Hey, everybody – I’ve got somebody I’d like you to meet. This handsome fella here is my good friend, Mr. Scott Morgan, from Helsinki, Finland.
Scott is an amazing guitar tech and luthier, who deserves the credit/blame for getting me into this whole fixing guitars thing. I met Scott way back in my Werlein’s for Music days, where he was working as their repair shop manager. Werlein’s was a crazy place, full of classic New Orleans characters, and amongst the chaos Scott and I formed a life-long friendship. I had been tinkering with my own guitars since I was 15 years old, but had never done much in the way of serious work. Scott offered to help me out with my old Peavey B-Quad bass, which had a phenolic (often misconstrued as graphite) fingerboard, and I wanted to convert it to fretless. It wasn’t an easy job, but Scott was very patient and helpful, and in the end I had a killer fretless that I played exclusively for many years.
A few years later, Scott and I found ourselves rooming together post-Katrina. At that time, I was playing bass full time, and Scott was making a living as a very in-demand guitar tech. Our house was perfect for our needs: I had set up a modest tracking studio in one room, and Scott had set up a guitar work shop in another (and a cheap pool table in another). Sometimes that house felt like THE gathering place for just about every musician in town. Some would come to write, record, and rehearse with me, some would come to have their guitar worked on, while others just came to play pool. Eventually I started gravitating more and more into Scott’s shop, where he would teach me the kind of skills that would later define the course of my professional life.
Scott and I eventually left New Orleans: myself to San Francisco, where I worked full-time in one of the world’s best guitar shops, SF Guitarworks; and Scott to Helsinki, Finland, where he started his own guitar shop, Morgan Guitars. He’s become the go-to guy in Scandinavia for vintage guitar restoration, and is beginning to move into production on his own guitars. After a few years in San Francisco, I decided to start my own shop in New Orleans, which seemed to have been lacking a really professional quality shop since Scott’s departure for Europe. Scott was kind enough to send a bunch of his NOLA based clients my way, and I’ve done my best to fill his rather prodigious shoes.
I have the pleasure of hosting Scott and his family for the next two months while they are on holiday in New Orleans. Of course, I’ve pressed Scott into helping out in the shop a bit, and I’ve been picking his brain about vintage guitar details that he excels at. It’s really interesting to contrast how he and I work: I look at my work as a science, he views it as an art. It’s been really fun comparing notes, discussing tools and techniques, and just shooting the breeze with a good friend. I’m going to enjoy having him around this summer – I feel honored to be working side by side with the man who set me on the path to being a guitar tech.
By the way: the guitar Scott is holding is his #1 Strat, which he built. It was stolen six years ago, and was just recently recovered with some small help from yours truly. Scott’s fixed it up and returned it to it’s former glory, and now he won’t put it down!