Metro guitar craftsman’s work strikes a chord with famous musicians

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been said that great guitar players go where the music takes them. Such is the case for one instrument-maker from the metro. He's risen to the highest moments of the music industry, including a weekend appearance in KC of a well-known Parrothead.

Before the chords can ring out -- sawdust has to fly. Custom made guitars are Jim Triggs' specialty. He's spent 35 years making musical instruments from hunks of maple and spruce.

In 1992, the Kansas native set out on his own, handmaking stringed instruments after spending five years working for the Gibson guitar factory. Triggs figures he's made over 1,500 of them.

“Sometimes, it's hard getting up at six in the morning and coming out here, but it's fun,” Triggs said.

The music world knows Triggs' work very well. Jimmy Buffett called out Triggs' name from the Sprint Center stage this weekend, while playing Jim's teal-colored Stratocaster.

“The other night when he did that shoutout, I wasn't expecting that. It's pretty cool,” Triggs said.

Triggs and his son have also made instruments for the late Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Alan Jackson and members of Aerosmith.

The guitars don't exactly make themselves either. Jim says each of his instruments takes at least 120 hours on the workbench. It's that kind of craftsmanship that has led so many big names to buy into his work.

Shawnee’s Cliff Eveland will attest to Triggs' work. He's a lifelong guitar tech who says the difference lies in Jim's attention to detail.

“When you see where he builds the guitars, and see the final product, it's hard to believe something that nice came out of a garage that's six inches deep in saw dust,” Eveland said.

“To me, it's a job, but it's a fun job. Being self-employed, I'd say there's something to be said for that,” Triggs said.

To big time musicians, it seems to hit the perfect note. The photos on Triggs' website read like a whos-who of the music industry. Here’s a link to Triggs’ website.