There’s a fun story behind Steve Blanchard’s unique “Cowboy” headstocks, one that we thought was worth sharing.
In 1999, Steve attended the Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit at Marylhurst College in Portland. John Sullivan, a local luthier, had a booth there displaying his handmade guitars and mandolins. After testing out the mandolins and talking with John about the woods and construction, Steve decided to purchase a mandolin. John asked if he wanted something unique on the headstock, perhaps a custom inlay. Steve knew that he wanted something that would reflect his love of the ranching lifestyle and the style of music he was playing—something he could identify with. He found a cowboy silhouette on a magazine cover and sent it over to John, who was then able to create an outline of the image for the inlay. Steve was thrilled with how it turned out on the finished product and it has been quite the conversation piece since then.
Fast forward to 2014, when Preston Thompson Guitar’s Lead Set Up and Assemblyman, Gareth Jenkins invited Steve to the Thompson shop to check out the guitars he was building. Steve didn’t think he would ever purchase another guitar, but owning an acoustic guitar built like the finest guitars of the Golden Age intrigued him. Steve told us he was, “Immediately impressed by the first rate construction techniques, the string-to-string balanced sound, the quality of the wood selection, and having unlimited power—they’re loud and clear.” After playing the guitars and seeing the craftsmanship involved, Steve joined the Thompson Guitars family with the acquisition of his Custom D-BA Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought.
To stay true to his roots, Steve requested a similar cowboy custom inlay for the headstock of his new acoustic guitar. He was thrilled with the results and happy he had continued the tradition. Steve shared with us that, “Both cowboy images make a statement about me—reflecting my love of the western ranching buckaroo lifestyle and their self-reliant, hard-working character.”
Take a listen to Steve on his Custom Brazilian Rosewood Dreadnought, accompanied by Chris Luquette.