Meet Johanna and Curtis, the Luthiers!

Oriskany Guitars is a partnership between luthiers Curtis Rockwell and Johanna Mutti. Located in the rolling hills of central Pennsylvania, Curtis and Johanna can build as many as 12 guitars annually, building them three at a time. 

Instead of building "his and hers" guitars, Curtis and Johanna work collaboratively on each instrument. Both of them are involved in all elements of design and construction with little specialization of labors.  The luthiers use their own experiences as guitarists to pay particular attention to playability and the interaction between the player and the instrument.  They combine simple, elegant designs with carefully picked tonewoods and an attention to ergonomics and playing styles. 

In addition to building guitars, Curtis and Johanna will take on basic instrument repairs (set up work, pick up installations, fret work, crack repairs, etc.) and offer a small selection of strings and accessories for sale. Anyone interested in visiting the shop is welcome, but by appointment only please.

You can reach us by e-mail at luthiers@oriskanyguitars.com or call (814) 643-3588 with any questions you might have about our guitars, to set up an appointment to visit the shop, or for directions. You can e-mail Johanna (johanna@oriskanyguitars.com) or Curtis (curtis@oriskanyguitars.com) individually as well.

About our company

Curtis left a career in professional geology to pursue his life-long interest in instrument building.  He attended the Roberto-Venn School of Lutherie, earning his degree in Lutherie in 2000.  Curtis spent a year apprenticing as an instrument repair technician at Canyon Music Woodworks before returning to Huntingdon, Pennsylvania to establish his own business. After significant modifications, the old chicken coop on the family property was converted into a climate controlled workspace to house the guitar production.  Tools and supplies were procured and in 2002 the first instruments were completed. Over the summer and between semesters in college, Johanna joined Curtis to build her first guitar and assist with the construction of additional instruments.  When she graduated in 2004, Johanna joined Curtis as a full business partner and luthier at Oriskany Stringed Instruments, LLC. 

Oriskany Stringed Instruments has displayed at the Newport Guitar Festival in 2006 and 2008 to much acclaim, the Healdsburg Guitar Festival in 2007 and the Montreal Guitar Festival in 2008 and 2009.

Both Curtis and Johanna are members of the Guild of American Luthiers and the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans.

Oriskany: The story behind the name

Prior to attending Roberto-Venn, Curtis worked as a professional geologist. Anyone with an appreciations for rocks and geology will know that rock formations have names. The bedrock under the ridge were the shop is located in a hard ridge forming fossiliferous sandstone known as Oriskany Sandstone (pronounced oh-RISK-uh-nee). Names are usually based on the place where that rock was first described (the type locality), and in this case that place was Oriskany, NY. Further along the ridge, just miles from Huntingdon, the Oriskany Sandstone is quarried. Sand from that quarry was used to make the lenses for the Hubble space telescope.

Our clients say it best

"After playing several of your guitars, I think it's obvious that 'playability' is more than just something you put in your ad copy.”
-Bob L., Model A Brazilian / Adirondack

“I am really pleased with this instrument and feel very fortunate to have come to a time in my life when I can connect with such a fine instrument. The best part is that an instrument of this caliber has really inspired me to improve as a player.”
-David S., Model C Honduran / Adirondack

“There really are no words to express the gratitude I have for the work you two have done.  I cannot believe how beautiful my guitar is, from every possible consideration: aesthetically and sound wise.  And of course she plays like a dream.  But you both know all of this, having been there every step of the way! We’ve done some recording with her, too, and she sounds fabulous in that setting too.”
-Lauryn S., Model B all Mahogany
"I continue to be amazed/impressed with the tone and I realize it will only get better. All of the tone ranges from different fret positions are rich and full. The playability is soooo fine. I can play things on this guitar that were a struggle on others. I do realize that the short scale may have something to do with that, however I do not think that is the whole story. I hope your wonderful instruments continue to be recognized for their true worth."
-Bob D., Model B Indian / Cedar
“Love the guitar. I'm amazed at how far it has pushed my playing already. It also records well. I'm very happy, thanks you. If anyone asks about the ergonomic features, tell them to contact me. Everyone who plays it says, 'Why isn't this standard on all guitars?' Holding this guitar was described by a friend as 'Transparent'. It's amazing how much mental energy a person puts into adjusting how much pressure one allows to bear down on that edge. After holding her for hours then holding any other guitar it is so obvious that the rollover is the most comfortable.”
-Skip J., Model A Ergonomic Koa / Cedar


7951 Oriskany Lane
Huntingdon, PA. 16652
(814) 643-3588

last updated 3/29/2014
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