Steve Grimes–Jazz Laureate

Steve Grimes spent time as a draftsman at Boeing while working part-time as both a woodworker and musician and in 1972, Grimes found himself fascinated by the prospect of combining these professions. After studying with a violin maker and working in the instrument repair trade, Grimes set up his own shop in Seattle, Washington, USA and began making arch top mandolins.

Being more of a guitar player than a violin or mandolin player, Grimes found that his interests were leaning more toward guitar construction, and in 1974 he began making acoustic arch top guitars. In 1982, Grimes began making two new types of flat top guitars (a steel string and a classical), a semi hollow body archtop electric, and an oval soundhole acoustic arch top.

Grimes Guitars is a relatively small shop producing instruments slowly and meticulously by hand. Close attention to detail, such as tuning top and back plates, often missing in production guitars, is fundamental in each instrument. The advantage to building a few instruments at a time from start to finish is being able to control the response and tonal characteristics as each instrument progresses. This process takes time, and a commitment to achieving the fullest tonality and vibrance the wood has to offer. About twenty guitars are produced in the shop annually.

Grimes’ Jazz Laureate features a European spruce top, European maple back sides and neck, and an ebony fingerboard, bridge pickguard, tailpiece, tuning buttons and peghead overlay. The inlay on the peghead is a double diamond of lapis, surrounded by mother-of-pearl, and a similar design is featured on the fingerboard inlay as well.