Store tuned in to hand-crafted guitars

Owner finds joy in his 'dream job'

Oct. 13, 2010

Redwood Acoustics isn't like most music stores. You won't find that mass-produced guitar perfectly priced for the child who might lose interest in a month or so.

No, the guitars that hang on the walls of Redwood Acoustics are all hand-built by some of the top luthiers in the world, each instrument custom-designed by owner Tom Dircks.

He chooses the woods. Will it be Brazilian rosewood? Cocobola? Walnut?

He chooses the shape: Will it be more rounded or square? Feature a little rock 'n roll flare?

And there are countless other decisions to be made, from nut width to whether to have fret markings.

It's a dream job, Dircks admits.

"I just love to play them, and love the tone," he said. "I love the look of them - the wood, the finishes, the craftsmanship."

That craftsmanship, with the help of the Internet, has drawn collectors nationwide to the fledgling store. Some fly in to strum the 75 or so guitars in the shop before buying, others know so specifically what they want that they don't need to. And some design their own, ordering it through Redwood.

High-end guitars by companies like Collings, Huss-Dalton, Bourgeois, Eastman and Lowden are worth it, Dircks said.

While the guitars are perhaps a little beyond the casual musician's needs, Dircks doesn't thumb his nose at recreational guitarists. He is one.

"My first guitar was in the 1970s, but between then and now I didn't practice at all," he admits. "About three years ago, my son and I got into it."

That's Tommy Dircks, a Wisconsin Hills Middle School student, who keeps every guitar in the store in tune.

Dircks invites all guitarists to stop by. He enjoys meeting others with the same passion.

"People who play guitar tend to be fun," he said.

That's why he's taking names of people interested in forming an informal guitar circle for people of varying skill levels. It will meet at the store once a month or so, just for the joy of it.

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BUSINESS: Redwood Acoustics

ADDRESS: 2835 N. Brookfield Road

PHONE: (262) 439-8393

OWNER: Tom Dircks


TYPE OF BUSINESS: Custom and hand-built acoustic guitar retailer




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