GURIAN, MICHAEL
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GURIAN, MICHAEL
Instruments previously built in New York City, NY, Hinsdale, NH, and West Swanzey, NJ between 1965 and 1981/82.
Luthier Michael Gurian built quality classical and steel string acoustic guitars, as well as being a major American wood supplier. He debuted his classical designs in 1965 and offered steel string designs four years later. In 1971, at the encouragement of vintage retailer Matt Umanov, Gurian designed a cutaway model that later became a regular part of the product line.
In the early 1970s, Gurian moved his production facilities from New York City, NY to Hinsdale, NH. Gurian's four story mill building housed a large band saw (for slabbing logs), two resaws (cutting slabs to dimension), and various planers. During this time period, Gurian imported ebony, rosewood, mansonia, and spruce; his U.S. sources supplied walnut, maple, and other woods. Disaster struck in 1979, as a fire consumed their current stock of guitars as well as tooling and machinery. Gurian rebuilt by later that year in West Swanzey, NJ and continued producing guitars until 1982.
Michael Gurian may have stopped offering guitars in 1982, but he still continues to be a major presence in the guitar building industry. Gurian serves as a consultant in guitar design, and his company offers guitar fittings (such as bridge pins) and supplies, custom built marquetry, and guitar-building tools based on his designs. Gurian was perhaps one of the first smaller guitar producers to combine production techniques with hand crafted sensibilities. Guitars produced at the New Hampshire site were built in three distinct phases. In Phase One, the basic guitar parts (tops, backs, necks, fingerboards, etc.) were produced in large lots and inventoried. Gurian's factory did use carving lathes to "rough out" the neck blanks, and heated hydraulic presses to bend the guitar sides. During Phase Two, the company's luthiers would choose "kits" from the part supplies and construct the guitar individually. This allowed the luthiers control over individual guitar's construction and tuning. Finally, in Phase Three, the finished guitars were sent to the finishing technicians to spray the finish. This method would guarantee a similarity in the finishes from one guitar to the next. It is estimated that around 5,000 Gurian guitars were built. Sources: The Alembic Report Guitar Player magazine, and Tom Wheeler, American Guitars, and David Johnson.

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