A legacy of innovation thirty years in the making
Founding luthier, Kevin Ryan, worked for the Southern California-based Northrop Aeroscience Lab when he prototyped his first guitar design. It was 1987. By day, he built jet fighter models for transonic wind tunnel testing. Late into the evenings, he worked on guitars, obsessively re-imagining the traditional aesthetics and sound of the iconic American instrument.
Though an aeroscience lab was, perhaps, an unlikely setting to foster an avante garde acoustic guitar, Kevin’s experience at Northrop – steeped in materials science and precision engineering – equipped him with a singular perspective and set of tools to craft a new class of acoustic instrument.
As he worked – melding art and engineering – on his first series of guitars, each step seemed to inspire new approaches to guitar design and construction. With time, he debuted more instruments and more models, with industry-first design features like the Ryan Bevel and Acoustic Flutes, Acoustic Honeycomb, and laser-sculpted “EO” bracing, among others.
Kevin’s inspiration from contemporary design and advanced tooling garnered attention within the larger guitar industry and, within three decades, his visionary work helped set a new standard for the look, feel, and performance of modern acoustic instruments.
In 2010, Acoustic Guitar Magazine crowned Kevin Ryan one of the most influential makers of the previous thirty years and his guitars “A blueprint for scores of other builders” and “a modern classic”.
Ryan Guitars remains dedicated to crafting instruments of unparalleled beauty, comfort, innovation and performance, which honor the planet’s natural resources and delight the world’s finest players.