About Portland Guitar




Portland guitar has been operating for 15 years, since 2005, with shop and showroom in a southwest Portland house. Over 100 guitars have been made in that time with around 70 custom orders and the rest built on speculation. From young to old, around one to two people every year are taught how to make guitars.

For Jay Dickinson departure from the tech world of H.P. was imminent, he had saved enough money to retire comfortably in his Southwest Portland house, but the mind does not settle easily. A lifetime of woodworking, a love of guitars, and a little stress inspired Jay to make his first guitar. For a mechanical engineer, the mistakes present in the first one was not acceptable, and another was made. Soon he approached his guitar playing coworkers for interested clients and he was in business.  

Witnessing the transaction of money, Marianne Dickinson could not sit still. Her experience as a cost accountant and financial analyst spurred her to handle the finances of Jay’s endeavors.  

A Professional failure analyst and lab manager, he brought this mentality to the guitar making world.  Dedicated to making a product that spurns the corporate ethos of planned obsolescence. Jay sold his Jaguar sports car and converted his garage into a professional woodworking shop. He labored away building his new lab and perfecting his build process. Many innovations and improvements blossomed over time, creating two patented inventions and a system of adjustments that tailors the feeling of the guitar to the player

Max Dickinson grew up watching his dad build guitars through the years and witnessing the happy customers left a lasting impression on what focus and passion can accomplish. His interest in science and math led him to pursue a bachelors in those fields. Max saw the commitment to making a better guitar and was inspired to join Jay on his journey.

Stronger together, in the last two years all the sales, marketing and customer outreach were shifted to Max, allowing Jay to focus solely on building guitars. His innovations have flowered. A new art style with cutting edge techniques and two more patent pending inventions were created in this time. The future will bring more guitars and an effort to spread out roots in the Portland community.





Jay the guitar luthier and Max

Jay's Work History:

Building guitars full time since 2005
Wood working experience since 1960
Playing guitar since 1973

Education: BS in Physics, MS in Mechanical Engineering

Professional Experience: Basic Research, Reliability Physics, Failure Analysis, Reliability Engineering, and Acoustic Engineering, Program Management, Laboratory Management.


My background includes a bachelor's degree in physics, a master's degree in mechanical engineering, more that twenty-five years in corporate physics and engineering positions, plus a lifetime of woodworking experience and artistic craftsmanship. During the first twenty-five years of my professional career I worked on a range of programs including basic research in charged particle beam propagation (ray guns) at The Stanford Research Institute and the development and management of a reliability physics laboratory and an engineering acoustics laboratory at Hewlett-Packard. After leaving the high-tech corporate environment I started building guitars full time. As a largely self taught luthier I have built a fully outfitted shop capable of executing all of the functions and procedures necessary to build the highest quality instruments possible. I possess a passion and dedication to the pursuit of perfection and for delivering functional art that surpasses customer expectations and results in true customer delight.


Jay the head luthier fondles his guitar