Saint Blues Guitar Workshop was born in the heart of the Delta, Memphis, where country tangled with the blues and spawned Rock & Roll. Every guitar we make today is made right here in Memphis.
On the street now called Elvis Presley Boulevard, across the way from Graceland, Mike Ladd and Tom Keckler were doing something magical with guitars at Mike Ladd’s Guitar City. Seems whenever these boys laid hands on someone’s guitar, it just played a whole lot better. Hell, they even customized one for the King ordered by his father. You can see him play it in “Aloha From Hawaii”.
After Mike Ladd’s Guitar City, Keckler worked as the guitar guru at the legendary Strings and Things music store, where his skills and legend continued to grow. Here is where the “Bluesmaster” body was first designed, taking all the things he liked about his favorite guitars and putting them into a single guitar.
In 1978, Keckler joined Tom Anderson and David Schecter out in California to turn Schecter Guitar Research from a parts supplier to a guitar company. But anyone who’s ever lived in Memphis knows you can’t stay away long and in 1983 he came home to continue his guitar work, and joined the guys at Strings and Things to form, Saint Blues Guitar Workshop in 1984. Using the body shape that Tom and Charlie Lawing from Strings and Things had created some years before, the first St. Blues model was created and not surprisingly named the “Bluesmaster”. Sometimes you hit it just right. This unique guitar stands up to any classic design, and people who know a great guitar were quick to notice. Soon you would find a Bluesmaster in the hands of Eric Clapton, Bono, Albert King, Elliot Easton, Marshall Crenshaw, Glen Frey, Billy Gibbons... We could go on but this isn’t a book.
In 1989, St. Blues took a break, but like Memphis itself, you just got to come back to a good thing. Players and dealers alike wouldn’t let it go, so in 2006 St. Blues was reborn by Bryan Eagle. He eventually talked Keckler back into the business and moved to the current location on Marshall Ave across from Sun Studio. The initial product was a well received import, made in Korea, but with USA components.
In 2011, Jeff and Teri Cox partnered with Bryan to bring production back to the US and launch the high end Workshop Series line of US made, custom shop guitars. In 2012 they launched the line of roots instruments which includes the cigar box guitar and the Woogie Board, an electrified washboard. In January of 2013 they launched the Juke Joint series a line of affordable guitars and bases.
While it just about killed us to do so, today, every instrument we sell is designed and built right here in our Memphis workshop.