Mike Miltimore spent nearly 20 years repairing guitar after guitar with tension problems at Lee’s Music, his family’s Kamloops music business. Growing tired of seeing guitars warping, breaking and snapping, Miltimore began working on a new type of acoustic guitar design.
“It just seemed like (the acoustic guitars) were built wrong,” says Miltimore. “We built 30 guitars or so before we actually came up with something.”
The design for his Riversong Guitars, which Miltimore has filed a worldwide patent for, has the potential to change the way acoustic guitars are made and marketed.
“It’s a pretty big deal what we’ve done here,” says Miltimore. “We have the first marketable and innovative new idea for acoustic guitars since the acoustic guitar was actually (created).”
The result of the unique design is a guitar that has a stronger structure and a deeper, richer sound.
“Our guitars (have a) very even volume and tone from string to string, they’ve got a deeper resonance,” explains Miltimore.
Finalized in April, 2012, Miltimore credits the design to the help of his father, who has over 40 years experience repairing guitars.
“A lot of the design was born out of drawings that I had done but I always ran it by dad, I would say dad was an integral part of design and build of the guitar.”
Miltimore and Riversong Guitars recently donated a Traditional Series guitar to the Sun Peaks Firefighters’ Charity Gala live auction. The guitar sold for over $1,000.
“It’s probably the guitar we’re most proud of and our most popular selling guitar,” he said.
Miltimore said that Riversong Guitars donated the guitar because of his close relationship with the Sun Peaks community.
“I personally have had a very long relationship with Sun Peaks, going way back to . . . 1995. I started working with the Sun Peaks Resort Corporation doing concerts, New Year’s Eve festivities. My bands (Bustin Boards and Crossover Mike) have played at many Firefighters’ Galas,” says Miltimore.
“Riversong guitars is just an avenue that I can help out the good work that the firefighters are doing up there,” said Miltimore.
It’s been a big 12 months for Miltimore, who recently won second prize in the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) 2012 Entrepreneurial awards.
“The (second place prize) has really opened a lot of doors for us. We built a guitar for retiring lieutenant-governor Steven Point (and) the Premier’s office actually phoned us and ordered a guitar,” beamed Miltimore.
And it’s looking like Miltimore and Riversong Guitars will continue to strike a chord going into the future.
“We’ve got some really exciting things on the horizon. And we’re building all (the guitars) here too. It’s good for Canadians.”
Super-exciting things if you consider that Paul McCartney, one of music’s biggest legends may be strumming a Riversong guitar in the near future. Miltimore recently attended the former Beatles frontman’s Vancouver concert and arranged to send McCartney a custom Riversong guitar.
For more information visit: riversongguitars.com