The legacy of outstanding craftsmanship begun by J.W. Gallagher in 1965 will continue with new ownership, a lead luthier from Gallagher and the same level of quality control and hand-crafted excellence. The company was acquired from the Gallagher family in September 2019 by David Mathis. The shop has been moved to 118 N. Walnut St in Murfreesboro, TN, to bring Gallagher Guitars into greater public presence, Mathis said. Plans also call for adding retail space and a performance venue at a nearby location.
“I learned my first guitar chords on a Gallagher from a man who had a 1967 Gallagher G-50,” he said. “When I heard the company had closed its doors, I started thinking about what could be done to keep it going.”
Mathis approached Stephen Gallagher who had become the third generation of the Gallagher family to head the operation after his father, Don Gallagher, retired. Those discussions led to Mathis purchasing the company with the support of Don and Stephen. The transfer of assets includes all the patterns, molds, and machines that have been used to produce some of the finest acoustic guitars made in America over the last 55 years. Some of the jigs and equipment pieces still used today were originally made by J.W. Gallagher.
“Continuity is important,” Mathis said. “We’ve got all the same molds. We will be making the same models and we plan to have some stock models for inventory in the retail shop. So many people love their Gallagher guitars and the Gallagher family. We understand the responsibility of the stewardship of Gallagher and intend to honor that legacy.”
“From the very beginning it has been a team effort,” said Don Gallagher, who worked alongside his father until J.W. Gallagher passed away. “My dad always had folks working in the shop who shared his standards and played a significant role in the process. We have helped David locate many of the people who worked with us over the years. It means a great deal to me that the business is continuing.”
“We are already repairing and building guitars even as we are finishing the remodeling for the new shop,” said Mathis. The shop is located at 118 N. Walnut St. in Murfreesboro, TN.
And the first guitar to be built in the new shop? “We are already building a Doc Watson model, of course,” Mathis said. Buyers have the option to individualize and custom order their guitar.
They are also launching the Gallagher Unplugged music venue to help promote Gallagher and provide a place for Gallagher owners to come and jam. It will also house their showroom, merchandise and schedule for shop tours.