A Face in the Crowd 

GREG KROCHMAN, luthier, The Classic Ax

How long have you been repairing guitars? Forty years. I got my start working in my mom and dad's music store in Tampa, Fla.

What skills do you need for your business? Patience and the willingness to overcome problems.

Do you play yourself? I'm a reed player and a drummer.

No guitar? I play guitar but wouldn't consider myself a guitar player. I moved here in 1982 with a band. One thing led to another and I haven't played much music since.

What are some common problems with instruments that could be avoided? Well, guitars get dry in the winter because people forget about how dry their home gets when the heat's on. Climate changes cause the most problems. I could go on and on. Guitars need moisture.

People seem to put a lot of value on older guitars. Are guitars made better now than before? The guitars made by the boutique builders are better. Most are made with a modern manufacturing process that tend to make more guitars the same. I don't know if I consider that better. I guess it depends on how you look at it. It certainly makes for a guitar with less personality.

Do you have a favorite guitar player? Not really. I listen to a lot of jazz—Russ Freeman would be among my favorites.

Any tips on purchasing a guitar? Buy the one that sounds and plays the best to you. There's not a formula; everyone plays different. It's like shoes—if they fit and feel good, those are the shoes for you.

Know a Face in the Crowd? Email Eric England at facencrowd@comcast.net.

—Eric England

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