David Dart in his showroom, playing “Lady Steel” – a bowl-back lap steel guitar of his own design.
Photo credit: Justin Gordon

“I’ve been a luthier for almost 60 years. I began playing guitar when I was ten years old and a few years later restored an old fancy parlor guitar for myself. In 1964, I built my first stringed instrument: an Appalachian dulcimer. I made a mandolin next, and then a classical guitar. When I graduated from high school, I began working for Charles Chase of the Folk Music Center, where I built & repaired a wide variety of instruments for the store. Soon I set up a workshop in my parents’ garage and started taking custom orders. I moved my shop to northern California in 1983 & continue to make instruments of many kinds.

My philosophy has always been to satisfy the needs of each client, to make an instrument that allows that person to express their creativity. I’ve built them basic and functional, and I’ve also done fancy ones with all sorts of custom inlay for family heirlooms. I like it all!”

-David L. Dart

As a custom builder, David has built nearly sixty different types of instruments over his career: guitars, mandolins, lutes, acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitars, ukuleles, and many more. Notable musicians who play David’s instruments include Ben Harper, David Lindley, and Ed Littlefield.

An accomplished guitarist and singer, David has performed with several groups as a guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader: Wild Oats, Off The Cuff, David Dart & the Spare Parts.

Check out Fretboard Journal’s profile of David Dart, as well as a recent review of his 42-style D-12.

Assistant luthier Geoffrey Yenson, playing a fretless parlor bass in the Dart Instruments showroom.
Photo credit: Justin Gordon

Geoffrey Yenson has worked alongside David in his shop since 2014. In addition to assisting David with custom & spec instrument builds, Geoff also handles the brunt of the repair work and maintains this website. He’s an avid fingerstyle guitarist & enjoys surfing, mushroom hunting, and sea salt harvesting in his free time.