Gabriel Currie’s fascination with guitars began during his childhood and has continued ever since; both as a player and, ultimately, as a master luthier. His first exposure to the inner workings of the instrument came during a visit to the Guitar Doctor (Mike Lipe) in Burbank, California in 1980 which inspired him to disassemble his 1958 Fender Music Master to see what made it tick. Needless to say, he was immediately hooked. His new passion landed him in a much-needed role as the local repair and modification tech for all of his high school friends.
Shortly after his graduation, Gabriel found work in the mill at the renowned G&L Guitar Company in Fullerton, California where he worked under the watchful eyes of the legendary Leo Fender. He worked his way up through the ranks to eventually running the body making department. He would laboriously select the finest blanks, glue them up, cut them out, then route them on the pin routers and sand them with the precision of a dedicated builder. He also applied his increasing aptitude for each aspect of development to maintain quality control during the years that he worked there. Shortly after Leo’s passing, Gabriel found himself wanting to continue his education and thrive beyond his already skillful place in the ranks.
In 1992 after a brief hiatus, he sought out Hosono Guitar Works in Glendale, California. There he continued his tutelage with the celebrated Japanese builder Tak Hosono. He spent countless hours building prototypes and producing all of the “USA” custom neck-through models for “Ibanez” and “Sadowski” along with Hosono’s mail order custom built necks and bodies. It was then that he was also able to meet the highly sought after luthiers including Sammy Sanchez.
Gabriel remembers, “I was learning from a master craftsman and surrounded by L.A.’s finest independent builders at the time. It was amazing. At Tak’s place, I learned how to hand shape necks. I also learned and mastered lamination methods. I was able to work extensively with exotic woods, book matching, fretting, fine sanding, gluing tops and neck- throughs. You can’t buy that kind of education.”
Soon after leaving Hosono, and with his long term and diverse apprenticeship then complete, Gabriel started his own company – G-String Guitar Works – in Pasadena, California. While mostly filling his schedule with repairs and set-ups in 1999, he decided to spend a while playing in a few bands of his own which ultimately transitioned him away from full time guitar making for a while.
Between 1999 and 2006, Gabriel started to make his individual mark in the guitar buying community by personally hand making 300 instruments for various players. As 2006 rolled on, he decided to finally start his own, private dedicated company to make 100% handmade, traditionally styled electric guitars.
“I love Juniors, Teles, some of the Supros and Hagstrums and definitely old Gretches! Those elements combined to create my overall inspiration. The main thing that I wanted to do was to figure out how to make an improved guitar from start to finish, 100% by hand. I want to use my hands, eyes and ears to select and build every part of every instrument. That is the driving force in the idea behind doing this!” In 2009, Gabriel made the first prototypes at home.
At the end of 2010, Gabriel moved his shop to Echo Park, California where he already had a repair shop in the Bedrock Studios compound. In 2012, he moved his shop to an undisclosed location in Echo Park where he is currently collaborating with some of the most revered musicians in the field of modern music. Echopark Guitars® was officially born.
Echopark® Guitars groundbreaking has continued for Gabriel Currie and his Echopark Guitars® and there is a great deal more to come.
“I recently collaborated with Jonny Two Bags from Social Distortion to create an Echopark Signature Series® model. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, as well as Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers, have been playing the guitars on tour. I can’t say enough about all of these musicians. It is a rare honor to have my creations come alive in the hands of my idols”.
Gabriel is still a respected and active working musician which allows him to test drive every instrument he builds in a practical manner. He is also an avid collector of vintage guitars which he regularly uses to spec out the finest details and build upon their tonal palettes. He prides himself on his knowledge of tones and the history of the finest guitars ever built.
“I put these guitars on recordings all the time and listen to the way they sound under close, practiced, scrutiny. The response is always the same. These Echopark Guitars® sound alive!” If you are seeking a handmade instrument that bleeds soul, and oozes tone, you have found it. Each and every instrument that is created by Gabriel Currie for Echopark Guitars® is the product of a deeply bred lineage of craftsmanship. For a guitar built with love in mind; for a piece of art that has been coddled and cared for from its inception; for a practical, yet dynamic, tool that is second-to-none for making music; welcome yourself into the ever-expanding world of handmade Echopark Guitars®.