Shop Newsletter

Queen City Guitars New Home

Hello all, welcome to the inaugural Queen City Guitars Newsletter! Lots has been happening this year, lots of exciting things. New website, new workspace, and being able to transition to full time lutherie work among the top of the list. As this is the first shop update I suppose I should start with a quick introduction. My name is Aaron Foster and I build guitars under the name Queen City Guitars in Oakland, California. I am not originally from Oakland, in fact I will be celebrating my three year anniversary of moving here this week. I am originally from Denver, Colorado, the Queen City of the plains, hence the name. I built my first guitar 6 years ago, and have been hooked ever since. Currently I hand build build steel string guitars using predominantly hand tools. I am to make beautiful instruments that play even better than they look. Every guitar I build is one of a kind, carefully crafted to bring out its full potential as an instrument. I am immensely interested in building other instruments, mandolins, violins, classical guitars, but so far I have somehow restricted myself to just the steel string variety of acoustic guitars.

I suppose it might be helpful to give a little form to this thing that you are reading. Previous to this, I had had a blog which was my online home and an Instagram account (which is still active). I really liked the chance to use the blog to talk about lutherie, both the work I was doing and reflections on the work and I appreciate Instagram as a vehicle for sharing images of the work that I am doing, however both venues have their drawbacks. Instagram is less conducive to sharing more complex thoughts on a subject, more geared towards short comments and pictorial representation. The blog alone lacks the sense of interaction that it was started with some intention of establishing. I intend to maintain this on the website as a blog, but to send it to subscribers as a periodic email update, delivered directly to those who are interested, you, I hope. I hope that it will be a window into the world of building guitars, a chance for you to know when and where I will be displaying work (or perhaps sometime in the future even performing on an instrument I have built), and an invitation from me to you, to engage with me about the aspects of lutherie that interest you. I plan on sending these updates out about once a month, and occasionally sending email only updates to subscribers with pictures of newly completed guitars and events (It takes weeks worth of work to finish a guitar so don’t worry, I wont be sending an endless stream of picture to your email, though if you’re into that sort of thing, definitely check out my Instagram @queencityguitars).

Many of you receiving this will have met me at the Solano Stroll last month and I want to thank you for stopping by and chatting with me. It was great to talk to so many people with an interest in guitars, and lutherie, and woodworking in general. Also great to see many of you playing my guitar. Its a long process building an instrument from start to finish and in some ways it doesn’t feel complete until I can hand it to someone to make music on. As I ramp up production in the new shop I look forward to experiencing that more often.

Things have been busy here since the stroll, Still doing a little shop set up and organizing. It is a slow process as I feel out my needs in a new space. Where to put tools so that they are in easy reach, stickering wood that I hope to be making into guitars this winter and spring, slowly adding shelves, and then realizing I still have more tools than shelf space. Always, seemingly, more tools than shelf space. The shop itself is great, with space to spread out, a lot more wood storage than my previous space, and a secure commercial lease. I am looking forward to building here for some time to come.

The New shop is easily twice the size of my previous Oakland shop, with ample room for tool storage, and the space to stretch out while working (it is hard to adequately express how nice it is to have space when using hand tools) this feels like a great spot to grow as a craftsperson here in the East Bay.

The New shop is easily twice the size of my previous Oakland shop, with ample room for tool storage, and the space to stretch out while working (it is hard to adequately express how nice it is to have space when using hand tools) this feels like a great spot to grow as a craftsperson here in the East Bay.

I have also been juggling 6 guitars at various stages and a little repair work.

If you saw me at the Stroll you have seen a few of those guitars. I should have two vintage hand rubbed sunburst guitars strung up next week and two claro walnut guitars a few weeks after that. Additionally I started work on a mahogany RB-0 and a Peruvian walnut parlor size-0. The Peruvian walnut is brand new to me, but already I am in love with the velvety chocolate color of the wood and I think it will make a stunning guitar. The mahogany is the lightest mahogany I have ever worked with and the two will be a stark deviation from my recent practice of building twin guitars. I will certainly be including pictures in subsequent shop updates and I would encourage you to visit the website over the next few weeks to catch the newly finished guitars as they appear there. If you have any interest in playing a few chords on one, don’t hesitate to drop me a line and set up a time to see the guitars.

I also talked to many of you at the stroll about the possibility of participating in workshops and learning to build your own guitar. I am still very much in the planning stages of this and if it happens it will not be until after New Years, but if you are interested and have not done so, send me an email and let me know. I would especially like to know what kind of learning formats might be best for people. Workshop or solo, individual aspects of lutherie or just diving into building a complete instrument, I am open to considering whatever might interest you.

That’s all for today, I hope you will forgive the short update. I’m going to leave you for now with a few pictures from the shop over the last month and a request that you spread the word to anyone you know with an interest in guitars or finely crafted things, I would greatly appreciate it. Till next time, thanks for reading, feel free to reach out if you have any questions or comments regarding the shop or my work.

Aaron Foster