When Luthiers International recommended Damon Mailand to Benedetto for our first Savannah hire in 2006, the endorsement was so strong that we couldn’t help but question its sincerity. To our delight, we found who is perhaps the next generation’s greatest guitar maker! Damon worked side-by-side with Bob, eventually taking over Bob’s own workbench and inheriting his personal chisels.
Today Damon carries on the greatest traditions established by Benedetto and has personally built the instruments of both Bob Benedetto and President Howard Paul. Read more about Damon Mailand.
Lawrence “Larry” Perkins has worked as Benedetto’s Master Finisher since 2011, where he supervises all aspects of the Finishing Department. Born in Paw Paw, Michigan. Larry has studied music for most his life, beginning as a trombonist, and performing his first club gig at the age of 13. While studying music composition and arrangement at Western Michigan University, Larry began doing small repairs and guitar setup for friends. He was hired in 1996 by Heritage Guitars where he quickly moved into the finishing department due to his passion for the instrument and his attention to detail. A year later, he was supervising the department. During his ten years at Heritage, Larry did finish work on 7,804 instruments, including for Kenny Burrell, Roy Clark, Steve Howe, Gary Pucket, John Sebatian, Niki Fox, Charlie Daniels, Frankie Ballard, and Alvin Lee.
Larry has been a club musician throughout his 41-year career, performing in the Chicago-Detroit corridor, resort towns along Lake Michigan, and even a six-month stint at a blues club in Singapore. His acts over the years have opened for such blues luminaries as: Buddy Guy, Johnny Lang, Chris Duarte, The Kinsey Report, Rare Earth, The Guess Who, Shannon Kurfman, Hubert Sumlin, and Gatemouth Brown. He’s Benedetto’s “Resident Blues Guy,” but we let him work here anyway!
His impressive repertoire of instruments include all brass, stand-up bass, electric bass, C-plectrum banjo, and of course, guitar.
Rick Cervone, Final Assembly Luthier
Rick Cervone joined Benedetto in 2007, moving from his small hometown of Oberlin, Ohio. He studied with Brian Galloup, graduating from his Masters Class. He is an integral part of the final assembly department, a very detailed and precise area to work within. Guitars come to Rick from finishing and buffing, and he then builds them out – putting on hardware and wiring, polishing the fretboards, installing strings, and all other manners of set-up. When the guitars leave final assembly, they are ready for our artists and customers to play and enjoy!
Rick’s greatest musical influence comes from The Beatles. “When I first heard them, that was it for me. My parents got me a guitar and I never looked back,” says Rick. He also plays piano and enjoys songwriting and recording as a hobby.
Rick has four grown children: Melissa, Greg, Allison, and Andrea.
Kaleb Fitting, Luthier & Finisher
Luthier Kaleb Fitting, from Plainview, Minnesota, joined Benedetto Guitars in 2012. While in Minnesota, he embarked on a two-year technical degree program at Minnesota State College Southeast Technical, which emphasized electric, acoustic, and archtop guitar construction and repair. He left Red Wing with diplomas in Guitar Building & Repair and Guitar Development & Production. Kaleb spent an additional year studying wood finishing at the National Institute of Wood Finishing at DCTC in Rosemount, MN where he was fortunate enough to study with Mitch Kohanek, who in 1978 masterminded the college’s wood finishing program. Kaleb graduated DCTC with a hard earned Wood Finishing Technology Diploma.
Upon joining Benedetto, Kaleb was entrusted by Bob Benedetto with the company’s CNC program, and began assisting in the white wood department. He also works in the finishing department working alongside Master Finisher Larry Perkins.
In Kaleb’s spare time he enjoys playing acoustic guitar and working in his own shop space where he builds a limited number of Fitting Guitars each year.
Phillip “Phil” Archibald joined Benedetto in September 2012. From Manhattan Beach, California, Phil took his studies on the road to Big Rapids, Michigan where he studied at the Galoup School of Lutherie. Upon graduation, Phil was hired to work at Ellsberry Archtop Guitars where he honed all his skills of guitarmaking. At Benedetto, Phil is responsible for all aspects of our professional series guitars, and works on the Flagship carved guitars – specifically binding soundholes and bodies, and doing the final preparation before they go to finishing.
Phil’s passion for guitars extends beyond their construction, alone – he also likes to play guitar and bass in his spare time. Phil is married to his wonderful wife Victoria, and they have a son, Greyson.
Luthier Colin Samek, from Iowa City, Iowa, is one of our most recent additions at Benedetto Guitars, joining us in May 2015. Prior to joining our team in Savannah, Georgia, Colin studied for two years at Southeast Tech in Red Wing, Minnesota with David Vincent, Steve Rossow and Brian Boedigheimer. Before his formal education, he began working on guitars as a hobbyist under the guidance of his good friend, Jordan Wagner. Colin’s initial inspirations to build instruments were Hans Reichel and Yuri Landmann before he turned his focus to guitarmaking, specifically.
At Benedetto, Colin is responsible for CNC operation and other rough milling, as well as buffing the finished guitars. Over the years, he has played and toured with multiple bands and projects, most notably SSP, Big Box, and Gilt Gambrel.
Colin lives in Savannah with his wife Paige and their dog, Cotton Candy.