Building Blog

December 2023

Well it has a been a tough fall for Kennedy Guitars with major life changing health issues for both myself and my wife.  Shop work is gradually resuming at a slower pace but proceeding none the less.  I am confident I will be able to complete more instruments.  The two in progress have the bodies complete and the necks are coming along so it is very possible they could go to finish in early 2024.  They may be spoken for but if not, they will go to Willie’s American Guitars in St Paul.

Life throws you a curve ball now and then.  This was a big one.

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August 2023

              Actor John Hawkes who is from my home town of Alexandria MN picked up an OM this month.  

John Hawkes

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June 2023

Work continues on two OMs for Willie’s American Guitars. Both double sides/  One Rosewood/Maple inner  and the other Birds’s Eye Maple/ Rosewood inner.  I am planning a Cedar top for the Rosewood.  Hope to have them in the store October of November.

My friend Paul G picked up his OM last month.  The burst came out great!

Quite a few repairs floating through so things are busy.  Have a great summer!

April 2023

The two client commissions are strung up and settling in.  Both single side IRW/Lutz with Brazilian fretboards and bridges.  Tony Ferguson did a great burst on one of them.  They sound good out of the gate.  I am happy with them.

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Other shop activity is centered around repairs.  This one was unusual.  A 1930’s  KayKraft mandolin purchased by a client’s grandmother when she was 16 and on the farm.  Most likely a catalogue instrument.  The finish was worn off the neck in the first position.  It was obviously loved.

Now it’s singing again in the hands of her granddaughter.

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January 2023

It has been a while since I updated my blog.  My website software had an issue but I think I have figured a workaround.  I have just completed two commissions, both IRW OMs with Lutz tops.  Single sides with Brazilian fretboards.  They are off to finish.

I have also delivered a nice double side Mahogany/Rosewood OM commission with a great Adi top.  Finished in a burst.  Good sounding guitar.

I will be focusing on repairs for the time being, but will probably be starting another build in the relatively near future.

           Check out my instruments at Willies american Guitars in St Paul MN.




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September 2022

Things are rolling on two commissions.  Both single side Rosewood/Lutz OMs with Brazilian Rosewood fretboards.   Another should coming back from finish in a few weeks so plenty to do.  Few repairs scattered in as well.

I am not taking any big repair jobs right now so I can focus more time on the builds.

I have two very nice OMs at Willies American Guitars in Saint Paul MN.  Willie’s is an iconic store and has an amazing inventory of vintage acoustic and electric guitars as well as new inventory.  It’s definitely worth a visit for any guitar junkie.  They are doing business by appointment only.   

13812 Eustis St. St Paul MN

Call 651 699 1913

Sep 5, 2022 at 8:38 PM

December 2019

The all laminate archtop is back from finish and set up.  I have been playing it for a couple of weeks.  I have decided to keep it as it is perfect for what I am doing musically right now and I want to see how my new design tailpiece holds up.  The plates are from builder Steve Holst.  The top has a spruce outer laminate and I am impressed at the acoustic sound unplugged.  It has a mounted Kent Armstrong humbucker.



The All Mahogany OM with the upper bout carbon tube headbock bracing is almost ready to go to finish.  This is my first Mahogany topped guitar.  It has a great tap tone so we will see if it is a winner or dud.  You never know till the strings are on!  The bracing works as I have duplicated string tension with the neck on and there is very little movement.

The rim set in the top of the lower picture is my new 15” Mahogany archtop design waiting for it’s plates.  It will have Holst laminated top and bottom plates and a mounted pickup.  



Finally my main wood supplier, Walter Lipton of Euphonon Co. has retired at age 78 and his wood has been bought by Allied Lutherie which has re-located to New England from California.  Walter’s Mahogany was the best, especially necks and I was lucky enough to get some of his neck blanks from Allied.  Enough to keep me going for a couple of years.  I also got some of his BZ bridge blanks and headstock veneers.

His Mahogany back and side sets were great as well and I will be ordering some from Allied before all their Euphonon stock is gone.



Finally, both guitars I had at Fret Central in Minneapolis have sold.  I hope to have some more there in the next six months.  Probably the 15” archtop and an OM.  have a great 2020 everyone.

November 2019

I have two builds going at present.  Both interesting.  One is a double side Mahogany OM with a new (to me) strut bracing system for the headlock using hollow carbon tubes.  I met Tim McKnight at a recent guitar show and he showed me what he has been doing to strengthen the upper bout.  I have seen variants of this around for a number of years but never tried it.

The stability is apparently amazing and one can quit worrying about settling in which is always an issue on a new guitar almost always requiring a re-do of the setup in five or six months for optimal playability.  It also offers the possibility of dramatically decreasing the upper bout bracing and maybe gaining a little more vibrating soundboard.

I am excited to see how things pan out on this prototype.

The other build is a totally new 15” archtop body pattern.  I am thinking of calling it the “old player’s jazz guitar”.  Easy to hold and reach around, and probably a 24.75 scale length for elderly fingers. 

It has Mahogany double sides and will have laminated plates and a mounted pickup in the neck position.

October 2019

Archtop is off to finish.  It will have a mounted Kent Armstrong humbucker in the neck position.  I am using a new tailpiece design I can construct in the shop.


I had the good fortune to do the Great River Guitar Show at the Southeastern Technical College in Red Wing MN in September.  The school is the location of one of the oldest musical instrument construction and repair programs in the USA.  It was organized by Minneapolis luthier Tim Reede who teaches at the school.  My wife Pat’s presence graced my table!

The 15” archtop shown in the picture was a big hit.  I built it with an OM mold and just free lanced the Florentine cutaway so I have spent the last week or two jigging up for a real 15” shape with a venetian cutaway which I like better.  Here is the bending/laminating form for the non-cutaway side.

I borrowed a 17” archtop owned by Glenn Elvig for the guitar show and brought it up to the shop for a setup.  It is one I had a hard time letting go.



In addition to the 15”  archtop my fall/winter projects will be my first Mahogany topped OM.  Stay tuned.   

July 2019

Since my last entry I have a new dealer, Fret Central, a division of Quinn Violins in Minneapolis.  See details on my “availability” page.  I have two guitars there now.  Both OM’s and both good ones.

I has been a busy summer with good weather, visiting grandkids, music gigs and all around just enjoying the 3-4 months a year that MN is actually pretty livable!

I have had some shop time however and am working on an all laminate 16” archtop.  It will have fingerstyle string spacing and a mounted pickup.  Probably a tv.Jones.  I have not decided on the next ones but Marty Reynolds has been bugging me to build a Mahogany topped OM so I probably will.

Check out Fret Central!



© Terence Kennedy 2013