Founder, CEO – Kim has been involved with vintage guitars for over four decades: playing, restoring, buying and selling with a focus on 1950’s Les Pauls and vintage parts. He got his first job sweeping the floors at Hilton’s music in Troy, New York where he was eventually promoted to store operations. Kim would go on to play guitar professionally, as a session musician and on tour, most recently with Smokin’ Joe Kubek. Since buying a 1952 goldtop in 1970 at Drome Sound Music. Kim obsessed over the sound, feel, and look of vintage Les Pauls and others. Attending guitar shows and dealing vintage parts under the business name Vintage Checkout, he saw prices rise out of reach for most players and old guitars become impractical for road use. Kim started Retrospec to develop and sell reproduction vintage guitar parts. By 2006, the rise in popularity of Historic Reissue guitars inspired the Historic Makeovers® concept: to make modern guitars look, sound, and feel like vintage. Historic Makeovers® represents Kim’s vision and tireless efforts to develop the processes and materials to make reissue guitars more like vintage guitars. He helped develop the proper cellulose nitrate inlay and side dot material, and his library of vintage guitars provides invaluable reference material for reproducing old finishes. After almost a decade in business, with thousands of satisfied customers, Historic Makeovers® continues to refine techniques and methods so every guitar we finish is better than the one before.Kim recruited a team of talented and motivated luthiers specifically for the Makeover process. Each member of the Historic Makeovers® team brings their own specialized skill set and experience to the makeover process. Their hard work and dedication helps guitar players and enthusiasts get the most from their instruments.
Woodworking/ Aging – Ken runs the majority of our woodshop operations. This involves everything from top carves and neck profiling to fretboard assembly, neck resets, as well as hand aging and distressing each guitar. “I draw on my background as a professional touring musician and literally thousands of shows as I approach each guitar.”
Painting and Refinishing – Mathew comes from a long line of craftsmen spanning over 5 generations. From a young age, honing techniques with tools has been a passion of his. Mat hand finishes each guitar that comes through Historic Makeovers®. In addition to spraying nitrocellulose lacquer, this involves mixing all of our custom stains, colors, hand scraping binding, wet sanding, and buffing, polishing, in addition to crafting fret boards, stripping the instruments of their paint, and sanding/top carving.