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Hascal Haile


Hascal Haile

Monroe County, Kentucky native Hascal "Hack" Haile (1906-1986) began making guitars professionally after retiring from furniture making in the late 1960s.  A lifelong musician, he made guitars for classical artists and country musicians alike.  By the time of his death, Haile was considered to be among the world's top makers of custom guitars.

Haile--with the aid of his wife, Ravenel--constructed his guitars in his basement workshop, which housed several kinds of precision equipment Haile designed for use in making guitars.  Many of his woodworking adaptations and techniques were quite remarkable, and successfully reduced the time for the more tedious tasks of guitar making.

His most famous client was Chet Atkins, and it was Haile who made Atkins' prototype for the solidbody classical model (with piezo pickup) that Gibson introduced as the Chet Atkins CE model in 1981.  Haile also made guitars for Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings, and Bobby Goldsboro.  Customers of Haile received personal letters handwritten by the luthier himself, often describing the proper steps in taking care of the guitar.

Haile received national attention when in 1980 the Smithsonian Institution accepted one of his guitars for its Hall of Musical Instruments and President Jimmy Carter received him at the White House.  He was also one of the featured master craftsmen at the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.