Guitar Talk
Antonio de Torres.......REBORN Print E-mail


Antonio de Torres (1817-1892) was a Spanish guitar maker considered to be the most important luthier of the 19th century.  Some call him the father of the modern guitar.  In any case his influence is undeniable in the way guitars were made in Spain and then.....the world.  When I received an order to build a copy of a Torres guitar I considered it a challenge and an opportunity for a real learning experience.  Pictured below is my recreation of an 1888 Antonio de Torres guitar, serial # SE114.  The copy is very close to the original with superb tone and wonderful action.

1888 Torres reproduction

Indian  and Brazilian Rosewood

Peghead with Irving Sloane tuners

original style rosette & purfling reprdoduction




Hi Rick-

I bought one of your early dreadnaught Paradise Valley guitars in September 1992 at Stringed Instrument Division in Missoula, MT.

I have loved this guitar since the day I saw it hanging in the store at Stringed, with a $900 price tag.  I was drawn to the wood "PV" inlay on the headstock, and the booming sound.  I wasn't shopping for a guitar, just driving through town on the way back to Santa Cruz.  So I didn't buy it.  But my car needed new tires, so the next day I dropped the car off at the tire shop nearby and walked to Stringed to check out the cool PV guitar again.  There was a pot bellied pig in the store, someones pet.  The price on the PV had been dropped from $900 to $700.  I had to have it, and I picked up the guitar for $680, Martin case included.  This is my best and favorite guitar, leaving my 60's Martins hanging on the wall as mere artwork.

This guitar is a cannon.  Everyone who plays it is floored.  People have asked to buy it.  One of my best friends covets it, and asked that he be included in my Will, with the guitar going to him.

I have always wanted to buy another one of your guitars.  I called your house a couple of times (20 years ago), but your son indicated there were no guitars for sale at the time.  I googled your name yesterday, saw your YouTube video, found your website, and now I am typing this email.

Do you have guitars currently for sale?  I like the White Pine / Paradise Butternut guitar.  If you only build custom guitars, I would love to work with you.  Please give me an idea on prices.  I expect they have increased somewhat from $900 :-)

I look forward to hearing from you.

Cheers, -Dan Freeman

1992 PV guitarOriginal Document


I love to get special orders for custom guitars.  Recently I received an order for a Gibson J-200 "style" guitar.  The order was left open that I might do some special tweeking to enhance tone and playability.  So I decided to build two instruments; one with a cedar top and the other with a Sitka Spruce top.  Both have Paradise Black Walnut back and sides.  I did a little adjusting to the soundboard bracing (forward shifted the X brace and special scalloping) to enhance the tone from standard Gibson specs.  The hand craftsmanship really paid off.......they sound and play phenomenal.  Both have a K&K setup.  I encourage you to e-mail or call me with your ideas for that special hand made instrument.

Sitka Spruce / Paradise Black Walnut Gibson Super Jumbo style guitar.

Sitka SpruceParadise Black Walnut


Western Red Cedar / Paradise Black Walnut version

Western Red CedarParadise Black WalnutWaverly tunersinlaid initial

Notice these guitars have all wood bindings........  Hope to hear from you soon.....Rick

CROWN GUITAR..........SOLD !!!!! Print E-mail

The 2013 Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop & Festival (held at Flathead Lake Lodge) was loaded with talent.  It was exciting for me to see  Doug Smith (Grammy winning guitarist & National Fingerstyle Champion) play one of my creations, the CROWN GUITAR. It sounded great!   ..... and then it was auctioned off.  It sold for $10,000.00.........

Practising before concert

Crown of the Continent concert

Great Playing!

Trading ideas with Linda Manzer, world renowned guitar maker from Toronto.

Linda Manzer & Rick McCollum

Lee Ritenour spending time with one of his students.

Lee Ritenour & Student


Genuine Handmade (in the USA) Print E-mail

Does it really make a difference for a guitar to be handmade?  My unequivocal answer is YES!!!  A good maker has a passion that his instruments be built RIGHT.....  Glue joints that are painstakingly executed......Soundboard and back bracing carved by hand AFTER they are glued on.  Voicing of the instrument that starts with the raw wood.  I invite you to visit my shop and SEE what goes into a real handmade instrument and why it makes a difference.  It is of utmost importance to me that I build guitars that are meant to be with those that put their confidence in my abilities......

Hand Carved Back Braces

Ricky Honda, a very accomplished guitarist from Kumamoto, Japan "KNEW" this MONTANA OOO-N guitar was for him........

Ricky Honda with his OOO-N


Thought you might like to have a look at one of our latest creations.  This guitar has mother of pearl swans inlaid in fretboard and headstock.  Turns out this instrument can really sing too;  The Hawaiian Koa back and sides are a pleasing compliment to the Red Cedar soundboard.  I'd love to build that special guitar for you......with that inlay work to make it yours.

The Swan GuitarHawaiian Koa

Western Heritage Artists Print E-mail


Lane Kendrick, a nationally recognized artist, has completed the painting for a very exciting project.  Her canvass.....a Montana Guitar Shop model D-SP guitar.  As you can see her patriotic theme is beautiful.  The Alaskan Sitka Spruce / African Bubinga guitar will be auctioned during the Western Heritage Artists annual show March 16th, 2013, in Great Falls, Montana.  All of the proceeds will go to the national Wounded Warriors organization.  In addition this guitar will be signed by many prominent Nashville country artists.

Sitka/Bubinga GuitarAfrican Bubinga

OM-XX soundboard Print E-mail

We have gotten started on a new prototype guitar based upon the OM style body but with radically different soundboard bracing.  The basis for this bracing is the fact that extra stiffness enhances the higher frequencies and less stiffness is conducive to the lower frequencies.  We are calling this bracing "OFFSET DOUBLE X" and our goal is to achieve the best of both worlds.  We will never abandon the more traditional style bracing and the vintage tone that goes with it......but will continue to push the envelope in search of beautiful tone.  We will let you know how this turns out.......  Rick


IT'S COMING.... An all out....OM ! Print E-mail

Crown inlays bound in Purpleheart & RosewoodComing soon.....the ultimate OM-SP.....sorry this one is taken..... Just thought you might like a look.  It is going to the CROWN OF THE CONTINENT GUITAR FOUNDATION. ( The National Guitar Workshop will be there at the festival which is held at beautiful Flathead Lake Lodge in western Montana August 26 - September 2, 2012.  Anyway here is a sneak preview of their instrument that is soon to be done.

Back and sides are old school (straight grained, perfect quarter) Brazilian Rosewood......soundboard is select Engelmann Spruce from British Columbia.  Trimmed out with Abalone purfling and rosette and Purpleheart and maple bindings this guitar is just waiting to sing!   Meticulously built to be the ultimate experience in an OM style.

OM-SP cutawaySuper select Brazilian RosewoodCrown of Continent logoAbalone purfling and rosette



Coming soon! This pair of D-BG guitars are made especially for Bluegrass.  Their sound will be big, deep, punchy, loud and awesome.  They are a matched pair, not only identically built but also have the same DNA.  Look closely and you will see the African Padauk back and sides are cut from the same billet, the tops are from the same Alaskan Sitka Spruce, the necks are from the same Paradise Black Walnut tree.  It will be interesting to see how close these twins are in sound.  The Montana Guitar Shop bag of tricks has been thrown at these guitars for the ultimate Bluegrass experience.  Reserve one of these Cannons soon before they are gone OR reserve both of them for a special discount.


Sitka Spruce tops

All wood bindings (Purpleheart & Maple), Purpleheart and Bird's Eye Maple rosette. The Peghead overlay is Brazilian Rosewood.

Ready for inlay and carving

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