Following in the sawdust of great luthiers, William Rees has been building stringed instruments since 1972. Rees instruments, in the hands of musicians and collectors around the world, are testament to the skill and craft with which each piece was designed and constructed.
Unlike the many avant garde and folk lutheries which emerged from the home-grown ethic of the sixties and early seventies, Wm. Rees Instruments has always been classical in nature. Rees instruments are grounded equally in art and science. Twenty-seven years in lutherie and the building of over a thousand instruments, have allowed William to develop and continue refining his hand. "The hand of the master" is a term of art used to define a certain sense for the individual instrument and feel for the wood. This is acquired through a combination of time and immaculate, quality work. As a scientist, his initial profession, William's increasing understanding of the attributes which set great stringed instruments apart, combined with the results of his own continual process of experimentation and improvement, plant his work on strong empirical foundations. The addition, in 1990, of a physicist to the lutherie team has served to further the pragmatic aspects of the development process.
During the past two and a half decades, William's business has evolved as have his instruments. After an initial five years of training and experimentation, William began to make occasional instruments for sale in addition to those he built as part of his apprenticeship routine. As Oakhurst Luthier (1977 to 1983), William served the needs of the local community, supplied dulcimer kits to a community college for dulcimer building courses and built lovely, simple mandolins for The Picking Parlor in Southern California. In 1983, he opened Rees Music Shop in Oakhurst, California from which he sold his own work, did repairs and sold standard, retail instruments. Bored with the retail grind (in addition to his job teaching biology), William sold Rees Music Shop in 1987 and worked in lutherie as William Rees, Luthier until the 1990 formation of William Rees Handcrafted Musical Instruments (WRHMI). From its inception, WRHMI was a full-time enterprise for both William and his partner, Pamela. In 1997, the business further evolved into Wm. Rees Instruments, a limited liability partnership. The addition of employees has given William the opportunity to provide psalteries to the wholesale market and to increase his efficiency in the shop.
The year 2000 is especially significant for WRI because it marks the Fall opening of William's new facility in Rising Sun, Indiana. Selected because it is central to the 70 percent of the WRI customer base that is in the Midwest, the move to Rising Sun is the result of a three year search for just the right place. The new building hosts the WRI shop, offices, a new harp gallery, called Harps on Main and a performance area, where we plan to host small acoustic instrument concerts. So, after years of being a bit difficult to find, WRI is now throwing open its doors and inviting everyone to come on by and visit awhile.
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222 Main Street, Rising Sun, IN 47040 • voice: (812)438-3032 • web: http://traditionalharps.com
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