Living in Jackson

Stephen Ziegenfussbuilds guitars because...

September 25, 2020

…he loves wood. “It’s strength, its smell, even its taste – wood is a noble material to work with.”

A mechanical engineer by training, Ziegenfussworks full time as a product engineer in a fast-paced prototyping environment for SeaLandAir Technologies. “I can get so wrapped with work, with caring for my family during this pandemic, and with the politics of our world that it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. I need something to keep me going.

“I have learned that crafting instruments is a means to slow life down and provide margin. The simplicity of scraping and sanding and bending is a gentle reminder that the small things in life can generate the greatest fulfillment when pursued with intentionality. “

“I have learned to appreciate the little things that provide me with an understanding that more exists. That’s when I sit down, pick up my guitar and play. Music helps pull me back out, helps me understand all that goes on is not everything there is. Most of the time it’s not what’s most important at all.”

Stephen Zigenfus has built over 70 custom guitars, acoustic, bass and electric. Some have found their way into the hands of professional musicians.

Three years ago, Ziegenfuss built a guitar for Jon Foreman, frontman of the Grammy-winning San Diego band Switchfoot. “I love it. It's got a beautiful, warm tone that has been very inspiring,” Foreman said of the guitar in an email with the Jackson Citizen Patriot. “It’s my go-to guitar at home. There are about 10 songs that I've written on it.”

He built an electric guitar for Christian McAlhaney, lead guitarist of Seattle’s Anberlin. In the church music circle, he built guitars for Phil Wickham, a San Diego worship leader, and Andi Rozier, Chicago’s Vertical Worship leader.

Stephen Ziegenfusswas drawn to the Commercial Exchange building this year when he needed to expand his workshop. “The building has a warmth to it,” he said. “Working in a space where people have been building all sorts of things over the last century inspires me to create. One day I’ll build a guitar called the “Jackson” and use the Jackson Automobile logo.”
Author: Laurice Lazebnik