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Spokane Guitar Maker Puts Instrument To Use In New Album

Rick Singer
Rick Singer Photography

A well-known Spokane master builder of guitars and mandolins has recorded his first album. Buzz Vineyard may not be a household name, but many musicians around the world are familiar with his guitar work.

Buzz has been making acoustic instruments for over 40 years . By his count, he has produced about 265 guitars, mandolins, and dobros. Buzz’s instruments are world class, made of exotic woods, and cost thousands of dollars. They go under the name Vineyard Guitars, but should not be confused with a cheap Chinese guitar now sold in the United States using the Vineyard name.

For one thing, each Vineyard Guitar is hand made, and uses exotic tonewoods, like Malaysian blackwood, and bear claw Sitka spruce. Buzz Vineyard is not afraid to experiment with high quality woods that some builders might shy away from.

Vineyard: “Indian rosewood is the industry standard you know, but compared to Indian rosewood or Brazilian rosewood, which is black rosewood, it’s a best a number three choice. But if you want to be recognized as world class, you want to use world class caliber wood.”

Credit Buzz Vineyard
An original Vineyard Guitar with Maylaysian blackwood

In all his years of making instruments, Buzz says he has never had a chance to really hear what some of his instruments were capable of in the hands of working musicians.

Vineyard: “But nobody’s out there playing my guitars, and sending me back the recordings I’ve done with them, and I’ve always had a curiosity to find out how my guitars stood up to other good instrumental guitar recordings.”

Since getting on Facebook a couple of years ago, Vineyard began to videotape his own performances on his guitars in his home. That led to his first contract gig in 50 years, at Spokane’s Pig Out in the Park. Once that flame was lit, Buzz decided he wanted to record his own album.

Vineyard: "I was getting such wonderful response from people; I want to make it happen."

Buzz Vineyard's CD release, '11 Thousand Lonely Nights', is available at 4,000 Holes Records in Spokane. You can see samples of his finely crafted instruments on his Facebook page.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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