Wes Lambe and Ben Maschal founded "Pre-war Guitars Co." with the idea of building a different kind of vintage-inspired dreadnought. One that has the sound, the feel, and the look to match. "To us it is simple. We love perfectly setup, adjustable, old sounding, and old/beat up looking guitars, and that's what we make."
At the age of 13, Wes Lambe took his first guitar, totally disassembled it, refinished it, replaced all the parts, and made it into a 14-stringer. From the very beginning, he was reverently holding the mold while simultaneously re-shaping it.
Power tools in high school shop class gave him more options, and after graduating, he began tinkering and tweaking--primarily with dreadnought guitars and mandolins-- on his kitchen table. He was constantly exploring and experimenting, and began to learn from books and local repair shops.
In 2000, he enrolled at the Summit School of Guitar Building in British Columbia. His abilities became very obvious when he ended up building 20 instruments (and helping out with many others); the typical student would build four during the course study.
By 2001--with the help of a small loan--he had his own repair shed and tools, and continued to build. At this juncture, it still wasn't a job, but a passionate hobby. That finally changed in 2003, when he simultaneously became the repairman for two local area music stores.
Around the mid 2000s, endless hours of repairing, restoring and building led his restless spirit to new frontiers of design. He became widely known for his his unusual seven and eight-stringed fanned-fret guitars, baritone acoustics, and tenor guitars. During this time Lambe also began building custom instruments for Moog Music. Wes built all of the Moog Custom Shop guitars and Lapsteels. Among his hundreds of customers: David Crosby, Pat Metheny, Charlie Hunter, Sean Lennon, Trent Reznor, Mike League, and Nels Cline.
Ben got hooked on the sound of acoustic instruments when he went to his first Merlefest at 13. As a teenager, he sought out vintage instruments by roaming the vendor tents at bluegrass festivals and lurking the message boards at MandolinCafe and the list-serv CoMando.
Inspired by the collectors and luthiers he met, including Olin Davis, Clermon Ward, Harry West, and Tom Isenhour, Ben moved to Arizona to attend the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in 2001. After graduation, Ben moved back to his hometown of Charlotte and ran a guitar repair business, building custom instruments in a garage shop at home. He also honed his woodworking skills building high end cabinetry (and occasionally pizza) to pay the bills.
In 2010, he moved to Siler City to join the North Carolina Arts Incubator and resume life as a full-time luthier. After a chance encounter at the local coffee shop with international mandolin master and vintage instrument guru Tony Williamson, Ben went to work full time at Mandolin Central, affording him his first real opportunity to deeply study the finest vintage instruments on the planet.
In 2014, the luthierie stars aligned, and he moved to Durham, joining forces with Wes Lambe. Ben lives in Chapel Hill with his wife Marianne, and their two boys.
Pre-War Guitars came about because of their mutual deep passion for the magical tone of 1930s-era acoustic guitars. Although they had trod varying paths in building and repair, they soon discovered they shared a penchant for meticulous examination and documentation of these classic instruments. The next logical step was to bring this accumulated knowledge to bear on the luthier's bench. The result are one-of-a-kind handmade guitars with a sound, look, and playability like no other.