A Morgantown guitar maker has gained national acclaim for his craftsmanship in custom guitar building, but his journey is far the norm.
Andrew White's story started 13-years-ago when he was a 19-year-old philosophy student at West Virginia University and a trip to Spain changed his life forever.
"I wanted to buy a guitar, so I went to this guitar maker, I found the instrument I wanted and asked if he'd let me see his shop if I bought this guitar," White said. "And in an instance I knew I was going to build a guitar."
When Walker returned home, he began. He bought a book, got the materials as a Christmas gift, and after a year redesigned a set of blueprints and built his own, one-of-a-kind custom guitar.
"The inside label, if you look inside it says White Guitars, year 2000 and the number 01," he said. "I was then 20-years-old when I wrote this label, and I knew there was going to be at least 10."
Thirteen years later and there have been far more than 10.
"I personally like the feel the best," said Washington, Pa., musician Gary Antol of the band "The Weedrags". "They're smaller than a regular dreadnought. I think they're beautiful, they don't look like regular guitars and they sound really nice."
White has custom guitar clients across the globe that include Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine and country star Craig Morgan.
He uses different woods, and techniques to make sure each instrument is tailored to fit the exact sound his artist is looking for. A task that is far from easy.
"That's a hard-hard thing to do, because that's why we have musical instruments, to communicate something we can't communicate with words, and I need to them to communicate words what they want to communicate," White said.
"People are always searching for their own tone, their own sound, trying to create something that hasn't been done before," said Trae Buckner of the band Hillbilly Gypsies. "So when you find someone like Andrew who's willing to try new things it neat because you can develop your own sound because of him."
Andrew White Guitars have grown so big White has recently started line of production instruments.
"To be an artist and craftsman and succeed is one thing," he said. "But to take it to the next level, where there is an 80-thousand square foot factory with and Andrew White Guitar flag waving out front is another thing. I've been very, very blessed."
"The concept of mastery doesn't exist in guitar making. It's the challenge of building a guitar that still drives me, it seems like such and impossible thing, still even today."
White's shop is located at the corner of Foundry and High Streets in Morgantown. His custom guitars start at $7,000, but production models can be purchased at stores across the world.