About Mike Lipe


  • About Mike Lipe
  • Interviews
  • Artists
  • Endorsees
  • Reviews

Mike Lipe is one of the best and most respected Luthiers in the world. He has more than 35 years experience building and customizing guitars for some of the biggest names in music. Mike masterfully builds each guitar by hand from beginning to end.

Starting in the mid 70's, working in a music store, Mike learned the demanding craft of woodworking and finishing from an old violin maker. After eight years at the music store Mike left to work for guitar manufacturer "MIGHTY MITE". In 1982 Mike went into business for himself and became L.A.'s original "Guitar Doctor". After six years of building and customizing guitars for some of L.A.'s most respected musicians, Mike's business was purchased by IBANEZ in 1989. At IBANEZ Mike helped to create a custom guitar shop on the West Coast where he was a master builder of fine guitars for IBANEZ endorsers throughout the United States. After leaving IBANEZ, Mike went to YAMAHA and worked on the assembly and quality control of the "PACIFICA" line of guitars for two years. Recently from 2009-2011, he was building Peavey artist endorsement guitars.

Mike worked for HOFNER (known as Music Group), FENDER warranty service center for World Music in Santa Clarita C.A.. Currently is providing warranty service in the USA for "ZEMAITIS GUITARS".

There is nothing more wonderful than a guitar that is hand-built, by a Master.


Mike is is not only a great Luthier, he is a guitarist and vocalist for the band "The Mother Blues Band". As well as a member of the LA Blues Society.

 


Guitar Speak Video Interview - Click here to view.


Guitar International by Dr. Matt Warnock

One of these luthiers, whose reputation and high-quality guitars have allowed him to survive the economic turmoil of the past few years, is California based builder Mike Lipe. Whereas the big names are turning to overseas factories and standard woods to build their instruments, Lipe uses American made hardware and exotic woods such as mango when custom-building a guitar. One would think that by going against the grain he would be alienating himself from the guitar buying public, but this is not the case.

By focusing on quality and personality in his guitars, as well as drawing upon many years of experience building instruments for some of the biggest names in the business, Lipe has been able to grow his business over the past decade, achieving a reputation among the guitar community for making some of the best sounding and most beautiful custom guitars on the market.

Click here for the rest of the interview



As a Master Luthier for Ibanez Artists, Mike has built guitars for the artists below.


Steve Vai | Joe Satriani | Brian May (Queen) | Carlos Santana | Randy Rhoads (Ozzy Osborne) | Jason Backer (David Lee Roth)


Paul Gilbert | Richie Kotzen (Mr.Big/Poison) | Reb Beach (Whitesnake/Winger) | Dough Aldrich (Whitesnake/Dio)


Andy Timmons | Blues Saraceno (Jack Bruce/Poison) | Alex Skolnick (Testament) | Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson/Jeff Beck)


Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osborne/Whitesnake/Dio) | Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies) | Tracy Guns (LA Guns)


Michael Angelo Batio | Sting | Paul Stanley ( Kiss) | Kurt Kobain (Nirvana) | John Fogerty | David Bowie


Martin Barre (Jethro Tull) | Scott Henderson | Frank Gambale | Otis Rush | Tommy Shannon (Stevie Ray Vaughan)


Coco Montoya (The Bluesbreakers/Albert Collins) | Charlie Sexton | Steve Hunter (Lou Reed) | Jimmy Vavino


Mark Karan | Bob Gross | W.C Clark | Ivo Stan


Marcus Rezak…International touring and recording artist, named "The Sultan of Shred", and top guitarist by – Soundfuse Magazine -


Marcus Rezak has a Berklee College of Music bachelor's degree in Guitar Performance, and DePaul University Masters of Music degree in Jazz Composition. Currently, a touring guitarist with several well-known cutting edge groups based out of Chicago including, Digital Tape Machine, The Hue, and Young General. Marcus has performed at major music festivals across the globe of various genres including EDM, Rock, and Jazz festivals including Mayan Holidaze, Northcoast Music Festival, Summercamp, Bear Creek, and more. His current band Digital Tape Machine has released and is touring behind their debut LP, "Be Here Now" now available on iTunes. The Hue, Marcus' original progressive rock band is a fiery instrumental four-piece duel guitar shred fest with 2 albums entitled, "Unscene", and "Beyond Words". Marcus has performed with members of The Aristocrats, Mike Keneally, Ohmphrey, Chris Poland, Jake Cinninger, Project Object, Umphreys Mcgee, Marco Benevento, Wood Brothers, Karl Denson, Garaj Mahal, The New Mastersounds, and many others. In addition to live performance Marcus enjoys the studio having recorded and performed as session and hired lead guitarist for NYC Grammy-winning producer Jeff Franzel. Currently, a jingle with Grammy-nominated producer and bassist, John Ovnik was aired on national television for General Mills Cheerios. As an educator, Marcus has been head of his own teaching organization for 17 years teaching clinics, group labs, ensemble coaching, and music theory. He has performed with and led rehearsals for the DePaul University Big Bands. Keep up with Marcus Rezak at www.marcusrezak.com


Florent Atem... two-time Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter

Florent Atem is a two-time Grammy nominated guitarist, singer and songwriter. A multiple music award winner in Tahiti and Hawaii. He has released four albums recorded by Grammy-winning producer Bob St John (Prince, Extreme). Florent is mostly known to the guitar community for his technique he calls "Slide Picking", which he invented and had been developing for the past 15 years. Guitarist such as Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson, Jeff Beck), Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (Guns N' Roses), Alex Skolnick (Ozzy Osbourne, Testament) Michael Angelo Batio and many other world class musicians have praised Florent's unprecedented approach, which they consider "fantastic" and "very innovative". In 2003, producer John Cuniberti ( Joe Satriani, The Dead Kennedys) expressed interest in working with Florent, whom he described as "the new Joe Satriani with a style of his own". Dreamtown, Florents first solo album featured drummer Jeff Campitelli (Joe Satriani) and bass players Michael Manring and Matt Bissonette (Joe Satriani, Ringo Starr, Don Henley, Brian Wilson, David Lee Roth, Christopher Cross) and sister Carole Atem on keys.


Coco Montoya:...Blistering contemporary blues...piercing attack, funky, shivery guitar tones and aggressive, soulful vocals -Blues Revue

Over the course of his 30-year career, guitarist and vocalist Coco Montoya's explosive guitar playing and soul-driven voice have propelled him to the upper reaches of the blues-rock world. From his early days as a drummer to his current status as one of the top-drawing guitarists and vocalists on the blues-rock scene, Montoya has forged his reputation through years of hard work and constant touring. And it all started with a chance meeting in the mid-1970s with legendary bluesman Albert Collins, who offered Montoya a gig as his drummer. Albert took an immediate liking to Montoya, becoming his mentor and teaching his new protégé secrets of the Collins icy hot style of blues guitar. Five years later, John Mayall happened to catch Montoya at a jam session and was blown away. This led to Montoya's touring the world for ten years with the legendary Bluesbreakers. Since stepping out as a bandleader in 1993, Montoya has released four solo albums and has performed non-stop at clubs, concert halls and major festivals all over the world. At every show, fans' jaws dropped, and critics raved about Montoya's mind-bending guitar licks and impassioned vocals. The fiery blues that issue forth from Coco Montoya's guitar are awe-inspiring and boogie requiring, shouted The Village Voice. Blistering, pure blues, cheered Blues Revue. Now, with Can't Look Back (AL 4885), Montoya turns up the intensity with another dose of his feral, soul-stirring music.


Mark Karan:...A First-Rate Jamband Guitarist - Washington Post Express

Mark Karan is best known for performing with the extended Grateful Dead family. For the last twelve years, he has anchored the lead guitar slot in Bob Weir & RatDog, playing hundreds of shows to thousands of fans year-round. Before crossing over into the land of the Dead, Mark worked his guitar and vocal voodoo for the likes of Dave Mason, Delaney Bramlett, the Rembrandts, Paul Carrack, Huey Lewis, Jesse Colin Young and Sophie B. Hawkins.


Bob Gross:...Bassist, Recodring Artist

Currently and for the past eleven and a half years have played with Mark Karan and Jemimah Puddleduck. A jam band made up of Mark Karan, from Bob Weir and Rat Dog, The Other Ones, Sophie B. Hawkins, The Rembrandts and more, on guitar and vocals. Two time grammy nominee John, 'JT' Thomas, from Bruce Hornsby's band on keyboards. Billy Lee Lewis from Roy Rodgers, and Tommy Castro on drums, and myself.


Ivo Stan:...Guitarist, Recording Artist

"Ivo Stan- LA based guitar player,singer,songwriter who's style ranges from blues rock to hard rock with colors of fusion and even country, such divers approach demanded a very versatile guitar that can cover a lot of ground while still retaining a classy simplicity . Ivo Stan exclusively uses the Ivo model which is a result of his collaboration with Mike Lipe."


bbuck : Virtuoso

This part is simple. Lipe Guitar build instruments that are on a par with the finest builders in the world. I have owned Andersons, Suhr's, Paul Reed Smith's. Mcnaughts, Brian Moores, Gibsons, Fenders, Valley Arts and many, many more. This guitar takes a backseat to no one. In fact I can find more attention to detail in this instrument than in most I have owned. It is truly handcrafted with extreme care by someone who understands what a musician needs to excel at his/her craft. To me this is a Suhr style instrument with an injection of love that delivers instant MOJO. I should add that the tasteful selection of woods and uber high quality hardware really create an amazingly beautiful instrument. I think if you peruse the Lipe website and study their guitars against Suhr, Anderson, PRS, etc you will see a certain richness in these instruments that the others don't quite deliver. Don't get me wrong these are all Porsche's and Ferrari's, I just think Lipe slightly outclasses the others at this point. Finally, I think the pricing at Lipe is extremely fair when compared to other instruments of this quality. If there were WINE SPECTATOR this one would get a 98 and if it were STEROPHILE this one would be CLASS "A". Can't go wrong here!


www.harmonycentral.com/products/110130 - Classic Virtuoso

I've either owned or currently own Tom Anderson, Suhr, Grosh, PRS, Fender Custom Shop, Gibson, McInturff, Steinberger,
.... and the list goes on. While I hold many of these other guitars and their builders in high esteem, and would have
great things to say about them as well my first experience with Lipe Guitars has truely been in class all by itself.
For those of you who have never heard of Michael Lipe I encourage you to go to his website (http://www.lipeguitars.com)
and prepare to be blown away by his history..... Is it any wonder that this guitar has left me spellbound? When you
order a guitar from Michael Lipe rest assured that you’re getting a true hand built guitar from a masterbuilder with
more credits and experience to his name than perhaps ten of the most popular builders put together. His is not a CNC
shop overrun with apprentices or aspirations of abandoning the build process in favor of someday cranking out as
many guitars as possible. Michael Lipe remains committed to putting his artistic and precise expertise into every single
guitar build. Perhaps this one of the reasons he is continually sought after by so many of the finest professional players
within the music industry. And I leave you with this, in most cases you'll spend a lot more money pursuing one of the
other guitars I mentioned earlier because they have so much more overhead to pay for. Michael Lipe's is not bound to
the astronomical budgetary constraints imposed upon the other giants in the industry. Consequently you get a lot more
guitar for your money!


T.D. Kashola - TX:

I just received my custom Mike Lipe electric on spec. and on schedule. This is my second Lipe guitar and it is flawless. Mike walks the walk, took in a billet of maple I sent him and sent me a killer guitar. He chose the
pickups for the H/S/S setup I asked for and they cover all the bases well. The finish is old school and perfect and the shade of the burst was exactly what I wanted. If you don't have one ........ oops ! "


Kmoraine:

I just bought a Lipe virtuoso (#18) off ebay. Without a doubt, it was the best purchase I've made in years. A guitar to last a lifetime. I can now sell 5 or 6 of my other guitars - all excellent guitars, but nowhere near the quality of Lipe. (Suhr standard, Fender Custom, Bolin custom, ErnieBall MM Axis Sport, Carvin custom) This guitar was built by Mike Lipe himself - comes with a signed certificate! Solid one-piece equatorial mahogany body, quarter-sawn maple/rosewood neck, amalfitano pickups, flame maple top - SICK! For the price, it can't be beat. I consider myself lucky to be able to own one of these beauties. My Precious!!! P.S. - One interesting feature of is that the guitar is strung slightly left of center, giving me less fretboard for the low E sting and more for the high E. At first I thought this strange, but after considering the builder and his expertise, figured there was a reason for this. It gives me more wiggle room up top when soloing. The high E never slips off the fretboard. Thoughtful and unique.


José_Luiz_Aquino:

What the...
I'm lost my words....
Simply incredible... I wish to have money to order a carve top right now...
Mike, I wish you only the best. Only blessed people can make something as beautiful as this guitar.
God bless you and your family!!
I don't know if I will have another chance soon to do another guitar with you, because money, but I will try for sure.
You're a great person and I'm showing your work to everyone here in Brazil.
Thank you for show me this peace of art.


Anestis:

I currently own two of the guitar seen on this video clip. Both are Prototypes. The first one is the one Michael Lipe shows on this clip refered to as the "Ivo" model. Is the one he holds on his hands from 3:20 through 4:20. Currently this is the only guitar I play. The second one is seen on the wall right behind them (it is the one with the cream color pick ups; a bridge humbucker and a neck single). At a neck height, is right behind the reporter. That one is a prototype as well. I have had at least 100 guitars over the last 20 years. Up until four months ago, I have had 20 guitars inside my closet. The Michael Lipe were basically the only ones I really enjoyed playing with. I will never sell these two prototypes; they are PRICELESS!!!! Lipe are the best guitars, period!!! Nothing like them.


Roger Reitzel:

I'm an former full time pro and current weekend warrior with a collection of the big name guitars, but ever since I bought it, I only play my Lipe for every gig. Stunning workmanship, beauty and sound. Handmade perfection.


Kevin Fent:

Sure do... Mike simply makes the best playing and looking guitars. His passion for them has in every phase of his hand made works of art.


Carlos:

I can say with confidence that this is truly the most amazing hand built guitar I have ever owned. Aside from the fact that it is a stunning aesthetic masterpiece with the potential to hypnotize anyone who dares stare at it for more than five seconds, it feels, plays, and sounds equally impressive. I've either owned or currently own Tom Anderson, Suhr, Grosh, PRS, Fender Custom Shop, Gibson, McInturff, Steinberger,...and the list goes on. While I hold many of these other guitars and their builders in high esteem, and would have great things to say about them as well my first experience with Lipe Guitars has truely been in class all by itself.


 


Overview of Lipe Guitars Models


Virtuoso
The Virtuoso is a slicker, sexier version of the classic double cutaway body shape, that pretty much represents the electric guitar for the past 50 years. The Virtuoso model offers unsurpassed balance, focused mid range and a classy look that best suits guitar players who refuse to be boxed into a specific category. Available in countless woods, pickups and hardware combinations, this model takes your concept of a dream guitar to another level where you will have the ultimate freedom of expression. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Classic Virtuoso, as the name suggests, is a vintage approach toward the Virtuoso double cutaway body style. It's a bigger, bolder, right to the point tone machine that can be customized from vintage to totally modern or anything in between, giving you a personal choice. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Soldato represents the classic single cut-away body style which is known for its fuller, bigger tone and its characteristic sonic properties. In Italian, Soldato means "soldier" and that's exactly what this guitar is--a trustworthy, reliable instrument for any professional musician performing either inside the studio or on the stage. This guitar has what it takes to bring your performances alive. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Twisted Soldato is a hip version of the Soldato model, carrying the same sonic characteristics but with a more aerodynamic twist to the shapes outline. The Twisted Soldato is the body style which is most often associated with Mike Lipe. This guitar was created for players who want to be different and need an instrument to reflect their personality. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Ivo model is the result of the collaboration between Mike Lipe and L.A. based guitar player Ivo Stan. After two years of heavy R&D work, countless changes and experiments, the Ivo model was ready. The main goal was to create a very versatile guitar which also had to retain logical simplicity to its design. Addition to the different body and headstock design the Ivo model implements a 25 inch scale length. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The El Capo is the newest Lipe model. Mike designed this back in the '80s and made a few pieces but put it on the back burner. The El Capo is made with three woods, without using any top woods. Equatorial mahogany, white limba (korina) and alder. The equatorial mahogany uses a quartersawn equatorial mahogany neck. The korina uses a quartersawn korina neck. For the alder body maple is used for the neck. This hand shaped body has a deeply carved belly cut and the top horn is shaped downward for style but most of all to see the top section of the neck freely. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Amico Nostro is a sexy guitar with curvy lines and shape. The Amico's beauty turns heads and while setting ears on fire with its wonderful tone. The Amico has a full rich sound with blanaced mids and bass. The Amico is all about personality in appearance and tone. Available in 6 String, 7 String, 8 String, and 6 String Fan Fret.


The Lupara bass line incorporates the same structural key features found in our guitar lines making the one of the finest hand made bass on the market today. The Lupara has wonderful tone, playability, and appearance. The Lupara L and LT models are in a league of their own. All models are available in 5 strings.

 

Copyrights Lipe Guitars 2013