Robert & Orville Milburn, USA
Orville and Robert Milburn are a father-and-son luthier team who live in a small town in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon. About their work they write the following:

We began building guitars in 1989 simply as an interesting and challenging father-and-son project. Bob was a pharmacist by profession and Orville a retired building inspector. Orville brought years of woodworking experience as well as his years spent as a piano technician during the 1970's to our luthiery work. Orville had played classical guitar for most of his life and passed on the love of the instrument to Bob.

During the first years we built a small number of guitars, keeping the first and selling the others. Orville was friends with a number of guitar teachers at the time. It seemed that as soon a guitar was finished there was someone there who wanted to buy it. We didn't make a lot of money, but it showed us that there was value in the work we were doing.

Till that time, we patterned our guitars after instruments we could examine or borrow. We bought or borrowed every book on classical luthiery we could find (the Internet as we know it now did not yet exist). It soon became apparent, however, that working in isolation would be an amazingly slow process. As a result, we sought out Jeffrey Elliott and Cyndy Burton for instruction and consultation. We also formed a friendship with John Gilbert and other luthiers who were close by.

It was through Jeff Elliott that we came to love the Hauser style instrument. It was an easy decision to move in this direction with our own instruments. To us, Hauser style instruments have a clarity, balance and almost magical quality that we strive for in our guitars.

In 2007 our growing friendship with luthier Gernot Wagner gave us some new direction. Gernot had become willing to share his double top knowledge with us. In short, his methods are designed to increase the volume, projection and presence of the instrument while retaining traditional sound quality. At this time we had come to believe that nature could not provide wood that was optimal for making a guitar top - that is, wood that is both light enough and stiff enough. Double top technology allows the luthier to enhance what nature has provided.

To us, luthiery is an interesting balance of art, craft and science. We don't believe that any one simple, formulaic method is very useful, but we do believe scientific methods are the key to repeatable, successful instruments. Careful observation can lead to the development of a hypothesis. Well-designed experiments can then be used to test an hypothesis. And the results of these experiments can be incorporated into new instruments. In this context we don't look at any one instrument as an end-point but rather a point along a continuous path of learning and refinement.
Robert & Orville Milburn