Jim Triggs started building guitars over 35 years ago. Prior to working for Gibson in 1986, Triggs, who was a respected mandolin builder in the Midwest and on the West coast, had already built between 130-150 mandolins.
Jim was hired at Gibson to work in their world famous custom shop. His first duties included getting their F-5 mandolins back to their 1920’s specifications. Jim’s other responsibilities at Gibson included supervising the custom shop and running their Nashville artist relations department. During his last tenure at Gibson Jim spent his time overseeing the archtop guitar line. In his six years at Gibson, Jim worked on over 20 art instruments and signed the labels of over 700 guitars and mandolins.
Jim left Gibson in the spring of 1992 to build guitars on his own. Jim’s vast knowledge of various instruments led him on a path to become a “one man custom shop”. He also has a reputation for making guitars for a who’s who of artists in the music industry. Jim’s son Ryan has been working in the shop alongside his dad for over 10 years now and this duo continues to create beautiful custom instruments one at a time in their Lawrence, KS shop.
Triggs’ New Yorker is crafted with a sitka spruce top, book matched flamed maple back and sides. Following a “more is more” philosophy, the entire guitar features abalone trim inlays with ivoroid binding composed of white-and-blue check marquetry. Immediately striking to the eye, is the solid abalone pickguard, and distinctive blue sunburst figured maple fingerboard. Abalone is also used on the ebony bridge, and truss rod cover. The headstock is equipped with gold plated Grover Imperial stair step style tuning buttons and the abalone “J.Triggs” logo was actually designed by the late James D’Aquisto. Inspired by John D’Angelico’s original New Yorker design, Triggs’ New Yorker features the classic D’Angelico style headstock shape, inlay and finial, and gold engraved stair step style tailpiece.
Our favorite detail is the sunburst. going from blue to green to yellow. Jim had learned some tricks from his ex-colleagues at Gibson about preserving the blue color, and he was able to gradually let it change from an original preserved blue to the natural green that comes from the yellowing of the spruce top. It’s almost like a time-release gift to the present that wasn’t immediately evident at birth.