I first met Bill Asher 10 years ago, while I was writing a book about steel guitars. I'd noticed significant scuttlebutt among steel players about a groundbreaking, solid-body electric lap steel he'd designed for musician Ben Harper. When we spoke, I quickly realized that here was someone who was absolutely passionate about what he does. Whether riffing about tone chamber placement, pickups, finishes or explaining the hoops he'd willingly jump through to please everyone from local players to demanding rock-star clients, Asher was clearly a man of strong opinions, but one who had his radar working overtime to understand exactly what musicians want and need from their instruments...
More excerpts from the article:
"For his senior shop project in high school, Asher built a Strat-inspired electric guitar. He showed the instrument to repairman Jeff Lunsford, one of the mainstays of the early '80s West L.A. guitar scene. Lunsford was impressed enough to offer Asher an apprenticeship that yielded him five years of invaluable experience in repairs, fretwork, guitar electronics and learning the customer service skills that build a business. When Lunsford was offered the full-time opportunity to build Bob Dylan's home recording studio, Asher went to his parents for an $8,000 loan, bought Lunsford's tools, and at age 22 became a guitar-shop owner."
- Bill Asher, pg. 68
"I've spent more time with Billy than I've ever spent with any luthier, playing the guitars and thinking about what I want and like, and for me, it's almost like having an in-house solution. I really kiind of put myself in his hands. I don't know where I would be without him."
- Jackson Browne, pg. 68.
"Billy has a rare and deep command of both acoustics and electrics. He can bring out the acoustic nature of an electric and the electric nature of an acoustic. That's something that sets him apart. When we started designing the signature model, he was able to incorporate hollow aspecs of the weissenborn into the solid maple cap signature model. I am as proud of that instrument as any song I've ever written."
- Ben Harper pg. 75