Will Nash

Will NashIn 1999, Will Nash set out to build musical instruments in a very small 1920’s converted carriage house while living in Portland, Oregon. That year, he completed three mandolins and one guitar of his own design (which later became the Nashwood C-14 concert). At a slow pace, he read and studied Bennedetto, Cumpiano, the Guild’s publications, Sacconi and others to satisfy his growing fascination with making musical instruments. In 2002, Will signed up with Breedlove Guitars in Central Oregon, and took over their mandolin department. Working under the careful guidance of Kim Breedlove, Jason Chinchen and Jason Bowerman, among others, Will developed a keen sense for what goes into a great musical instrument.
From design and construction to the voicing of an instrument, the foundation was prepared to launch Nashwood Guitars and Mandolins in 2004. This year also marked the birth of his and Donna Nash’s first daughter, Doris Nash, and the new adventure of raising a family. Eleanor came to the scene shortly after Doris, in 2006. Over the next decade Will’s work would bring him to multi-million dollar projects, creating architectural details in lumber, branch and log; cabinetry, furniture and a quiver of musical instruments, some traditional and some experimental. “I really enjoy whateverWill Nash project is on my bench. When people come to me for a cabinet, they know I will take as much pride in it’s execution as I would a sculptural artpiece or musical instrument.
I get a great satisfaction out of creating for my clients exactly what they intended when they commissioned me, or something much better.” Though his first instruments consisted of both flat tops and archtops, his real joy came from carving and sculpting the subtle graduations of the archtop. It was not until 2006 that he encountered the Gypsy Jazz Guitar’s domed top and ladder bracing, which would permanently alter his instrument designs. “A light burst through and I saw the birth of a new instrument based upon Mario Maccaferri’s bracing and arching of his famous “flattop” popularized by Django Rheinhardt. I began drawing up new instrument designs and brainstorming new ways to approach the modern steel-string mandolin and guitar.”
In 2010, Will joined the Red Chair Gallery in downtown Bend; there, he partnered with 30 other artists in the membership gallery to show furniture, sculpture, instruments and housewares. His signature “swivel-back” chairs and spoons and spatula’s are gallery mainstays. In 2014, Will won a commission to create 18 pieces of custom furniture for the Unitarian Universalists Fellowship of Central Oregon to outfit their new state of the art, leed certified church in Bend, Oregon. The commission included the Stage furniture: Eureka House of MetalPulpit, Altar, Minister’s tables and chairs; also the soundboard cabinet, entry benches and welcoming tables, gathering tables and information kiosk.
“Working with the Universalists was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Committee meetings with many concerned parties, all trying to imagine the needs of each piece created an amazing palatte to move from and make decisions regarding each piece. I was surprised how much great work could come out of collaboration and committee work.” Will Nash lives and works in Bend, Oregon.

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