The latest guitar model from Riversong Guitars was built using techniques patented by the local shop — and it bears a local name, too.
The Glennwood (with two "Ns") guitar was named after Glenwood (with one "N") Drive in Valleyview, where the home of Riversong Guitars owner Mike Miltimore also served as a guitar workshop.
Miltimore said the guitar uses a special aging process called torrefaction, in which the wood used to construct the guitar is repeatedly heated, dried out and rehumidified.
“They go from being this blond colour to a caramel colour and they smell amazing. The wood also becomes electrostatic and sticks to everything,” he said.
The wood processing for the latest model, done by a company in Quebec, turns B.C. Sitka spruce into something akin to driftwood. Miltimore said he chose the wood for its tonal qualities.
“It’s kind of like the perfect blend between mahogany and maple for sound,” he said.
The Glennwood, which retails for US$1,999 on the company’s website, also uses a patented construction design featuring what Miltimore calls a double reaction bridge.
“The bridge isn’t just glued to the top, it actually goes through the top and makes contact with the underside where all the bracing and the structure is,” he said.
That feature, Miltimore said, is unique to Riversong and patented.
The shop has fared well during the pandemic, especially in the early days, when most companies were cancelling supply orders due to the economic uncertainty of the situation. But Miltimore steamed ahead and kept producing guitars.
Riversong Guitars is currently out of some models, but more are set to arrive soon. Its custom shop is also backed up, but Miltimore considers that a good problem, showing strong demand.
Despite building through the pandemic, Miltimore said staffing has been a concern, with guitar-building talent hard to find.
But the shop’s guitars are still popping up across the world, landing in the hands of artists like Jim Cuddy, Trace Adkins, Eric Church and Paul McCartney.
Recently, Miltimore said spotted the guitar in the hands of comedian J.R. Guzman, who combines music and stand-up comedy and has been featured on Netflix, Comedy Central and NBC.
“He’s a pretty funny comedian and he’s playing our guitars. We’re hoping they’re going to be used on his Netflix special,” he said.
Riversong has also paired up with Priscilla Block, who exploded during the pandemic via social media platform TikTok, and is now a touring musician — sporting a custom blue sparkling Riversong Guitar on stage.