A BRIEF HISTORY
After starting out repairing guitars in the renowned Matt Umanov Guitar Shop on New York’s Bleecker Street, Fano Guitars founder Dennis Fano decided to set up his own guitar repair shop in the slightly less known town of Fleetwood, Pennsylvania in 2001.
The guitar shop started modifying jazz bass guitars but soon acquired a reputation for building boutique guitars. With a keen eye for detail and sound, Dennis soon launched a hugely successful range of guitars which we know today as the ‘Alt de facto’.
Dennis built up Fano Guitars with a focus on quality craftsmanship and materials, helping players looking for a unique, playable guitar that they could personalise. This in turn brought in some high profile customers, such as Johnny Marr (The Smiths), Walter Becker (Steely Dan) and Andy Partridge (XTC), who found that Fano helped them to explore their musical creativity with a bespoke instrument. This resulted in the Fano company/Dennis becoming one of the most talked about luthiers in the world.
Never one to rest on his laurels, in 2009 Dennis chose to sell the business to the Premier Builders Guild (PBG) and the manufacturing for the brand was moved to Arroyo Grande, California. Dennis left PBG in 2014.
Although successful, without Dennis himself to drive the designs and builds, PBG were unsure as to the future of the brand within their guild and ultimately decided to sell Fano Guitars at the end of 2016 to Desert Son Musical instruments, a manufacturing consultancy business owned by Jack Schwarz, an ex-Fender Musical Instruments employee and guitar builder Graham Dowling.
The partnership moved the business to Phoenix, Arizona in 2017. Making changes to the brand during 2020 including the introduction of the ‘Oltre’ range (to replace the original ‘Standard’ range), and the Omnis Series in 2020. Schwarz retired from the business in 2022.
Today, the business is run by Graham Dowling whom leads the build team from our facility in Phoenix, Arizona, alongside his business partner, ex-UK music and media executive, Neil Reed. Their joint focus is to continue to produce and build high quality, US made guitars with the same attention to detail and quality that helped to create the iconic brand many years earlier.