Seeking Professional Help From Friends


The transition from ideas to real Berndt Guitars would not have happened without significant ongoing help from a group of great luthiers. I cannot thank them enough and I'm terrifically proud to call them friends.

They are here in the order of when we first met.

John Page and Lawrence Berndt


John was the originator and first director of the Fender Custom Shop. From day one, John put his full faith in me.

He now builds under John Page Guitars and I supply some of his woods.

John encouraged me on when I first described my neck design ideas. He co-designed and is building a bass with/for Ira Coleman with a Berndt Neck. He produced the scaled drawing of the Berndt peghead from my sketch. I hope he will help design some new models I have in mind. John somehow always injects some West Coast lightness into my New England seriousness - thank you John.


Roger Sadowsky and Lawrence Berndt at NAMM 2013


Roger was one of my earliest neck blank customers. At that time I was weak on knowledge regarding guitars and tonewoods in general. He introduced me to resources and gave me a general understanding of the industry. He shared his knowledge unselfishly and is a good friend.

While I have the first guitar with Berndt Crowned Bar Frets, Roger has the first TJ Thompson guitar with my Crowned Bar Frets.

Roger introduced me to Tom Anderson and TJ Thompson - thank you Roger.


Tom Anderson at NAMM 2013


Tom is a guitar lover, guitar engineer, and guitar player who builds incredible guitars. He has shared his knowledge unselfishly - often in ways that hint to me there's a whole other part of the discipline I'm clueless of. His experience of what does/doesn't work makes him tough on risk and change. He's been available for hours of brainstorming. When we wrap up the ducks are all in a row - and there's likely less of them.

Tom made our first a/b test guitars and the first Berndt Electric Guitars and Necks.

The parts he makes are beautiful and precise - PRECISE - thank you Tom



I met John at Gibson's Bozeman plant when he headed their custom shop. He wanted my craziest curly maple - I mean the wild stuff, and he wanted my tightest grained Adirondak red spruce. We became good friends. I remember telling him about the black spruce that grows in western Maine. These trees grow so close together they are also called doghair spruce and a 10" tree is easily 120 years old. I tried for years to find one big enough for guitar tops - I'm still looking.

My first "real" guitar is from John's first batch when he went on his own as John Walker Guitars. John bore the brunt of my first questions as I started up the curve of understanding relief, action, saddle height, etc. John agreed that I should learn to set up a guitar and sent me my first nut and saddle material.

John made my second guitar too - a rosewood wonder. Thank you John.


TJ Thompson and Lawrence Berndt at NAMM 2015


TJ is a master luthier, artist, and conservator of the finest vintage acoustic guitars.

I first visited TJ to talk about adirondak red spruce and learn what his criteria was. It was a small space with only 1 empty chair. I think I stayed all day.

Upon meeting TJ, I signed up for a lifelong continuing ed course on acoustic guitars. It was the start of a long, growing, fun friendship.

I was full of questions - tone questions. It seemed every question I asked was unanswerable - I hadn't learned to ask the right questions. On my next visit I asked better questions, and played around on one of his guitars - a bar fretted guitar. It wasn't the first I'd played but it was the first time I connected that it was tonally different from a standard fretted guitar.

This was the start of my understanding how powerful a contributor bar frets could be to neck stability and tonal response in a guitar. This led to my decision to make crowned bar frets - to get the feel of modern frets with the benefits of bar frets - stability and tone. I wanted to put them in acoustic and electric guitars.

TJ has been involved in every aspect of developing these guitars.

His life work gives him a unique frame of reference from which to assess acoustic guitars. It is a wondrous thing to watch him play a guitar, feeling it all over, while his mind ciphers through the vibes and sounds. In this way he can place it reference to his knowledge.

In the Berndt project, he used his depth of experience to figure out what to test next and how to make it work on the bench. He engineered the specs for our acoustics and reproduced vintage bridges for them.

Tj has helped with every test guitar, including electrics, and all the first models and replacement necks. He has been an incredible help. Many days he set other projects aside to work on this project.

He helped develop the tools/techniques for transitioning bar fretting from the artisan's bench to the production bench. Thank you TJ.


Dana Bourgeois and Lawrence Berndt at NAMM 2015


Dana made our first a/b test acoustic guitars, short of fretting and setup. We plan to continue with a small group from Dana that will incorporate more of the specs from TJ Thompson.

Dana has a great reputation for conscientious quality and it showed in our test models. He generously shared his knowledge and mother henned our guitars through his shop. Thank you Dana.


Friends and Family


Ned is a real estate agent and drummer in Miami, Florida.

He is an idea generator, iceberg spotter, and dot connector extraordinaire.

Ned is my brother "from the same mother and father".

We share 4 simple values that were the tenets of our childhood.



Ned has listened to every hope, fear, and doubt I have ever had - without judgement - a true brother. Thank you Ned.



Jason is an incredible guitarist/musician who can play with anybody that walks in the door. He has a marvelous disposition that puts anyone at ease. I don't care what your style is, or what mode you want to hang in, he can play with you.

Jason is unique in this group as he's a player, not a luthier. His support has been invaluable.

We met at Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch. (I've often wondered if it's fur peace or fur piece - I prefer the latter.) Anyway, we both turned up in a class with legendary bluegrass guitarist Wyatt Rice. Five of us were studying advanced bluegrass rhythm.

Wyatt was/is incredible, and Jason and I became friends.

Jason lives near Portland, Maine which I drive through 4 times a month on log buying trips. He has made a living teaching guitar since he was 15 years old. He's involved with the 317 Main Community Music Center, in Yarmouth, ME. It should be duplicated everywhere.

Jason was their first music director and continues to teach there full time. "317" is a subject in itself. You should look it up and learn about it. You will not believe what those kids can play.

In 2010, I learned Jason had Friday mornings off. I booked lessons with him. It's the best thing I ever did and hope to repeat it soon. Of course he learned of all the developments with Berndt Guitars etc.

During the summer of 2012, Jason hiked 2630 miles from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. He carried a 2.6 pound carbon fibre travel guitar on his back the entire way - this is a man who truly loves the guitar!

I invited Jason to join us for 2013 NAMM to help test/demonstrate our first a/b test guitars. He returned to NAMM in 2014 and again in 2015.

He built this website and manages our communication. Thank you Jason.