Echopark Guitars of Detroit is one of five boutique guitar makers that has signed multi-year creative collaboration agreements with Nashville, Tenn.’s Gibson.
Under the agreement, Gibson will give Echopark a license to use Gibson trademarks, including the Les Paul Body Shape Design, Explorer Body Shape Design, ES-335 Body Shape Design, Firebird Body Shape Design, Flying V Body Shape Design, Flying V Headstock, Headstock Design, FLYING V, FIREBIRD, EXPLORER, and the Firebird Headstock.
“Everything that is perfect about the instrument had already been developed by Gibson long before any of us got here,” says Gabriel Currie, the owner of Echopark Guitars who is featured in the July/August issue of DBusiness. “My goal is to help preserve this legacy and take part in building inspiring instruments.”
Echopark Guitars was conceived in 2008 when Currie began hand-crafting instruments for various players. His clients include Aerosmith, Jackson Browne, Queens of the Stoned Age, Blackberry Smoke, and The Raconteurs, among others.
Echopark, located on the city’s far west side in the Old Redford District, produces around 100 guitars a year. Prices range from $2,500 to $14,000 for custom instruments. The final price is based on a variety of factors including selected woods, the shape, and exterior treatments.
“Some of the wood we use is more than 300 years old,” Currie says. “Our clients are looking for a great American guitar that is traditionally built, but in unique styles. (Woods we use include) mahogany, alder, sassafras, ash, maple, rosewood, and Zericote.”
Set within a nondescript building, the interior of Echopark resembles a lumberyard. Stacks of ash and mahogany surround seemingly every saw and drill known to man, along with steamers used to shape wood into curved forms. The guitars are sold alongside foot pedals and new and used amplifiers.
“Orville Gibson started as a boutique builder in 1894 in his workshop in Kalamazoo and these new collaborations are a way to pay tribute to Orville’s legacy in support of boutique builders and luthiers,” says Cesar Gueikian, chief merchant officer of Gibson Brands.