Spiritwood Guitar

~Repair and Restoration of Acoustic & Electric Stringed Instruments~

My name is David Howard and I am the owner and sole repairman here at Spiritwood Guitar in Stow, Ohio.  I hope that in reading through this, you will get to know me a little and become familiar with my work. Allow me to share some of my history with you.

Around 1972, a friend of mine introduced me to a guitar repairman named Tim Torson, who operated Zircon Topaz Guitar Repair, a shop on North Main Street in Akron, Ohio. He eventually allowed me to work with him, learning the basics as I went along. After working there for about a year and a half, the shop was sold.

Throughout the following several years, I sought out jobs where I would pick up a variety of skills: metalworking at a machine shop, people skills as a salesman, patience as a maintenance worker. During this time, I was also a professional musician, playing everything from solo acoustic to Blues to performing in a wedding band. I always maintained my own little repair shop, learning the tricks of the trade by much reading and experimentation on my own instruments.

A chance encounter in 1978 led to my joining of the then fledging Sound Board Music. I worked full time as their repairman, while also teaching guitar to many students. At one point I averaged 60 guitar students a week in addition to doing all the guitar repairs!

In 1986 I received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to study instrument repair with Roger Thurman, a well known luthier in Kent, Ohio. I continued to work in his shop, honing my skills and expanding my knowledge of the craft, until 1992.

I then spent five years working for a patternmaking shop, all the while continuing to build up my own instrument repair shop. Many weekends were spent searching garage sales, want ads and flea markets for all the right tools. During this time I also developed an appreciation for fine antique tools, my favorites being hand planes and chisels.

After a two year stint working for John Strauss, a French trained cabinet maker, I finally made the decision to do repair work full time. With the tools, machines, skills and knowledge that I spent years accumulating, I now run a successful repair shop out of my home. During this time, I received another Ohio Arts Council grant to study mandolin making under the guidance of Doug Unger. I am so thankful to be able to make my living doing what I love.

In addition to repair work, I play acoustic guitar and mandolin with my wife in our duo, Dubious Affair, and play electric guitar in a country/blues band called Kerosene.  Having a flexible work schedule allows me to spend time with my two beautiful daughters, Stella and Ada June.

Thank you for taking the time to read a little about me and for supporting my craft!


"I wanted to have my vintage Hummingbird repaired by someone who really knew what he was doing and who was good at it, and I was so happy when Dave Howard did the work. He's a musician himself who understands how important our instruments are to us, a craftsman with care and respect for the instruments, and a teacher who showed me what needed to be done and carefully described the work along the way."

~Kathy Johnson, Vintage early 60's Gibson Hummingbird