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Founding luthier, Kevin Ryan, worked for the Southern California-based Northrop Aeroscience Lab when he prototyped his first guitar design. It was 1987. By day, he built jet fighter models for transonic wind tunnel testing. Late into the evenings, he worked on guitars, obsessively re-imagining the traditional aesthetics and sound of the iconic American instrument.
Though an aeroscience lab was, perhaps, an unlikely setting to foster an avante garde acoustic guitar, Kevin’s experience at Northrop – steeped in materials science and precision engineering – equipped him with a singular perspective and set of tools to craft a new class of acoustic instrument.
As he worked – melding art and engineering – on his first series of guitars, each step seemed to inspire new approaches to guitar design and construction. With time, he debuted more instruments and more models, with industry-first design features like the Ryan Bevel and Acoustic Flutes, Acoustic Honeycomb, and laser-sculpted “EO” bracing, among others.
Kevin’s inspiration from contemporary design and advanced tooling garnered attention within the larger guitar industry and, within three decades, his visionary work helped set a new standard for the look, feel, and performance of modern acoustic instruments.
Photo Credit: Fretboard Journal
Under The Influence is an eclectic playlist of songs, bands, and players that currently inspire and influence our music making. Curated by the entire Music Emporium staff, this playlist features some of our favorite holiday tracks to help you get in the spirit.
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