Born To Build Guitars

When Roger Fritz recently relocated to Alabama — to Fairhope, on Mobile Bay — the state reclaimed the business of a master luthier — a guitar maker, that is.

Fritz says he didn’t set out to make guitars. He’s just always wanted to play them — ever since he and brother John received Mickey Mouse “Mousegetars” as kids. “We did a lot of pantomiming, ” Fritz recalls. “Then, when I got to be a little older, I started thinking, ‘I need an electric guitar.’”

Requests for a Fender or Gibson went nowhere. So he made one. “I traced it out on a cardboard box and took it to plywood, ” he continues. “Using my dad’s Craftsman jigsaw, I cut the whole thing out. Then I took my crayon set and did a three-color sunburst.” His plywood cutout with fishing line strings didn’t work, of course. Fritz was 13 by the time he made one that did — not long before his family moved to Mobile in 1966.

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