in line are some of his highly praised tenor guitars!
Rigel Mandolins – Jeffersonville, Vermont
We are fortunate to have Pete Langdell of Rigel Mandolins in Northern Vermont building instruments for us again. Rigel is a name which has built a strong following over the years. The first one of his mandolins to arrive is an A+ Deluxe with a pickup which is one of his tried and true models. As with all of the makers we chose, the construction is of superior quality and is built with many locally harvested tonewoods. Rigels are known for innovative mandolin designs that stretch beyond the boundaries of history.
Fielding Banjos – Marlboro, Vermont
Just down the road in Marlboro Vermont, Will Fielding makes some of the best banjos on the planet. There is no one in the same class in terms of attention to detail, and I do mean no one. From his simply appointed Bantam model to the stunningly outfitted Nightsky Rooster that we have in stock, Fielding Banjos are the pinnacle of small shop banjo building in the United States. Maple Leaf Music is pleased to offer some of the best open back (old timey) banjos being built today. The heelcarving by Michelle Holzapfel on the Nightsky Rooster is a one of a kind masterpiece within one of the finest banjos you will ever play. Fielding is another Vermont luthier who sources a large percentage of the woods that he builds with locally. You can tell from the tone and the beautiful aesthetic of ironwood, maple and cherry that Vermont possesses some of the top tonewoods and builders for banjos.
And the Future Holds…
As for the future, we are currently fostering the development of several new relationships with electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and banjo builders from this great state. We stand firmly behind the belief that Vermont is producing some of the finest stringed instruments in the world and we have the instruments to prove it. The question that crosses our mind is: Why would you buy a corporately produced instrument when you can buy a locally-built handmade instrument for the same price or less? Our website is updated daily with new arrivals which are highlighted in our blog and luthiers page so you may learn more about the Vermont stringed instrument movement. We welcome you to stop in to compare what these amazing instruments have to offer and we look forward to seeing you soon.