A Kit-Bashing Hobby


Taiho (“TIE-ho“) Guitars is a one-man hobby shop, based out of Macomb and Alcona Counties in Michigan (not affiliated with any multinational corporations or any other entity that use the “Taiho” name; see below).

I’ve been playing guitar since the late ’80s, but that’s not as impressive as it sounds. Music has been an escape my entire life, but not the defining force. I’ve jammed in some bands and projects over the years, but the allure of a steady career and secure family life took precedence, so the rock-star lifestyle wasn’t for me.

One day, I stumbled across the idea of building a guitar from a kit. That launched a crash-course in learning woodworking and finishing. With my previous experience in electronics and soldering wire connections, I built my first guitar, a blue Mockingbird clone, starting around the end of 2019 and finishing in early 2020. Taking advantage of the pandemic-led, stay-home requirement, I followed Blue-J with a 5-string bass, a 7-string guitar, and more.

My first commission came as a result of a casual conversation with my coworker. We usually start our day just chatting casually about the weekend or the night previous before diving into our work. When I mentioned that I’d finished up my third guitar build, she suddenly lit up and asked if I could build one for her husband.

When I posted photos of that project as well as a short video of me testing it out before delivery, I got another request from a friend. Now it seemed like it was getting a little more serious!

The “Taiho” Name and Method

I jokingly branded my instruments as “Taiho,” derived as an alternate pronunciation of the Japanese characters of my last name. I drew a following among my friends as I posted progress photos of each project. I posted my builds as a side category to my professional technology-oriented blog, Metalhead Tech.

Production volume is still low and I’m still learning. Taiho Guitars isn’t going to be a full-time job any time soon. But since interest in my work has been growing and that I realized I was blogging and cataloging more about guitar building than technology projects over at MHT, I spun this off into its own entity.

Right now, I’m still building based off of import kits as well as Warmoth components. What started as a folding table, some hand tools, and improvising (poorly) with some hand-held power tools in our country vacation home is expanding into a growing workshop. Inheriting my late father-in-law’s router meant I had the opportunity to begin cutting my own bodies from blanks, which I did with the Chevelle.

The workshop now features a drill press, oscillating belt/spindle sander, band saw, and an air compressor that drives a spray gun. Along with two workbenches I built using 2×4s and plywood.


Connect with me on Facebook.