Bourgeois is an American maker founded in 1993 by luthier Dana Bourgeois.
Legend has it that Dana built his first guitar in his college dorm, only referencing to luthier Irving Sloane’s “Classical Guitar Construction” book.
At the end of the 1970s, Dana Bourgeois opened a guitar repair shop in Brunswick, Maine, and is very active in the local folk music club, which invites guitarists to give concerts in the region. This is how he met Eric Schoenberg, a guitarist who owned several pre-war Martin OMs. It was by becoming his luthier that Dana discovered and began to copy this rare Orchestra Model, which had only made a short appearance in the Nazareth firm’s catalog, between 1929 and 1933.
Bourgeois was one of the first to work on the reintroduction of the OM model to guitarists of the time. Through the folk club, Dana met Tony Rice, one of the spearheads of the bluegrass boom. A virtuoso and demanding guitarist, Rice seemed difficult to impress when it comes to the dreadnought, his favorite model, but he fell under the spell of the sound of an OM that the luthier had not planned to present to him.
From 1987 to 1990, Dana worked with Eric Schoenberg in the development of Schoenberg Guitars, notably offering OM models with a cutaway. They make several guitars in collaboration with Martin.
In 1993, Dana Bourgeois opened his own company, Bourgeois Guitars, in Lewinston, Maine. The attention he pays to the realization of his instruments and his use of selected wood species make the success of his company. In 1999, Bourgeois signed a distribution contract with the Japanese distributor Akai. This association, which however seemed to augur an international expansion, quickly pushed the firm to bankruptcy, the orders not covering the investments. In 2000, Dana created Pantheon Guitars with new investors, the company with which he still manufactures Bourgeois guitars today.
Bourgeois is distinguished by his use of high grade woods, he is one of the first to have reintroduced Adirondack spruce in modern lutherie. He is also an adept of roasting woods. The Bourgeois bracing is inspired by the Martin bracing, but it is scalloped only in the bass, to enhance timbre balance. Finally, the luthier has set up a tap-tuning process which is carried out on each top. Each Bourgeois guitar is a unique piece of craftsmanship with an impeccable finish.