David in workshop

David Schwab has been playing bass and guitar since 1969. Always curious, he soon began taking them apart! In the early 70's he began working on friends' guitars, adding pickup phase switches and rewiring them for more tonal options. In 1974 he designed and built an electric solid-body nylon string guitar, quite ahead of the introduction of the Gibson Chet Atkins Series. Followed by an 8-string bass (the Manta Ray) and a lucite bodied electric guitar. Always trying new ideas, he heavily modified his instruments, changing hardware, rewinding pickups and adding onboard electronics.

In the 80's he worked for American Showster Guitars, makers of the infamous AS-57 Tail Fin Guitar, modeled off the tail fin of a 1957 Chevy Belair. He redesigned many aspects of this guitar, adding features such as rear adjustable pickups (the original had nonadjustable pickups) and changing the tail lamp circuit to a solid state LED for long life. While at Showster he made guitars for such players as Robbin Crosby and Billy Gibbons. Shortly before leaving Showster, he initiated the Stealth series of guitars, that would eventually be made by Kramer.


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In the 90's his search for the perfect bass led him to design and build his own. Using that design as a starting point, he formed SGD Lutherie with John Gagliano, whom he met at Showster. Working in the same old factory space formally occupied by Guild Guitars, in Hoboken, NJ, he designed a number of instruments, ranging from the Scorpio series of basses, to the Alchemy guitar. During this time John worked with Ned Steinberger building the prototypes of the NS Doublebass.

The new millennium brings a new chapter to SGD Lutherie. SGD has returned, first with custom wound bass pickups, and soon with exciting new models, including a bolt-on bass series, as well as exciting new guitars.

SGD Table at ASIA

The SGD table at the 1995 ASIA Symposium