Jay has been a musician all his life and a homebuilder for the better part of his professional career. When the economic downturn impacted the home construction industry and work became scarce Jay decided to try his hand at building a ukulele in his new-found free time, just for fun mind you. One carefully handcrafted ukulele led to another. Within months of building that first instrument Jay had the good fortune of taking a guitar-building workshop with renowned custom guitar builder, Wayne Henderson.
“I’m proud to say I taught Jay to build his first guitar. His guitars show great craftsmanship and sound really good.” – Wayne Henderson, master luthier, mentor and all around great guy.
There has been no looking back since that first guitar. As custom guitar builder Jay Lichty strives to build the best handmade acoustic guitars and handmade ukuleles around. To that end he continues to deepen his skills and expertise through ongoing study. He has taken an advanced guitar building workshop with master luthier Charles Fox (innovator and designer of the Ergo Guitar) and has studied under internationally renowned master luthier Ervin Somogyi (author of several classic luthier books including The Responsive Guitar) while attending a workshop entitled The Principles and Practices of Voicing the Guitar. In addition, Jay has visited the shop of luthiers from around the world; from Asheville to Hawaii, to France to Peru.
Working with premium domestic and exotic woods and the finest materials, he crafts each guitar and ukulele with the greatest care. Most instruments are custom-built to order and he includes each customer in the design process to ensure that their finished guitar or ukulele fits like a glove; visually, esthetically and tonally.
Jay hammered shut his contracting business and strung up his luthier business in the fall of 2009. Within its first year of business Lichty Guitars experienced tremendous success. Custom guitar and ukulele orders poured in, Garden & Gun magazine named Lichty Guitars the overall winner of the prestigious Made in the South awards, and world-touring professional musicians lined up to get a Lichty. A partial list of these professional musicians includes Geoff Achison (internationally acclaimed Australian guitarist), Randall Bramblett (southern singer/songwriter), Noah Guthrie ( SC singer/songwriter whose hits on YouTube number in the millions), Tom and Mike Gossin (Gloriana) Doug Lancio, (Nashville producer and lead guitarist for John Hiatt and Patty Griffin), Jody Porter (Fountains of Wayne), Haley Dreis (SC singer/songwriter), Kimo Hussey (internationally acclaimed Hawaiian ukulele player) and award-winning Japanese guitarist Shohei Toyoda.
As of November 2013 Jay has crafted over 130 instruments and he has a growing wait-list.
While Jay works in the luthier shop, his wife and business partner Corrie Woods works on getting the word out. She manages all facets of promotion including design and maintenance of the website, photography and media outreach.
Oh, and one more important member of Lichty Guitars is shop dog Ziggy. All together they make powerful team.
Jay Lichty has rapidly gone from being the new custom guitar builder on the block to being a highly regarded and sought after luthier building high-end heirloom quality custom guitars and ukuleles for a discerning international customer base.
“I love every step of building an instrument, from choosing the best wood, to hand carving the inside bracing, to stringing them up. When I play those first few notes, or better yet, hear someone else play those first few notes and see the smile on his or her face, well now – that’s my favorite part!” – Jay