Sunday, February 28, 2010

Rock N Roll Relics interview with

Billy Rowe of Rock n Roll Relics is not your most traditional Luthier. For starters he is quite an accomplished musician.

A founding member of the 80's band Rock band JETBOY, (who have since reunited with a new release out March 2nd), have done countless worldwide and US tours and sold over 300,000 records. He also had a run with his 90's band American Heartbreak on a more punk rock level.

Billy still manages to output some of the most gorgeous Relic and period pieces that are to die for.

That being said Billy was kind enough to answer our 10 Luthier Questions.

CGB: Let’s start from the beginning how did you generate interest in the guitar?
Billy: My Introduction to guitar was seeing Ace Frehley of KISS with his Tabacco burst Les Paul slung down low !! from that day on It was all about Guitars and Rock N' Roll.

CGB: What inspired you to become a luthier?
Billy: I was always Into working with with hands since I was a kid from car model kits to tinkering on my guitars. In high school I built my first electric solid body guitar. Through the years I put together guitars which lead to me having a business building Relics.

CGB: When did you finally realize you could earn a living building guitars?
Billy: I restored an old 1966 Telecaster and decided to build a clone version for myself which I ended up selling. After surfing the Internet I saw there was a growing love for beat up relic guitars so I started Rock N' Roll Relics and It's been growing more for me each year.

Since day one of becoming a luthier, after all the experience through the years what is the fundamental thing you still do today that you did in the beginning?
Billy: I'd say a little bit of everything still, from emailing customers to building the guitars and taking photos of them. The one thing I don't do now Is my website.

CGB: What is your luthier or guitar building horror story?
Billy: Hmmm, luckily nothing to be, maybe over aging some parts ?? but that happens when your doing more than one thing at a time.

CGB: How different are things today as far as luthery and the industry goes from when you first started building, any significant changes?
Billy: Not to much ? there's definitely more of a want for what I do out there now which means more people trying to build good looking relics.

CGB: Have you ever had to deal with a customer who knew for sure they wanted a guitar from you, and then when you asked them what they were looking for, had the slightest clue about why they wanted one of your guitars?
Billy: Never really experienced this, they pretty much know exactly what they want, or leave it up to me from seeing my work.

CGB: Do you have any favorite woods as far as sound and ease of use? For example I know cocobolo is very dense and can be a challenge to carve by hand.
Billy: Well, since my main thing Is Tele and Strat clones It's mainly Ash and Alder I work with.

CGB: What would you say to up and coming builders who are just starting out?
Billy: Pay attention to detail, It goes a long ways.

CGB: In your opinion who is the most influential Luthier?
Billy: I don't really have a favorite or a main Influence when It comes to this, I think those who are good at what they do stand their own ground, I'v seen work by many great builders and I salute them all.

Rock n Roll Relics guitars may be purchased via: Come pay us a visit.
is currently awaiting the arrival of a period piece to be sold exclusively via If you are in the NYC Area and would like to test drive it please contact us to schedule an appointment.

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