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Steve Koenke is a skilled and passionate luthier with 20 years of experience in the industry. Koenke Guitars LLC is now located in South Carolina (formerly Teaneck, NJ) and serves the Charlotte Metro Area, North Carolina, and South Carolina. He specializes in handcrafted electric and archtop acoustic guitars, vintage guitar repair and restoration, and handwound pickups. He also repairs basses and mandolins.
Steve was born in Cooperstown, NY in 1978 and grew up in Bergen County, NJ. He was introduced to the guitar at the age of 14 when he took a guitar course at school. He enjoyed it so much that he requested an acoustic guitar for Christmas the same year. With great anticipation, he found a Fender Alexxus 20 under the tree and over the next four years, he cut his teeth learning licks and tricks from all the blues greats: Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Buddy Guy, BB King, Albert King, and Freddie King, Elmore James, and Albert Collins, to name a few. He practiced tirelessly, visualized how the masters played, and paid attention to sound nuances.
At 19, Steve felt a strong urge to build his own guitar. After searching for venues to learn this unique craft, he found the Roberto Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, AZ and enrolled in 1997. Steve built a flat top acoustic steel string guitar and a set neck electric guitar, and learned how to repair acoustic and electric guitars. The experience changed his life, gave him valuable knowledge, and further fueled his desire to be a professional luthier.
© 2018 Steve Koenke Guitars, all rights reserved.
Serving the Charlotte Metro Area
and the Carolinas
After graduating from Roberto Venn, Steve took on various jobs and in his spare time, he repaired guitars for friends in the music business. Later, a friend informed him that a world renowned vintage guitar dealer in northern NJ was hiring a guitar repair technician. He took the job and worked there for almost nine years, during which he repaired approximately 15,000 stringed instruments, which included vintage Martins from the turn of the century, pre-war Martins, Gibson flat tops and archtops from all decades, D'Angelicos, D'Aquistos, Monteleones, banjos, mandolins, resophonics, and electric guitars of every brand from every decade since its invention. He learned about the ailments associated with certain brands and models. He also discovered that some flaws were caused by unforeseen manufacturing and/or design errors, and mentally noted ways to avoid these problems in the guitars that he would build in the future.