If you’re traveling anywhere near Nashville and play guitar, no excuse is needed for a stop in one of Nashville’s amazing vintage guitar stores. So while on my way to Louisville two years ago, I found myself needing to stretch my legs in Carter Vintage Guitars. I had been looking for a T style guitar and figured I would have no problem finding one in a city built on them. One in particular caught my eye and quickly my ears. The headstock read “E.B. Rooster Guitars”. I’d never heard of them but the guitar was great: lightweight, resonant, easy to play, and full of that twang and punch T style guitars are known for. It was an easy decision. This guitar was coming home with me.
Hanging from the tuning pegs was a tag that explained all the features and appointments of the guitar and told the story behind the name on the headstock. As I was checking out, I learned from Mr. Carter a little about the guitar, the man who made it, and the tragic loss that propelled E.B. Rooster Guitars into being. The story and the fact that this was only the fourth E.B. Rooster produced made me want to reach out, say hello, and thank him for a great instrument.
I’ve kept in contact with Dan through social media but it wasn’t until two years later that we formally met at the 2019 NAMM show in Nashville. It was awesome to finally shake the hand that created what my hands and heart have been enjoying the past couple years. It has become my go-to guitar and has been rock solid on numerous gigs since then. It is a joy to play. It features a scorched pine body, roasted maple neck, Lollar ’52 pickups, and Gotoh hardware.
Sean and I were fortunate enough to be able to visit with Dan and his wife Cindy at their shop outside of Nashville recently. They were wonderful hosts and the more we learned about them, the more we realized this is a story worth sharing. After the tragic loss of their son Erik to a heroin overdose, Dan and Cindy decided to honor their son’s life by creating outstanding guitars and basses branded with his name and silhouette while helping others affected by or struggling with addiction and mental illness. These are guitars that care.
I hope you enjoy this post and please check out the video of our chat with Dan and a behind-scenes-tour of his shop.
Luthier Dan Blom
Dan has been a luthier for almost 30 years now. He has worked in some of Nashville’s world renowned repair shops including Gruhn Guitars and alongside Joe Glaser. Working in those shops exposed Dan to some amazing instruments. Routinely working on guitars for famous musicians and ultra-rare vintage guitars, he not only honed his repair skills but saw what makes a guitar great. He has run his own shop specializing in repairs and custom builds for several years before starting E.B. Rooster in 2017. Dan’s extensive knowledge and experience is evident in every E.B. Rooster guitar.
Every E.B. Rooster is unique. The primary models available are S and T style but others, including some original shapes, are in the works. Baritones are available as well. Dan keeps costs down and production up by hand selecting pre-made bodies and necks with a focus on light-weight bodies, resonance, and visually appealing woods. From there, the necks and bodies are fine-tuned and finished by Dan. Most necks receive a gunstock oil finish and the body finishes vary from oil to various metallic colors. All fret work, nut work, and final setup is done by Dan. Custom one-off builds starting from raw materials are possible as well.
Each E.B. Rooster is outfitted with high quality components such as bridges by Schroeder and Wudtone, Hipshot locking tuners, pickups by McNelly and Fishman, and Emerson components. A recent addition to the list of options is the new bender system developed by Joe Glaser. This minimally invasive bender works wonderfully and does not require extensive time or routing for installation. Dan worked with Schroeder bridges to develop a custom saddle allowing for easy integration with the bender mechanism. He is one of the first to offer this bender. If you’re into benders, definitely check this one out.
So why do these guitars care, as their slogan goes? Dan and Cindy have a passion for guitars and the music they create, but that’s just part of the reason behind E.B. Rooster Guitars. A proceed of every guitar sale goes to those affected by or struggling with mental illness and addiction. In addition, all profits from the sale of their E.B. Rooster shirts go to helping those in need. Donations are accepted as well.
Their willingness to talk openly about the struggles and loss of their son to heroin was eye-opening and edifying. If more were willing to talk openly about these difficult topics, it would be a healthy start to changing people’s perspective on mental illness and addiction. Thank you to Dan and Cindy for sharing Erik’s story. If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness and/or addiction, please seek help. Remember, mental illness sucks. You don’t. We’ve included some resources at the bottom of this article.
Sean and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit with Dan and Cindy. They are a dynamic duo that have overcome a lot and continue to persevere while helping others along the way. And did I mention they make great guitars?
Where to Find E.B. Rooster Guitars
I invite you to check out their website and social media pages. If you’re looking for a new guitar or have a guitar in need of repair, feel free to contact Dan or Cindy. His shop is fully equipped to create a guitar of your dreams. E.B. Rooster Guitars are available directly through their site or at Carter Vintage Guitars in Nashville, TN.
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Connect with E.B. Rooster Guitars:
- Website: www.ebroosterguitars.com
- Instagram: @ebroosterguitars
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ebroosterguitars/
Mental Health/Addiction Resources: