Gabriel Currie's fascination with guitars began during his childhood and has continued ever since - both as a player and, ultimately, as a master luthier. His first exposure to the inner workings of the instrument came during a visit to the Guitar Doctor (Mike Lipe) in Burbank, California in 1980 which inspired him to disassemble his 1958 Fender Music Master to see what made it tick. Needless to say, he was immediately hooked. His new passion landed him in a much-needed role as the local repair and modification tech for all of his high school friends. Shortly after his graduation, Gabriel found work in the mill at the renowned G&L Guitar Company in Fullerton, California where he worked under the watchful eyes of the legendary Leo Fender. He worked his way up through the ranks to eventually running the body making department. He would laboriously select the finest blanks, glue them up, cut them out, route them on the pin routers and, ultimately, sand them with the precision of a dedicated and ambitious builder. He also applied his increasing aptitude for each aspect of development to maintaining quality control during the years that he worked there.
Shortly after Leo’s passing, Gabriel found himself wanting to continue his education and thrive beyond his already skillful place in the ranks. In 1992 after a brief hiatus, he sought out Hosono Guitar Works in Glendale, California. There he continued his tutelage with the celebrated Japanese builder Tak Hosono. He spent countless hours building prototypes and producing all of the USA custom neck-through models for Ibanez and Sadowski along with Hosono's mail order custom built necks and bodies. While there, he worked alongside some of the most highly sought after luthiers in the industry including Sammy Sanchez.
Gabriel remembers, "I was learning from a master craftsman and surrounded by L.A.'s finest independent builders at the time. It was amazing. At Tak's place, I learned how to hand shape necks. I also learned and mastered lamination methods. I was able to work extensively with exotic woods, bookmatching, fretting, fine sanding, gluing tops and neck-throughs. You can't buy that kind of education."
Soon after leaving Hosono, and with his long term and diverse apprenticeship then complete, Gabriel started his own company – G-String Guitar Works – in Pasadena, California. While mostly filling his schedule with repairs and set-ups in 1999, he decided to spend some time playing in a few bands of his own which transitioned him away from full time guitar making for a while.
Between 1999 and 2006, Gabriel started to make his individual mark in the guitar building community by personally hand making 300 instruments for various players. As 2006 rolled on, he decided to finally start his own private, dedicated company to make 100% handmade, traditionally styled electric guitars.
Gabriel says, "I love Juniors, Teles, some of the Supros and Hagstrums and definitely old Gretches! Those elements combined to create my overall inspiration. The main thing that I wanted to do was to figure out how to make an improved guitar from start to finish - 100% by hand. I want to use my hands, eyes and ears to select and build every part of every instrument. That is the driving force in the idea behind doing this!"
In 2009, Gabriel made the first prototypes at home. At the end of 2010, he moved his shop to Echo Park, California where he already had a repair shop in the Bedrock Studios compound. In 2012, he moved his shop to an undisclosed location in Echo Park where he began his collaboration with some of the most revered musicians in the field of modern music. Echopark® Guitars was officially born and established as a company that set a new standard of aesthetic perfection for Gabriel which only hinted at what lay ahead.
"I collaborated with Jonny Two Bags from Social Distortion to create an Echopark® Signature Series model. Joe Perry and Brad Whitford from Aerosmith, as well as Jakob Dylan of The Wallflowers, have been playing the guitars on tour. I can't say enough about all of these musicians. It is a rare honor to have my creations come alive in the hands of my idols," says Gabriel. Joe Perry has become a longtime collaborator, confidant and customer, with Gabriel designing and building a wide variety of specialty instruments that Perry diversely employs throughout all of his projects ranging from Aerosmith to Hollywood Vampires. Johnny Depp also plays a custom guitar hand built by Gabriel in the band alongside Perry.
Echopark® Guitars can also be found in the hands of Josh Homme and Troy Van Leeuwen of Queens of the Stone Age. Both performers own and perform live with a variety of signature custom guitars from Gabriel. In Homme's other band, Eagles of Death Metal, Dave Catching has also brought Echopark® Guitars into his home and out on the road.
Gabriel also takes tremendous pride in knowing that yet another one of his heroes, the legendary Jackson Brown, is playing a custom Echopark® Guitar. Many of the industry's most notable studio and live performers including Nick Oliveri, Tony Gilkyson, Jack Douglas, Greg Leisz, and Phil X have also adopted Echopark® Guitars into their arsenals.
Echopark® Guitars has also developed divisions that specialize in custom acoustic guitars, as well as hand-wired custom amplifiers and effects; all of which are second to none. They, quite simply, must be seen and heard to be believed. Each piece is designed with the same design and sonic aesthetic that has become a brand staple - cutting straight to the heart of pure tone and cutting out all the fat along the way. Countless players are adopting them as a part of their go-to rig for both live and studio work.
In 2017, Gabriel Currie relocated the now well known and widely respected Echopark® Guitars from California to a new home in Detroit, Michigan. Looking for a change, he searched long and hard across the USA. but decided that there was no better place to move his thriving company other than the legendary Motor City. Gabriel found a kindred spirit in a city built on the unwavering determination, passion, grit, and resilience which he has poured into every part of Echopark® Guitars. In an effort to introduce himself and embrace his new community, Gabriel is also adding a new division to the company that will cater to the repair and modification needs of the surrounding community. Detroit musicians now have personal access to the top specialists in the field in a way that has never been made available in the region or, quite frankly, anywhere else.
Gabriel is still a respected and active working musician which allows him to test drive every instrument he builds in a practical manner. He is also an avid collector of vintage guitars which he regularly uses to spec out the finest details and build upon their tonal palettes. He prides himself on his knowledge of tones and the history of the finest guitars ever built.
If you are seeking handmade instruments that bleed soul and ooze tone, you are definitely in the right place. Each and every instrument that is created by Gabriel Currie and his team is the product of a deeply bred lineage of American craftsmanship. For instruments built with love in mind; for pieces of art that have been coddled and cared for from their inception; for practical, yet dynamic, tools that are second-to-none for making music, welcome yourself into the ever-expanding world of Echopark® Guitars. Handmade in Detroit, USA.