Herb David

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Herb David (born April 12, 1931) is the American owner of the Herb David Guitar Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan which opened on April 1962, and closed its doors in 2015. Over the years, Herb has worked on hundreds of instruments, including the instruments of Eric Clapton, John Lennon, Bob Seger and many more.[1] In addition, he is also well respected for his craftsmanship of guitars, banjos, mandolins and other stringed instruments. Outside of the studio, he enjoys physical fitness, playing music, art, traveling to distant lands and learning about how music contributes to the mysteries of life.[2] He currently resides in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and dogs.


Early years[edit]

Herb David was born and raised on Chicago's southwest side, on Kedzie/Maxwell Street. His family was poor, but close. The neighborhood was mixed in every way. It was there where he learned to respect all people and what skills were needed to put food on the table.[3] His mother sold yard goods at a Goldblatt's Department Store. He never saw or knew of his father.

At the age of nine, Herb David's interest in music took off after visiting his cousin who played the trumpet. He was so mesmerized by what he was hearing. Music was everywhere during that time on Maxwell Street, but Herb's family could not afford to buy an instrument of his own. Therefore, Herb earned money to help support his family by delivering magazines while saving any extra money to purchase a trumpet. During junior high and high school, he played in school bands and in a jazz combo. He eventually got into gymnastics which resulted in a gymnastic scholarship to Michigan State University.[3]


David was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. While serving, he played trumpet in the Army Band at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He transferred to Ft. Knox when the band was sent overseas. The Army discovered he had been a grad student doing research on topics of space exploration.[4] He was then assigned to the Army Medical Research Lab as a research psychologist where he was allowed to live off post in Louisville, Kentucky. While there, he played trumpet and French horn with the Louisville Philharmonic (first chair), learned about the guitar and took guitar lessons.[3]


After the Army, David moved to Ann Arbor, MI, and went back to school to work on his PhD at the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.[3] During this time, he took guitar lessons with Glendon Hilge who owned a guitar store and made guitars in the 1930s. His interests eventually transferred toward playing the lute. In his search for one, he met a shoemaker by the name of Sarkis (Sam) Varjabedian. Sarkis made musical instruments (primarily the oud and, later, the lute) and did marquetry in wood and pearl in the back of his shoe repair shop in Detroit, Michigan in the tradition of many hundreds of years passed down to him through his family.[3] Sarkis shared his wealth of knowledge with Herb and taught him how to build and repair instruments.

Herb David Guitar Studio[edit]


David's business took flight teaching guitar out of his home. Realizing he needed a larger space to teach all of his students, he decided to rent a small room in the basement of what was a bookstore on South State Street.[4] In April 1962, this small room became the first home of Herb David Guitar Studio. Following the advice of a great friend, Herb left the research lab at Ford Hospital and pursued the Herb David Guitar Studio full-time.[4]


The Herb David Guitar Studio became a musical landmark in southeastern Michigan.[4] The studio provided retail services for Fender, Martin, Taylor, Seagull, Vox and many more. What's more, the studio provided repair services for all stringed instruments, electronics, as well as the warranty center for all instruments sold. The studio also provides one-on-one music lessons for guitar (electric, acoustic, classical, flamenco and bass), banjo, piano, voice, mandolin, harmonica, ukulele, and percussion.[1] As of 2008, the studio expanded its business operation by developing a website[5] where customers can purchase retail items, get information about lessons, repairs and upcoming events and learn more about the studio. However, after more than 50 years in business Herb David retired and the Herb David Guitar Studio closed on March 30, 2013.[6] According to the Guitar Studio website, the repair staff will continue to operate at the same location under the name "Ann Arbor Guitars."[7]

Famous musicians whose instruments were repaired at the Herb David Guitar Studio[edit]


  1. ^ a b c [1] Archived June 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ "My Business: Herb David Guitar Studio". Blog.mlive.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  3. ^ a b c d e [2] Archived October 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ a b c d Whitney Pow (2009-01-14). "Herb David: Crafting Ann Arbor's Music Legacy". Michigandaily.com. Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  5. ^ https://web.archive.org/20080821013534/http://www.herbdavidguitarstudio.com/. Archived from the original on August 21, 2008. Retrieved July 20, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Reed, Tina (July 29, 2008). "My Business: Herb David Guitar Studio". Ann Arbor News. Retrieved July 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ [3] Archived August 7, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.