|Moonstone guitars, founded by Steve Helgeson, has been
producing some of the worlds finest hand-crafted acoustic, electric and bass
guitars for nearly 30 years. Self taught, in 1972, Steve set up his first shop
in an old shingle mill located in the woods of Moonstone Heights, California.
There he experimented primarily with acoustic guitar designs. In 1974, Steve
moved to Arcata, California and developed the Earthaxe electric, while also
doing repairs for a local music store. In 1976, Steve moved down the street to a
larger shop where he built two large acoustic basses, and continued to produce
the Earthaxe line, along with a few acoustic 6 strings. From the beginning,
Steve has implemented the use of highly figured and exotic imported tone woods.
He also pioneered the use of Pacific Quilted Maple, Myrtlewood, Maple and Walnut
In 1977, Steve settled into an even larger shop, an old
church, further down the street. He collected some light production machinery,
hired employees, and expanded his line of instruments. By the early 1980s,
Moonstone reached its peak of production, shipping over 1000 guitars throughout
the United States and Europe. Late in the 1980s, the Moonstone factory was
destroyed by arson.
By 1990, Steve salvaged most of the equipment and
inventory and built a new shop in Eureka, California. Working alone, Steve
delved into the art of designing and voicing new acoustic guitars. The J-90
auditorium size acoustic was conceived and the first models had side, backs, and
necks of West African Wenge, with Englemann or Sitka Spruce sound boards. Wenge
produces a very high and low frequency, resulting in a very loud, balanced tone.
This model is now built using wide flamed and quilted Maple, heavily figured
Koa, Macassar Ebony and Rosewoods, as well.
Steve personally carves and dimensions the scalloped
X-braces on all guitar tops. He tap tunes each top until it loosens and vibrates
freely as a sound plate (voicing procedure). After nine or more years of doing
so, Steve has fine-tuned this operation.
In 1995, the B-95 acoustic bass was designed and built in
4 or 5 string cutaway versions. The large body design (20 inch wide lower bout)
allows the volume of this bass to be heard when accompanied by two or more
acoustic guitars without being drowned out. It is also optionally amplified.
Steve has constructed commissioned instruments in the traditional slot-head
fashion of the 1920s and 1930s: in 00, 000, and OM sizes: with 42 and 45 style
In 1996, Steve reissued the M-80 semi-hollow body
electric. It has carved top and back plates, and is offered with a solid sustain
block, or with carved in tone bar bracing. It has changed to a 22-fret set neck,
although a 24-fret model is still available.
In 1997, the Vulcan Standard was re-issued. It is
lightweight (71/4 lbs.) with a one-piece Mahogany set neck and body. It has an
exquisitely carved, quilted or curly Maple bound top. Both of these electrics
are the jewels of the line. These are very versatile instruments, receiving
accolades from blues guitarists, jazz players and rock musicians alike.
Most recently, the J-90 super slope shoulder jumbo
acoustic was designed and built as a 12-fret finger style guitar. It has
incredible bass response, with balanced mid range and treble. All acoustics are
also offered in cut-away version.
Both professional and amateur musicians give high praise
to the superiority and distinctive quality of Moonstone guitars, and numerous
magazines and periodicals dedicated to the subject of fine stringed instruments
have applauded Moonstones excellence and integrity. Moonstone is pleased to
custom-build any guitar from its line, or from the imagination, to meet
individual specifications. Most all Moonstone guitars are supplied with a deluxe
hard-shell G&G or TKL case.
Additional specifications upon request. All guitars hand-built and signed by Luthier Steve Helgeson.