Dave Keeley grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where he was surrounded by old world craftsmanship, tradition, arts and music. Very early on, he was inspired to become a musician and luthier, a vocation that would enable him to weave together his passions for the guitar and for woodworking.
After a 9-year tour in the US Navy working as a Sonar Supervisor on submarines, Dave moved to Washington State in 1990. It is there that he met Buck Willhite of Hamadryad Harps, a master luthier who taught Dave his work method and coached him through the making of a guitar. Following this collaboration, Mr. Willhite asked him to become his assistant; Dave apprenticed for the next 5 years in the construction of over 250 gothic harps and 35 guitars.
Wanting to branch out on his own, Dave established his first shop in 1995 where he continued to study and hone his skills doing repair work and constructing different stringed instruments such as guitar, bass, mandolin, violin and dulcimer. In 2000, Dave moved his shop to Kettle Falls, Washington where he resides today.
Like many luthiers, Dave has spent years performing repair and restoration work. These experiences were invaluable in helping understand the complex variables involved with instrument construction and have influenced his work deeply. Dave constructs many instruments per year and continues to do repair and restoration work for local music stores and clients.
Dave lends his philosophy and appreciation to the Arts & Craft movement of the late 19th century. The Arts & Craft movement was a reaction against the industrial revolution where traditional craftsmanship used hand tools, simple shapes & forms, and romantic style decoration. He continually researches early construction methods and finishes. This approach allows him to focus on extremely specific variables, controlling them to complement the finished piece and the customer’s need for tonality and responsiveness. The result is a truly custom instrument.
Dave has been a long time member of the Guild of American Luthier's.