About

About Alan Hanson

Alan began his lifelong love of woodcraft at age 6 and fell in love with the acoustic guitar at age 16, but it would be more than 40 years more before he found his way to the merger of these two loves in guitar making. In the interim were university degrees in physics, work as an engineer, medical school, raising a family, and a 30-year career as a physician. Alan is a graduate of the Colorado School of Lutherie under luthier Edward Dick and also credits Australian engineer and luthier Trevor Gore and the Guild of American Luthiers for guidance and inspiration. He lives in Colorado and loves playing the guitar more than ever.

My Process

Like any fine product, construction begins with great materials, vision, and experience, but photos of wood and clamps don’t tell the whole story.

One needs the drive to always try something new—to innovate—knowing full well that nine of every ten new ideas will ultimately be set aside, as in this picture of a small sample of my pile of guitar tops that didn’t make the cut.

So, when I think of my next guitar, I imagine how it could be even better than its predecessors—more comfortable to hold, more compelling to listen to, more beautiful to see.

Design Philosophy

Ultimate Responsiveness

Accentuated curvature of front and back permit light-but-strong vibrating surfaces that are highly responsive to the player’s nuances. Subtleties can really come through.

Handmade Celtic Style Acoustic Guitar crafted by Hanson Handmade Guitars with intricate designs and high-quality materials.

Great Sound

This speaks for itself, but really, what’s the point of a custom guitar if the sound is not truly compelling?

Playability

My guitars are ergonomic and more comfortable to hold than traditional designs. And especially for the cutaway models, the high frets are truly accessible.

Stability

On close inspection, note that the fingerboard does not touch the guitar top, and hence will not warp with it. Note the interior “flying braces” which lend strength and stability to the all-important neck block inside. Note the carbon fiber-reinforced kerfing (linings) inside for added rigidity.

Ease of adustment

Options include an adjustable neck for string action, removable neck and bridge, and access panel at the tail.

Sound Signature

Handmade Elan Style Acoustic Guitar by Hanson Handmade Guitars

The lion’s share of a guitar’s sound comes from the tonal coloration imparted by the body of the instrument—that’s its main function. My guitar designs target specific resonant frequencies in both the guitar top and back that are considered optimal.

But since no two pieces of wood are exactly alike, a little science and technology is in order. Before construction, each
plate destined for the top is individually measured for density and stiffness so the thickness can be customized accordingly.

Intonation is standard at both the nut and the saddle. Notes and chords that are really in tune sound sweeter!

And following assembly, a tonal “fingerprint” (fast Fourier transform, FFT) is made, followed by final interventions such as trimming braces inside the body to hit these target frequencies. The result is smooth evenness of tone and a compelling sound.