During 1970-1972, I attended graduate school at The Institute of Animal Behavior at Rutgers University. I was working on a Ph.D in Psychobiology and doing research on the hormones that affect maternal behavior in mammals. I was pretty miserable in grad school and was obsessed with becoming a guitar builder. I spent a year writing letters to guitar makers all over the world trying to find one who would take me on as an apprentice....all to no avail. So in June of 1972, I quit school and took a job as a guitar salesman at Rondo Music in Union New Jersey. They were carrying some handmade acoustics by Augustino LoPrinzi, who was based in Rosemont, New Jersey. I arranged to visit him and told him that if I could implant an electrode in the hypothalamus of a rat's brain, I thought I could build a guitar! He had no clue what I was talking about, but he offered me a job at $65.00 a week (Gurian Guitars also offered me a job at $35 and that was with working in Manhattan!).
I worked with Augie for almost two years, making acoustic guitars. It was two of the most wonderful years of my life. Living in the country, building guitars, playing guitar.......I could not have been happier!
I love Augie very much. He relocated to Clearwater Florida many years ago and works with his daughter Donna making guitars and ukeleles. He is basically retired from Augustino Guitars and Donna continues to run the business. Being the Renaissance Man that he is, his newest business is custom engraving: www.LoPrinziandSmith.com.
Here is a photo of us around 1974.