I started playing bass in 1990 at the age of 14 and quickly became obsessed. Soon after that I decided my 4-string PBass copy wasn't cuttin' it and I wanted to get a 5-string. I didn't have any money so I asked my father to help out. Instead of buying a bass he suggested I build one...
I acquired the quintessential book "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" and set out to “build” my first bass. Luckily I had many good resources in the area to help me along the way. Furniture and banjo maker Richard Newman made a body blank for me and cut the neck pocket. The good people at Northfield Music helped me with electronics & setup as well as bass lessons... Ralph Ortiz taught me how to play bass. With some additional parts and tools I was on my way. It worked out and I was hooked, let's just say I did pretty well in high school shop class.
In 1994 I moved to Amherst, MA to study music at Hampshire College. While at Hampshire I was able to study acoustic bass at UMASS and jazz theory at Amherst College. I also had a chance to start learning about computers, multimedia and electronic music.
I left Hampshire in 1996 to attend the Roberto-Venn School Of Luthiery in Phoenix, AZ. Roberto-Venn was an excellent experience and I learned a great deal of useful skills from John Reuter and the instructors there that I still use to this day. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to pursue luthiery or broaden their knowledge of different methods used in this craft.
After completing R-V I returned to Rochester, NY and did repair work for Bernunzio Vintage Instruments. This was a truly great experience. Doing setup and repair work on vintage guitars, banjos and mandolins was an invaluable lesson.
Following that I went to Berklee College of Music in Boston to study bass performance. Berklee is crazy! So much talent, it's overwhelming. I had many great, weird and frightening experiences there that I’ll probably write about down the road.
While in Boston I briefly worked for Parker Guitars prep sanding bodies for finishing. It was there that I had my first experience with CNC machines, loading in neck and body blanks then pressing "go". Pretty cool stuff! A CNC router is definitely in my future...
In 1999 I left Boston and returned to Rochester. By this point I was getting serious about computers and digital audio recording. I wanted to pursue that further but needed to get a "real" job so I decided that tech support was the best option I had available. After gaining a few IT certifications I went to work for Frontier Communications supporting DSL in small areas around the country. There I learned a great deal about networks and studied web design between calls. After 3 years of posting outage messages and dealing with irate people on the phone I left to pursue something that was not confined to a headset and cubicle.
In 2003 I started working full time for my father’s real estate business Linc Management. They were in the middle of major renovation of a derelict 1920’s cold storage building in Ontario, NY. We completely gutted and divided the 70,000 sq. ft. space into affordable workshops for small industrial businesses. My work in this project enabled me to acquire space for a woodshop in L.O.I.C....
Beau Leopard Design or “BL Design” was started in 2005 as a part time venture. I began to acquire tools and develop skills in the hope to pursue bass-building and woodworking at a much more intense level than I had ever been able to before. I still work for Linc managing and maintaining several properties. The rest of my time is dedicated to developing BL Design, continuing research and playing bass.