New Business in Highland County Creates Custom Guitars
A new business in Highland County is often music to people’s ears, but this time, that statement is literal. Ian Robertson is the owner and proprietor of Wolfhouse Guitars in Monterey. With past experience playing in bands and woodworking, he officially started the business this year.
He says, “Wolfhouse started as my own personal venture of building a more affordable guitar up to production standards. A lot of the guitars that I’ve seen on the market, I always felt were incredibly overpriced for what they were as far as craftsmanship or options. Most off-the-shelf guitars, you can’t personalize it to what fits you best, so I saw a need for being able to customize things like people like to do, and make it truly your own, while keeping prices within reasonable standards without having to pay for a name or prototyping time and machining time that a lot of big companies charge you for.
“I’m completely self-taught. I have a history of woodworking that I took what I knew already and parlayed that in to the musical instrument venue and just learned as I went along. I’ve been building now for probably ten or twelve years, and it started off slow and just kind of progressed, and eventually, I wanted to offer it to other people who were in the same position that I was when I started. I only do electrics at this time. It varies quite a bit depending on what the customer wants. I have my own body designs that I’ve come up with over the years, so that’s primarily what I build, but, again, it’s largely dependent on what the customer wants as far as wood options and hardware options and body styles. They’re all different. I like to use a lot of different woods, and each piece of wood has its own character, so I take each one as it comes and each one becomes a favorite in a different way.”
Ian Robertson is involved in every single process that it takes to create his custom guitars from start to finish. He continues, “From raw wood, rough cut wood, all the way up to the last polish and finish. I get as much as I can locally. You know, we’re a little bit limited as far as species and what’s usable in guitar making, but I also like to use a lot of reclaimed wood, the older the better. It sounds really good. It’s dried out really well, stuff like old heart pine, wormy chestnut, walnuts, things of that nature, and plus, it’s recycling. It’s putting it back in to a useful role.”
Mr. Roberston explains the significance of the name, Wolfhouse. He says, “The Wolfhouse name comes from my family name, Robertson. Our Scottish clan family crest has three wolves on it, and that’s because way back in early, early days of the clan, they were credited for ridding Scotland of wolves, which back then was a huge deal, because it was a more primitive lifestyle, so wolves were a big threat.”
Wolfhouse Guitars is added to a list of Highland County businesses with an owner under the age of thirty-five. Mr. Robertson concludes, “I think Highland needs younger people starting businesses and more diverse businesses as well. We’ve always been really farming dependent, which is a good thing, but having other, more artistically-based industries or businesses in the county is always a good thing, can draw more people in and provide a wider base of visitors.”
A future website is planned to accept online orders, but folks interested in learning more can contact Wolfhouse Guitars currently at its Facebook page. Allegheny Mountain Radio will have photos of some of the custom guitars at this story’s posted link at www.alleghenymountainradio.org.