Stephen has been making handmade instruments since 1998 when he attended the Roberto-Venn school of Lutherie in Phoenix, Arizona.
After graduating from Roberto-Venn he went to work with Charles Fox at CFox guitars in Healdsburg, California. For three years Stephen built the acoustic boxes that were to become CFox guitars.
Upon the closure of CFox guitars in 2001, Stephen began working with Todd Taggart at Allied Lutherie. Todd was responsible for starting the Luthiers Mercantile in the 1970′s and was just in the beginning stages with Allied. Stephen signed on as the shop manager and was responsible for processing and grading tonewoods as well as personally selecting woods for major guitar companies such as Gibson, Taylor and Fender as well as the small shop luthiers. This time spent processing thousands of sets of wood has greatly informed Stephen’s relationship with the materials that become his handmade guitars.
In 2003, Stephen and his wife Layne relocated to Portland, Oregon where he began producing his own guitars as well as having had the good fortune to work closely with Portland luthier Saul Koll on Saul’s fine electric and archtop guitars.
Stephen and family have now moved to Tucson, Arizona where these experiences, combined with Stephen’s background in art and design have culminated in the instruments now bearing the Stratton Guitars name.