Gordon Bischoff - Master Luthier
After studying performance on saxophone and guitar in the University of Wisconsin system, Gordon Bischoff proceeded to receive training in violin repair in 1974 at Redwing Technical College in Redwing, Minnesota. Using the skills and techniques from that training and incorporating every bit of printed material available on the subject he went on to pursue his true interest...guitars.
At this time, the luthier craft was pursued almost completely by hand. Gordy's first forays into guitar-building involved hand-bending sides, hand-shaping necks, and using a chisel and hammer to dovetail the neck to the body. "Building completely by hand," says Gordy, "was an excellent way to experience the depth of the process and gain an intimacy with the wood." The accuracy of skill this demanded is still drawn upon today by Gordy when facing new challenges in building, such as his first 9-string baritone he made for Willy Porter, and when building his first ukulele.
"I also enjoy being a repair technician. In over three decades, I've worked on literally thousands of guitars." This breadth of experience has allowed Gordy to continually observe a large variety of construction techniques and apply this knowledge to his guitar building.
In addition to his careers as luthier and guitar repair, Gordy also spent 15 years as a professional musician. "I believe that the combination of all three of these disciplines [luthier, repair technician and musician] has helped me to make a better guitar," says Bischoff. "My annual production is small and allows me to give the customer a rare opportunity to have input in the making of their instrument. For me this collaboration can be as satisfying as building the guitar itself."
In early 2010, Gordy discovered an interest in ukuleles, and by the latter half of the year, had built several beautiful, premium-level concert ukuleles. His fascination, however, extended far beyond simply building, but also playing and performing. Gordy is the founding member of, and organizer for, the Ukulele Klub of Eau Claire (U.K.E.). With a growing membership of over thirty people, members of U.K.E. perform at events and venues around the Eau Claire and surrounding areas, and regularly appears at Foster Cheese Haus just outside Osseo, Wisconsin.
For over 25 years, Gordy has been the string instrument repair technician at Schmitt Music in Eau Claire. In his spare time, Gordy is also an avid table tennis player and possesses a particularly wicked backhand.