Tim Olsen

Tim Olsen set out to build his own guitar out of a cigar box and other items found around the house. He was in the fifth grade at the time! He learned that the luthier Harvey Thomas lived in the next town and sought his help in his quest to build a great sounding instrument. Getting to Harvey required his mother to drive young Tim to his house, and Harvey was less than impressed with Tim’s guitar, but still offered to help. A friendship formed and for years Harvey hired Tim to work in his shop. The experience led to Tim opening his own repair shop when he was just 17. Wanting to also write about the art of guitar building, Tim offered to pen an article for Guitar Player Magazine about Jimmy D’Aquisto, which turned out to be a impactful learning experience (and a wonderful published article in 1977). One day Tim ran across a small ad in a magazine by JR Beal who wanted to start a guild for luthiers. Tim ran with the idea, joining forces with JR and becoming the director of the guild, crafting a journal and organizing conferences that have grown and developed into an industry pillar with thousands of members. That fifth grade student’s curiosity continues to inspire luthiers by providing tools and collaborations that elevate the craft of guitar building.

Interview Date:
August 26, 2021
Job Title:
Guild of American Luthiers

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