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Perlman Guitars
Perlman Classical • Cedar Top • Brazilian Rosewood Sides & Back

Born in New York City in 1952, I developed a love for and fascination with the guitar at an early age. I had the opportunity to attend many recitals, including performances by Andre Segovia, Julian Bream and Sabicas, among others, and became completely entranced by the guitar's possibilities.

In my late teens, I began an apprenticeship with the talented New England luthier Clark Voorhees, who passed away in the late 1970's. Besides his ability to consistently create precisely built and wonderful sounding instruments, he had an extraordinary aesthetic sense. I can still hear his guiding voice as I continue to build, combined with the voice and style I've developed over these many years. At the same time I studied wood technology, the knowledge of which has been immensely helpful ever since. Combining technical knowledge with a strong intuitive sense has helped me create guitars that have the more elusive, magical qualities along with light weight, stability and exceedingly rare visits to the repair shop.

Early in my career, I had the opportunity to meet William Conway. He became quite interested in my work and his subsequent commission was a luthiers' dream- Build the finest possible classical guitar and he would send a monthly check, for one year, that would cover my living expenses. I used this time for experimentation- six different soundboards on the one guitar, several of these receiving different bracing schemes. The completed guitar was a lovely instrument, Bill still plays it, 25 years later.
Shortly after that, I engaged in an exchange of ideas and plans with Abraham Wechter, which culminated in the 13 string guitar (see photo in Gallery section), a Brazilian rosewood instrument similar to John McClaughlin's.

Since then, I've continued to build custom guitars for discerning individuals, one at a time, shying away from "production" instruments. I have great respect for the finer production guitars and guitar makers, but I have come to enjoy the process of working with each guitarist, developing a clear understanding of their needs and desires, and bringing that focus to each guitar, to each client.


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Alan Perlman

Tel: 415-242-4457 • Email:

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