Custom Guitars

Custom Built Guitars - Restorations - Repairs - Installations

I made guitars - and some strange other instruments in high school back in 1967. That was back when resources were much harder to find, and there was just a book or two in the city library on the topic. My father let me take over his shop and mess it up.
I played the first 12 string I built throughout college for 10 years or so until it had a bad accident, and at the time I had no shop to repair it.  It was a long scale oversized lute shaped guitar with a one-piece mahogany top and a composite lute shaped back. 

Years passed and my old interest reverted to simple repairs and set ups, while I did not have the facilities and, as I later learned, the sophistication to make the fine instruments I make today. I pursued a career as a designer, contractor, builder, and artist,  and then I met my generous friend Tom Johnson, a nuclear plant engineer and exceptionally fine craftsman, who had been building fine guitars for years. I spent around six years shadowing this creative and talented builder.  I often occupied his workbench with my own projects, and did the requisite assisting, cleaning, interfering, and interrogating, with every extra hour I had. This  was my apprenticeship.

Time and treasure and many guitars later, I’ve retired to my full time passion, making and repairing fine guitars.  When I need a break I play them and write songs.  I’m a lucky guy.

Mark is a long time board member and current president of the Ontario Center For Performing Arts, a 501C3 folk and acoustic venue on Lake Ontario. He is an avid musician/songwriter and promoter of the arts in upstate New York.

"Every month in my shop something is strung for the first time, making its first sound, first chord, first scale.  Like an infant’s first breath, it is an incomparable thrill.  I watch as these creations reveal the personalities, attitudes and spirit they will be known for to those intimate with them."

-Mark Wahl

A sample of Wahl Custom Guitars

The Barrigar


Gilespie 1