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Chris Locke

    Where to begin. The year 2005 was when it all started. Tinkering of guitars started back in 2005. Taking apart the guitars I owned just to see how everything works. Then came the brilliant idea of building my own from purchased parts. Unfortunately that was a bad idea because it became extremely addicting. Soon the guitars I "built" myself were making their ways into musicians hands and the commissioned builds started happening. That was circa 2007 and thus Locke Custom Guitars was officially born.


   I always liked working with wood so I took the steps to begin outfitting the shop. Sadly this was poor timing as this was the beginning of the great recession. I had to change gears as "boutique" custom guitars were effectively dead. How can I utilize my new wood working tools and be cost effective for the public? Take it back to the roots and offer bodies and necks to guys like me that wanted to build their own. That is when the hard work began. Hitting up the local music shops and giving them the "BYO" pitch. Left them with a few samples for consignment and away we went. As you might suspect that got us nowhere so off to the internet we went!

   How do you diversify yourself in a sea of competition? You pick a famous guitar player and you being replicating his famous bodies and necks. Boy were there A LOT of different bodies and necks to build. It took a few years of grinding but before long Locke Custom Guitars was regarded as the go to source for this subject matter. As business increased, I needed to figure out a way to get this done more efficiently so I didn't suffer the same fate as those before me. That is where the perpetual investment back into the business began. Each sale was essentially buying a new tool or solution to help make the product better. The running joke in my family was that I built guitars to fund my tool addiction.

   As the years went on, the support spread further and further. We have supplied product to most 1st world countries at this point, and I think that is pretty remarkable. This was the chance to get back into the "Boutique" game. Its a whole lot easier to market a brand when the brand has an impeccable track record. Enter Brad Tretola. Brad and I linked up in 2018 on a few "tribute" parts builds. Brad's resume was pretty impressive to me so I took his comments to heart. We came to this conclusion that we should work together. Our first guitar was the 6V in the signature series in 2019. As a professional musician, Brad knows what works and what doesn't. Brads primary role is the development and marketing of the "Signature Series" guitars.

   With Brad's touring schedule focus was shifted back to the parts builds. Here we are in 2020 and we are experiencing a worldwide pandemic. People are quarantined, bored and they need a project. Demand became greater than the time I had to do it all. I reached out to my good buddy Don Ward and pitched the idea. He had seen success with his Vestige Guitars brand, but was open to a new world. I have known Don for close to a decade and I know his work ethic/quality and I felt it would be a fit. In order to make things consistent, Don got a crash course on the Locke Custom Guitars school of luthiere. We have a certain way of building, we have a level of perfection that is required and we needed to be on the same page. Locke Custom Guitars customers have a certain expectation and those expectations need to be met regardless of which luthier builds it. Dons primary role is heading up the custom shop for those unique requests while also assisting me in the "production" shop.

   And that brings us to today. The trio each bring a unique skill-set to the table. I am proud of what we have built. I am proud that we have been featured on global platforms. I take comfort knowing that my guys are going to give you the customer the best experience you can ask for. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support.

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