Playing music is a joy, there is a special relationship a musician has with their instrument. I love my role in this. Among my favorite things in life is to hear great music played on something I was able to create.
I am a self taught luthier and began building in 1995. I have been a serious student of the various schools of thought, it fascinates me, and I never stop learning. But, I am more of an intuitive rather than a scientific builder. As I build each guitar I am responding to the unique qualities of the woods selected. Through the years – and I hope there will be many more to come – I focus foremost on the voice of the guitar to achieve a tone that is rich and balanced, strong bass response, fat trebles and a good mid-range to fill out the overall sound. It's the tone that is pleasing to my ears. My bridge is designed with the same fundamentals in mind. It is an integral part of the unique tone of a McElroy.
I seek a perfect balance between tone, strength, playability and beauty, guitars with superior balance in volume and tone, separation and sustain, with a powerful and unique presence. This is my approach to guitar building. Solid craftsmanship combined with art, built primarily with the musician in mind. I enjoy creating guitars that are beautiful, and strong to give years and years of enjoyment. I want my guitars to be around long after I am gone.
I now use a couple of different bracing methods, for the McElroy original series I use the Gurian/ Cumpiano theory in bracing which I tailored to maximize tone while maintaining strong structural integrity. The Gurian/ Cumpiano theory made complete sense to me given my background in woodworking and my experience in structural design. Bracing has an integral role in the tone of a guitar. I carve the braces as tone bars bringing out bass and fat trebles without compromising structural integrity.
For my Generation2 series, lattice bracing replaces the traditional X bracing pattern I have been using since 1995. I built a classical guitar in 2002 using this and was amazed at the results, the dream of building a steel string acoustic with this bracing stayed with me and after years of working thru the design I built the prototype in 2009. The results surpassed my expectations. My philosophy remains the same, thinking of the braces as tone bars, and maintaining the balance between strength, beauty and playability. This bracing pattern is also integral to my all new design, the Neoteric. For this guitar I added a fully adjustable neck, a cantilevered fingerboard & offset sound hole to allow the entire soundboard to resonate.
I build my guitars with playability in mind for a guitar that feels good to your hands. I carve the necks with this in mind. I mainly use mahogany for the necks for it stability and an oil finish because it has a natural feel to the hand and avoids the sticky feel a lacquered neck can sometimes have.
Nature provides us with an amazing variety of beautiful tone woods; each has its own unique personality. I respond to this and allow the wood to tell me what it wants for rosettes, binding, etc. I find myself in awe as I select the various woods, and as I am finishing the guitars. The challenge here is to remain humble – and let the wood speak. The end result is what I hope is not only a work of art, but also a musical instrument that sounds and plays as beautiful as it looks.
I suppose I am on a never ending quest for balance in tone, strength, playability and beauty.