Clan Carruthers, Interview, USA

Clan Carruthers: John Carruthers: Great guitars, for great guitarists.

Carruthers have succeeded in their chosen careers world wide, and we would like to introduce another. John Carruthers guitar and bass luthier, repairer and restorationist of great fame having worked for such individuals as Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix and many more. For all you guitarists out there, here is one you have to try.

John Carruthers began his musical career by studying guitar for seven years, working towards becoming a professional musician. By playing the guitar and being mechanically inclined, he decided to try and make his own guitars. John’s father had built a wood shop in their family’s basement, so he started to experiment with building his own guitars. After graduating from High School in the late sixties, John decided to move to Los Angeles in order to help his sister. She was training for the Olympics, and John obtained a job working at Westwood Music in West Los Angeles repairing guitars. C.F. Martin the IV was studying at UCLA at that time, and knew that Westwood Music was an authorized dealer and a Martin Service Center. C.F. wanted a part-time job and started working with John, who showed C.F. how to build his first guitar.

Lindsey Buckingham with Carruthers Guitar

When Bob Taylor was first starting out, he met with John to gain insight about building acoustic guitars. Over the years John built a solid reputation and worked on many famous players guitars including the Rolling Stones, Byrds, Doors, Eagles, CSNY, Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Peter Frampton, Foreigner, Lee Sklar, Chuck Rainey, Jimmy Johnson, Alphonso Johnson, Bob Weir, Tommy Tedesco, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Lee Ritenour, Larry Coryel, Kenny Loggins, Frank Zappa, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Emilou Harris, Merle Haggard, Elvis, James Burton, Heart, Rick Springfield, Tom Petty, James Taylor, Devo and many more.


 Having had a huge success and an excellent reputation in the Guitar Repair Industry, Guitar Player magazine invited him to be on staff to write the Guitar Workshop column. Additionally, Yamaha asked John to work for them as a consultant to help design their SG, SA, FG and FC electric and acoustic guitars, and their higly successful BB basses. Yamaha also hired him to set up their service departments and train their personnel, as well as work with Yamaha’s high-power advertising agencies. CBS hired Bill Schultz, whom John worked with at Yamaha, to reinvigorate Fender. Bill Schultz in turn hired John to work at Fender. John’s career working on design and production spanned from their Fullerton complex to Brea, and finally to Corona. Most notably, John worked on the designs and implementation of the Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimmy D’Aquisto, Robben Ford, all Vintage Reissues and the Acoustic lines of guitars. With the success of the Fender product lines, John was asked to run the Fender Custom Shop. Because he already had his own established business, John respectfully declined. Leo Fender took notice of John’s work, and asked him to consult with him on design and implementation of the Musicman Stingray and Sabre guitars and basses.

Upon Leo Fender’s death, John was given the honor to make a limited 600-count run of bodies of the Leo Fender Commemorative Guitar Model for G&L. During the same time period, John also worked for Ibanez and helped them design and improve many of their guitars including the Joe Pass model, and the Artist Series guitars and basses. With these notable accomplishments, John quickly moved to a larger shop in Santa Monica. After a few years, he bought his historic shop in Venice Beach, CA, where he remained for 30 years. John was approached in the early 90’s by Mr. Hisatake Shibuya, the owner of Musician’s Institute, to establish the Guitar Craft program.


The Guitar Craft program has continued to grow in popularity every year. It has been rewarding for John to see many of M.I.’s GCA graduates continue on to perform important work in the music industry. Besides the employees that work for John at his shop, he feels that the GCA program has given him a chance to pass on his nearly 50 plus years of experience to the next generations. In 2011, Carruthers Guitars has moved from the historic Venice facility to a new facility in Camarillo, CA. The new facility is nearly three times the size and is better equipped for manufacturing John’s world-renowned guitars and basses.

Carruthers Guitars, 4700 Calle Carga, Camarillo, California, USA.

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