The "Legendary" Lou Mancuso
The Original "Father" Luthier of the Woodstock area
Lou Mancuso has been building guitars, mandolins, and violins in his Shokan, New York workshop since the 1960's. He was born and raised in the Bronx by his parents who were Italian immigrants. He became interested in making guitars in his late teens. He visited junk shops, purchased beat up instruments and took them apart to learn their structure. He also visited legendary guitar maker, John D'Angelico in his New York City workshop asking questions and learning by watching the master craftsman at work. World War II would put a hold on Mancuso's interest in building guitars. While a sergeant in the Army he was stationed in India. After the war he was trained at Bulova as a watchmaker, gaining experience in precision work. Many years later he found work at IBM in Kingston as a toolmaker, during which he developed a keen sense of dimension. With the knowledge from D'Angelico, reading books about guitar making, taking guitars apart, and using his work experience, Mancuso was finally ready to begin building his first guitar. After 45 years, Lou Mancuso estimates that he has built approximately 300 stringed instruments.
In addition to making musical instruments, he also repairs and customizes them. Over the years, many famous musicians have found their way to Mancuso's basement workshop, including Bob Dylan, members of The Band, and even the late great Jimmy Hendrix paid a visit one day for a repair on his guitar.
Now, 93 years old, Lou Mancuso can still be found tinkering with instruments in his basement workshop at the home he shares with his wife of 64 years.