My name is Matt Eich and I build these steel bodied resonator guitars in Saginaw, Michigan. Using what I know about instrument making, I’m rethinking these 1930’s era instruments so they can be used as an expressive tonal layer in any style of music. I cut out the steel plates I get from a steel shop in town and form them. I get locally sourced maple boards and carve them into necks. I apply the patina using a process I myself worked on for months. These guitars are not imported and rebranded. I make them with my own hands.
The story: I moved to Chicago after working at Huss and Dalton Guitars because of some family medical issues. A few more unfortunate diagnosis for other family members kept me there, and then during the recession I lost my manufacturing job. I left wondering, well… what now? A friend of mine told me a saying, one that became my mantra during my years working many blue collar jobs, “One day closer.” That day was here, but I didn’t know what it meant.
Then I saw Kelly Joe Phelps play his National. People went nuts about this unique instrument, and how masterfully he wielded it. His music was my very first exposure to acoustic music about 10 years earlier (You can fingerpick the guitar?) and I left wondering if I could build one, but allowing the look of the natural materials to be the centerpiece along with a thick acoustic tone not typically found in resonators.
A tremendous amount of research, and scrap, ensued. I had to talk to all sorts of metal workers to develop the instrument that is shown on these pages. I made some instruments and ran out of money. I went back into a manufacturing plant swinging engine blocks. So close. I worked there for two weeks and 12 people signed up on the wait list. I quit. It grew to 20, 50, 70, 80. It’s been a great adventure.
I love letting the raw material show through. No chrome, no powder coat. There’s a lot of history in metalwork, and I’m equally excited about where this process will lead me next. I love figuring out new ways of making these unique instruments sound bigger. Buying an instrument made by one person means you being included in that experience, and in the history of these instruments. These are instruments expressing a tone that can not be reproduced by any other kind and are made by a person who loves being able to be part of this history of instrument making.
I really do appreciate any interest you have in my work. I love to talk guitars. Let me know how I can help. firstname.lastname@example.org.