Guitars....something that I admire but I don't play. I know beautiful music comes from them but as I'm not a guitarist I wondered how can I write an article about them. Then I met guitar designer and builder, Barry Grzebik. I spent an afternoon with Grzebik at his workshop/home and he taught me a boatload about how a guitar is made. I want to share a little of what I learned, whilst hanging with him at his workshop that day.
His knowledge about his work is impressive. He has combined a lifetime of different skills he has, to build these gorgeous guitars. As a non musician all I can say is that they were beautiful visually and sounded amazing...But like I said, I am simply a music lover, not a musician. But to all you musicians out there, you should definitely check out Grez Guitars, as I think you too, will be as impressed as I.
Grez Guitars is based in Petaluma, but sells, mostly to non locals on the internet and through word of mouth. Barry Grzebik the builder/designer comes from a pretty interesting background. He was, and still is a sound engineer on a consultancy basis. Technically he is an Acoustical Consultant and AV Systems Designer at Grzebik Design Group, a firm specializing in AV and Acoustics for venues, such as concert halls, stadiums and high profile places of worship. In short, what that is, is, he is the guy that venues, large and small come to when they want to build the best sound system for their venue. Prior to establishing Grez Guitars and Grzebik Design Group, Barry was Director of Engineering for Apogee Sound where he designed and oversaw the design of everything from rackmount digital signal processors, to power amplifiers and critically acclaimed professional loudspeakers.
What I found out is he knows tons about wood, sound, speakers, guitars and everything one would need to know to build a good guitar, so some years ago he set up shop, just outside his home in Petaluma, where he lives with his wife. A beautiful, professional workshop just steps from their back door.
He builds custom hand made guitars and his newest addition to the Grez family....stock guitars. The only difference being is that the custom ones take a lot longer to get in the buyers hands and of course are built to your custom specifications.
Barry showed me around his beautiful array of beautiful woods, some rare, and all gorgeous. He walked me through the steps to build just one guitar. I learned a ton that day about the process, and I was amazed to hear that depending on the wood you choose, the sound is different for all. Each handcrafted guitar is a singular creation, combining a unique style and approach to voicing with each musician’s personal touches.
Rooted in the tradition of California’s guitar builders from a past generation, Grez Guitars builds R.C. Allen-designed archtops and unique semi-hollowbodies, as well as steel string flat top acoustics, solid body guitars and basses. “The Grez yields a dark, woody ambiance that oozes sophistication, warmth, and rich string definition. The Grez is...transformative, and an inspired creation for the discriminating guitarist.” Oscar Jordan, Vintage Guitar Magazine.
A quick word about materials. He works in both solid wood and laminated wood. For laminated applications, full hollow archtops, he hand lays up individual veneers, 5 layers, to create top and back plates . Using solid wood for semi-hollowbodies is an important part of how he gets so much resonance out of a design that inherently doesn't want to resonate. But for archtops solid wood often resonates too much for the player working at moderate stage volumes. His archtops use laminated materials to help control this.
Although he has now added stock guitars for those guitarists wanting instant gratification. Grez is all about customizing...he builds left-handed guitars, and will work with anyones needs for all sorts of customizable details. Every aspect of the guitar is discussed and built to your specifications from string spacing, neck widths, and wood choices to pickups and custom headstock inlays, making every guitar a one-of-a-kind. From a visual point of view, they are simple, and sleek, and the sound that comes from them is truly where the magic lies. I think any guitarist would be happy to have one of these beauties in their collection. For more info on how you can get a Grez, and customize a guitar for yourself, check out: https://www.grezguitars.com