IRIS GUITARS // BIOS
ADAM BUCHWALD • PRINCIPLE LUTHIER
My passion for instruments goes beyond building and repair work. As a working musician, who plays banjo, mandolin and guitar, I understand what a musician ultimately wants to get out of their instrument.
After studying with Bob Jones in Brooklyn NY, one of the most respected and talented luthiers in the country, I felt confident enough to take on my own clients and start Circle Strings. I was very fortunate to have Bob right next to me while I worked on my early repairs.
For over two years I was head repairman at Retrofret in Brooklyn NY with Steve Uhrik, Peter Kohman, and Jason Petty. Working with them gave me the opportunity to repair and restore some of the world's most valuable and rare instruments. It was there that I built some of my first guitars while having all of the vintage pieces, broken and playable, that I was able to study from. I worked on everything from a soprano ukulele to a Ernie Ball Earthwood bass. It was an amazing time.
VT was calling me, and raising a family in NYC was not what I wanted. I was offered a position to teach guitar building and repair at Vermont Instruments and moved up North. I spent a few years teaching and building/repairing on the side.
I then worked at Froggy Bottom Guitars and learned so much about guitar building, dedication to a craft, hard work, and most importantly, myself.
I have finally settled back in Burlington VT, next to my alma mater UVM, and have opened up my own shop doing custom builds and repairs. I am mostly building guitars, mandolins, and more recently tenor guitars and double course tenors (ala octave mandolins). These instruments combine my love of mandolin and guitar and are a rare bird in the handcrafted scene of instruments.
Nicholas Durkee • LUTHIER
My passion for lutherie started during my senior year of high school, where I built an electric guitar in my woodshop class. After graduating, I took a brief detour to college, however quickly lost interest in what I was doing. It didn't take much thought in what I wanted to do instead. I enrolled in Brian Galloup’s School of Lutherie in Big Rapids, MI where I took the six-month masters course. In my time there as a student, I built a solid body electric guitar, two acoustic guitars and an archtop. After receiving my certificate, I was approached my luthier Sam Guidry, an instructor at the school, about starting an apprenticeship there. I accepted and spent the next year and a half working under Sam and the many other talented instructors there, including Brian Galloup. When the end of my apprenticeship drew near, I was lucky enough to be introduced to Adam Buchwald of Circle Strings, who met Sam at a guitar show. After speaking with Adam, it became clear that his shop in Burlington, VT was a perfect spot for me to continue my work as a builder of handmade guitars.