October 2009 Issue
Ohioan - Dan Erlewine
By Melissa Kory
PERSONAL: Lives in Athens with his wife, Joan. He has two grown daughters and a granddaughter.
HIS SPECIALTY: Erlewine is an internationally known expert who has been fixing and building guitars since 1960. He has a shop at home and has worked at Athens-based Stewart-MacDonald, a parts supplier and repair service for stringed instruments, for 23 years. “I enjoy fixing things and solving problems,” he says. “Every job I do, I may never do again. It’s constantly different.”
FAMOUS STRINGS: He has worked on guitars for notable musicians such as Ted Nugent, Jerry Garcia and Albert King. He built King’s “Lucy” guitar. “It was wonderful. I was making a guitar for a hero,” he says.
TEACHING STYLE: He began creating instructional videotapes about string-instrument repair in 1984 and has updated them to DVD format with fresh techniques and tools (see danerlewine.com). He is also editor of Stewart-MacDonald’s newsletter Trade Secrets.
EVEN IN HIS SPARE TIME: Erlewine performed with bands in the ‘60s and has never quit playing guitar. “I still play every day. It’s what I like to do more than anything else.”
CUSTOM DESIGN: He designed a one-of-a-kind guitar that fits his body and mounts on a stand to help him play in spite of arthritis. “It’s kind of twisted around my body for comfort. There’s nothing else like it.”
LOOKING FORWARD TO: Continuing to “talk, write and repair more and more.”