Steve Olson

Steve Olson was born in Alma, Michigan just weeks after the Rolling Stones finalized their original lineup on June 29th, 1962. After seeing the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show, Steve began nagging his parents for a guitar. His dream came true when he turned eight and began taking lessons with several local teachers. Playing the trumpet in concert and marching band led to the opportunity to play guitar in the jazz band. Continuing this path into high school, Steve was able to travel to Ohio and Canada with the band for school exchange tours, and got a feel for the life of a touring musician. He was hooked. Working for the local music store as a stock boy furthered his interest in the music industry, and allowed him access to the latest gear available. Fascinated by the different equipment, and the sound possibilities, he began to study about the interactions between the players and their gear choices. He soon realized that  setup choices could have a huge effect on the playability and tone of the instrument. Graduating from stock boy to sales, he soon began doing minor setups for local and touring musicians. An article in Guitar Player magazine about the Roberto-Venn School of luthiery proved to be very timely. Steve persuaded his parents to enroll him in the next class, and he moved to Tempe, Arizona and started classes at the school in Phoenix in 1981. He was instructed by John Roberts and William Eaton in acoustic construction, and by Bob Venn and Steve Gilmore in electric construction, and completed one electric solid body and one acoustic 12 string. 

Steve returned to Michigan after graduating from the course and worked a series of odd jobs while doing repair work in his parents basement. He found that he preferred doing repair to building, and realized that he needed more instruction to get better at repair. Guitar Player magazine was the source of another article on Michigan repair legend Dan Erlewine, who was announcing the start of a repair course in Big Rapids, Michigan. Dan eventually agreed to take Steve as a student. This meant working in close proximity to both Dan and Bryan Galloup in a small shop. Dan offered Steve an opportunity to stay and work for him after the course ended, and Steve stayed in the upstairs apartment in Dan’s house. He continued to hone his skills during the day, and played in the band with Bryan 4-5 nights a week. Dan accepted a position with the Stewart-MacDonald company after meeting with them at the Chicago NAMM show in 1985. This meant relocating to Athens, Ohio (where he is still employed today), and closing the repair shop. Steve worked with Bryan Galloup briefly before Dan called with a job offer from Jackson Guitars in Ontario, California. Steve accepted the offer to supervise final assembly and do warranty repair for Jackson, and relocated to Rancho Cucamonga in early 1986. Excited to be working for a company with a reputation for high quality, Steve applied himself while trying to absorb as much as possible. After many personnel changes, Steve began looking for other employment. This was discovered by management, and he was terminated. Three days later, Steve started on the final assembly line at Fender Musical Instruments. A much better fit, he did final assembly and setup of hundreds of instruments. Filling in for one of the ladies that did minor repairs to new instruments while she was away on maternity leave, Steve proved that he had some advanced skills. An internal posting for a position in the newly formed Custom Shop led to Steve being hired by John Page for final assembly and setup. Getting to work with John Page and Michael Stevens was a real dream come true. 

While in the Custom Shop, Steve built many HLE Stratocasters and many 40th Anniversary Telecasters, as well as basses for Duff McKagen, and Stratocasters for his hero Pete Townshend. Deciding to return to Michigan, Steve contacted Elderly Instruments, and TJ Thompson offered Steve an interview for a position in the repair department. The interview went well, and he got the job. Working for a music store that specialized in acoustic instruments, and acoustic instrument repairs, proved to be somewhat of a challenge since his arms were much too big to fit inside most guitars. Steve soon began to take on all resophonic guitars since no one else in the shop liked to work on them. He was able to work inside the instruments due to the removable cones, and he soon became the go to guy. Struggling to amplify resonators led to trying all available pickup systems, with unsatisfactory results. Steve developed the Conetone Electric Biscuit as a way to satisfy his customers needs for an accurate reproduction of the sound of vintage National resohonic guitars when amplified. He began doing his own research and development testing versions in his 1932 National Triolian with his band Zydecrunch. Finally arriving at an accurate sound, he realized that the metal guitars allowed for more reflective feedback than he cared for. Going back to the drawing board, Steve designed a chambered two piece body construction that would protect the cone from high sound pressure levels during live performance while still capturing the authentic sound of the amplified cone. Many prototypes later, with the help of old friend Bryan Galloup, the Conetone Guitars Reso-Volt was born. Offering the feel of a solid body guitar with the acoustic tone of a resophonic guitar, the Electric Biscuit is combinable with an internal humbucking Mudslider steel bladed pickup by Scott “Stretch” Reinsmith of Stretchwinder Pickups for accurate acoustic and electric sounds in one guitar. The end result is a comfortable, durable instrument well suited for many styles including finger style blues,slide, etc. We welcome you to experience this remarkable instrument for yourself. You be the judge!