Faris Guitar Co moving to Kentucky Guitar Works

Rick Faris has had quite a run in bluegrass music. Still a fairly young man, he has gone from playing in his family’s band as a teen, to touring the world with Special Consensus, to being a successful solo recording and touring artist on his own. Gifted with a natural musical ability and a very pleasant singing voice, Rick is also a natural entertainer, and a warm and welcoming person admired by everyone he works alongside.

But all along the way he has held on to his “day job,” one that is flexible with his travel schedule and perfectly suits his artistic and creative impulses. For as long as he has been playing stringed instruments, Faris has also been repairing and maintaining them, and more recently building his own custom guitars based on the classic prewar dreadnaught model.

Just this week Rick has announced that he is accepting a new position in Owensboro, KY to pursue his craft, and build his Faris Guitars as part of the new Kentucky Guitar Works @ the Center for Lutherie.

Rick says that he has been offered an opportunity that he can’t resist.

“Everyone is becoming familiar with who I am as a performing artist and songwriter, but a lot of folks still don’t know that I am also a luthier, and spend a great deal of time building and repairing guitars and other stringed instruments. We are super excited to announce that the Faris family is moving to Owensboro, Kentucky to become the Artist in Residence at Kentucky Guitar Works.

At Kentucky Guitar Works I will be building my Faris Guitars, but I will also be offering guitar building workshops, courses, and luthier panels to educate and share information with the wider luthier community, to improve the vastly growing private luthier sector of this amazingly rewarding craft.

This latest announcement is an amazing opportunity for this other love of my life. Owensboro has recently rebranded as ‘The Bluegrass Music Capitol of the World’ to surround their town, which is a stone’s throw away from Rosine, KY, in the identity of the bluegrass community, with the aimpoint of fostering bluegrass growth and development.”

Those who have visited Owensboro to explore the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum may already be aware of the location of Kentucky Guitar Works. Just a few blocks from the Hall of Fame, it resides in the building that had previously housed the Museum before their new facility opened in 2018.

Rick will have access to an 1800 sq ft shop at KGW, which will also be open to visitors who can watch the ongoing work in progress. Like the Museum, there will be a pickin’ parlor set up where visitors can jam, and try out instruments for sale. Davies County Kentucky and the City of Owensboro are deeply involved in this venture along with regional tourism agencies and local businesses, which they believe will be a natural draw for visitors interested in the craft of lutherie, and a natural add-on to a trip to the Hall of Fame.

They have named Faris as a permanent artist in residence, where he will also be in a position to supervise apprentices and lead workshops, as well as offering his own repair and restoration services along with new, custom made guitars. His formal training had been under the tutelage of such renowned luthiers as Leo Posch of Leo Posch Stringed Instruments, Steve Mason of Mossman Guitars, and Jim Bagger of Mass Street Music.

Rick says that he is looking forward to this upcoming move, and his new position.

“Although I come from the vibrant NE Kansas lutherie scene, I am joining a great community in Western Kentucky that has some real amazing luthiers that I can’t wait to get to know better, and tap for tons of great education seminar opportunities.”

Remodeling is currently underway at Kentucky Guitar Works, with an official launch in January of 2024. Rick says that he expects that everything will be in place for full operation by springtime, with visitors welcome to come check out the shop.

Once things are fully operational, Kentucky Guitar Works expects to bring in other builders and craftspeople to work in the facility, and build apprentice programs for those interested in pursuing lutherie as a career.

Congratulations to Rick Faris, Faris Guitar Co, and Kentucky Guitar Works, and best of luck to them all in Owensboro.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.