About

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After earning a music degree from a small arts school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I backpacked South America. My acoustic guitar rapidly became my bridge to friending locals and sharing cultures. That instrument began to fall apart as I journeyed through glaciers, beaches, jungle, desert and mountains. I remember thinking, they can put a man on the moon but can’t make a guitar suited for adventure travel. The seed was planted. Upon returning to Santa Fe, I enjoyed the life of a gigging musician and worked for the legendary guitar shop, The Candyman, where I honed my instrument repair skills.

I returned to my home state of Vermont in 2003 with my wife, knowing it is a great place to raise a family. I spent the next 10 years as a string repair technician for Ellis Music of Bethel. I then became head luthier for a company that built carbon fiber guitars. This is where I learned the art of composites. However, I always believed there must be an environmentally friendly way to build composite instruments that play and sound great but are also rugged enough for adventure and travel. In 2015, I began to experiment with building guitars and ukuleles from Vermont’s newly legal crop, hemp. BugOut Guitars had sprouted.

I handcraft steadfast, quality “adventure” guitars and ukuleles for people to take with them as they play in nature and explore the world. My instruments have whitewater-rafted the Grand Canyon and summited Mount Denali, North America’s highest peak. As my creation blossoms, my dream is to work in a solar-powered shop employing local folks who proudly build instruments out of Vermont-grown and -processed hemp.

Music allowed me to connect with people and cultures as I traveled the world. Now I build instruments to help others do the same.

…Jay