Podcast 292: Guitarmaker Sherwood Phifer


As a kid, guitarmaker Sherwood “Woody” Phifer would tinker with everything, from model airplanes to his high school track shoes. “I would look at something and I’d be redesigning it as I was looking at it,” he says. Eventually, he was taking guitars apart, which led to him building his own instrument and stumbling upon Charles LoBue’s Guitar Lab in 1970. Within a couple of visits to that influential NYC shop, he found his passion for lutherie and his life’s calling.

During this week’s Fretboard Journal Podcast, Phifer tells us about that fateful trip to Guitar Lab (a shop that employed soon-to-be-legendary employees Larry DiMarzio, Charles LoBue, Ralph Novak and Steve Kauffman), walks us through some of his thoroughly original creations (including his archtop guitars, his chambered-body electrics, his unique bridge system and more), and describes what it’s like to be one of the only Black guitarmakers in the country.

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This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.