There are guitars built for style, others are built for sound, but Hatcher, like no other, is one you forge a lifelong relationship with. As Mark Hatcher himself puts it:
“I’d like you to feel the familiarity of an old friend when you first pick up and play your new Hatcher Guitar.”
Custom Guitars should last a lifetime, but they should not feel like a commitment. For luthiers like Mark Hatcher, guitars and music are a passion; a for-love appreciation of the boundless beauty life has to offer. Today, in our Topshelf Luthier series we’re highlighting Hatcher Guitars, for their raw and passionate indulgence into and beyond a guitar’s music and function.
Hatcher: A History
Mark Hatcher’s guitar-making origins are altogether original. Unlike other born-to-be musicians and luthiers, Hatcher learned woodworking as a sea kayak builder. But as fate would have it, Mark Hatcher would organically learn this was not the trade that suited him most. Mark recalled in an interview with Premier Guitar:
“It just occurred to me that maybe I should try a guitar,”
Starting out was rough for Hatcher, who noted it took two years to make his first guitar; his only guide was a book titled “Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology” by William Cumpiano and Jonathan Natelson.
“It didn’t come out great, but I was hooked.”
This would only be a short setback and soon Mark would be taking classes with Frank Finocchio, a former process engineer with Martin Guitars, and then voicing lessons with West Coast builder Ervin Somogyi.
Soon Hatcher was running a reputable luthiery trade, but it wasn’t until he made a pivotal move from New Jersey to New Hampshire that he cemented his status as a master luthier. In New Hampshire, he joined the Granite State Luthiers Guild, where he quickly rose through the ranks and is now the leader of it.
The Hatcher Process
Hatcher’s approach to guitars starts with the guitarist. A meticulous and dedicated designer at his core, each guitar takes about four months to build. He only begins one each month so he averages about 12 guitars a year. This allows Hatcher to focus on each guitarist individually and prevents his shop from becoming an assembly line.
“My philosophy of building is that I’m much more into the idea of a guitar as an art form, not an engineering form,”
“I’m not anti-science—I will certainly use that to inform me—but the best guitars are made by artists. They’re not made by engineers.”
To Mark Hatcher, the artist informs the art. He believes that guitars should be a lifelong love, and notes that the only way to ensure this, is to carefully work with guitarists on a personal level:
“A recent guitar I made was for a fellow in Seattle. He has two preschool daughters and he wanted a guitar to sing lullabies to them. We made a lullaby guitar and the whole thing was built around that. I used my pillow headstock and it was my snuggest parlor guitar that he could sit with. I did moon and stars on the rosette and a little heart-shaped sound port. To me, that’s great, that’s as good as it gets.”
As a further devotion to quality in craftsmanship, every Hatcher Guitar is handmade.
“I find that once you make a jig or a CNC program, whatever it is you are making is now dead. It won’t evolve and it won’t change. But if you make them in your open hand, as years go by, without trying, they get better and better.”
Finally, one of the key interests that separates Hatcher from other luthiers is his dedication to the environment. All the wood used comes from reputable sources and is often reclaimed from salvaged lumber or standing deadwood. Additionally, he has deliberately opted for a french polish finish because it is less invasive to the environment. Finally, Mark Hatcher assures that all waste wood is composted and that shipping impacts are offset by carbon credits to neutralize the environmental impact.
Hatcher Guitars Are a Lifelong Love
Hatcher’s approach to the art of creating guitars starts with understanding the artist. His handmade, completely custom guitars harmonize the sound, look, and feeling of guitars so that you feel at home with your Hatcher guitar for a lifetime.
For your own Hatcher Guitar guitar, visit https://www.hatcherguitars.com/ or to have your own guitar or bass case designed, visit our design section here: https://www.caltoncases.com/shop/acoustic-guitar-cases/hatcher-guitars/