A Personal Note From Doug Proper
I have owned and operated
"The Guitar Specialist" since 1986 after inheriting it from my first teacher and
mentor, Charles Lavern - a master of everything having to do with guitars. He retired to
Florida and bestowed upon me the gift of his legacy. Among all of the things he has taught
me, one thing reaches above all else - his love for the guitar. He displayed a passion for
this wonderful instrument that could compete with no other passion I have ever
encountered. I endeavor to carry that passion of his through everything I do with guitars
today. Since his retirement we have spoken often, but have lost touch over the years - I
pray he is well and still with us - and if he has passed, may he hear beautiful music for
all eternity. I owe more to him than all of
my life experience and any amount of money could repay. - Bless you Mr. Laverne, I
remain, Musically Yours.
guitarist & luthier I have always prided myself in carrying on the tradition and
principles of the man who bestowed upon me his love for musical instruments and the career
I now have engaged in for over 20 years. I try to treat each customer and instrument as
if my business depended on them - and it does. I have been fortunate to know and work with
so many great musicians - famous or otherwise. At "The Guitar Specialist", we
strive to provide the best service and the best playing instruments you could ever hold,
play and cherish.
We use a combination of modern and old world
techniques and do almost
everything in the shop with the attitude that handcrafted is always better. I have concentrated my efforts on developing my skills
and a working knowledge of musical instruments for more than two decades to provide our
customers with a service that is unequalled.
As we continue to grow, it becomes impossible
for me to do every task on every guitar. There was a time that I was
the only luthier in the shop. Then there was Sharon and I working
together. Soon it became clear that we would need help to keep up with
the demand for our services. Initially I was very hesitant to employ
others in the fear that the quality of the service we offer would suffer as
we grew and had to depend on others. I have been fortunate to have the
people who are working with us join our team. Each of them treat our
business like it is theirs. They invest every fiber of their being in the
success and excellence we strive for every day at The Guitar Specialist.
I invite to you find out more about us - don't hesitate to
call, e-mail or write us. After all, it is our customers to whom we owe all of our success and
the ability to further our knowledge & skills
- Doug Proper, President - The Guitar
Doug Proper - Chief Luthier
Actually, Doug prefers the
term Luthier-in-Chief and likes to have the entire staff humming "Hail To
the Chief" while he strides from bench to bench.
He handles most of the restoration work in
the shop, does all the neck resets, all of the fret installations and
crowning, most all of the touch up, french polishing and finishing work,
inlay work, some structural work - bridges and braces, broken peg heads,
binding work, some of the more complicated electrical work and parts fabrication. He
personally oversees all of the work being done in the shop and he answers
your emails when he has some spare time. - Now you know why he shaved his
With over twenty years of experience in
lutherie, he has held certifications from the following guitar
manufacturers: Taylor Guitars, Gibson - "A Level", Fender - Gold Level,
C.F. Martin, Gretsch, Guild - Gold Level, Ovation, Hamer USA, Ibanez, American Archtop,
Takamine, Santa Cruz, Epiphone, Charvel, Jackson and Tacoma. Please
contact us to determine which manufacturers we currently work with for
He is also an authorized
retrofitter for the Buzz Feiten tuning system. He is a lifetime
member of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans and a member of
the Guild of American Luthiers.
responsible for almost all of the structural work going on in the shop.
Bridge re-glues and replacements, loose and cracked braces, bridge plate
repair, top-back and side cracks, cleats, some light finishing and touch up
work, removes fingerboard extensions as a prep for neck resets, some parts
fabrication and is still trying to break the worlds record for seeing how
many clamps she can fit in a guitar at the same time.
Sharon also serves as our shop manager, determining due dates and scheduling
work order progress and makes sure we all update our work orders as we
complete our tasks. Oh - and let's not forget - she makes sure Lester's
litter box is clean - arguably her most important task.
Sharon holds certifications from the
following guitar manufacturers: Gibson - "A Level", Fender - Silver Level,
Gretsch, Guild - Silver Level, Ovation, Hamer USA, Takamine, Epiphone,
Charvel, Jackson, Tacoma.
She is a lifetime member of the
Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans and a member of the Guild of
Sharon Proper - Staff Luthier
Bob is our receptionist.
responsibility is to greet customers at the door, guitar in hand and
entertain them in case they have to wait. So far we haven't heard him
play a tune yet - although he insists that he is quite the proficient
Usually a receptionists job included
answering phones, taking messages, dealing with deliveries and running
errands. We tried to get Bob to take on some of
these responsibilities, but he'll have none of it. I assume his
silence on the subject means he's quite happy with his current job
Since the taking of this picture, Bob has
somehow seemed to loose his hat. We are currently searching for a
Bob - Receptionist
Lester is - well, he's just Lester - and he does it quite well thank you
very much. We found Lester as an abandoned kitten. Of course we took
him in. Since the positions of our former shop cats were vacant due to
their retirement to a life of luxury at home, we hired him immediately.
Lester makes sure we all get a chance to play
a little bit every day. He reminds us when it's lunch time - lest we
forget, and makes sure that any idle moments are interrupted by a nip at our
heels. His primary function at the shop is to be just so darn cute -
which of course he excels at. He works cheap - all he asks is for some
food, a warm place to sleep and a clean litter box. Which as far as I
know is not against any labor laws.
Here we are with the one and
only George Benson at the
Long Island Guitar Show April, 2000.