This site is dedicated to my Papa, Salvatore DiSalvo, my deepest thanks and love.
Frank was born in August 1949, and his interest in guitar started very young. By the time he was three years old he had his first ukulele, singing his favorite songs. He also showed talent for drawing at a very early age. Around seven years of age, his grandfather, Salvatore DiSalvo, started teaching him woodworking.
Growing up in San Jose, California, Frank spent many hours at his grandfather’s house being mentored in the workshop, learning woodworking skills and becoming confident with all the tools.
In 1962, Frank’s family moved to Santa Cruz, California, where he entered junior high school. Two things became evident. Frank showed a talent as a young artist and an excellent woodworker. When he graduated Branciforte Junior High, he was given departmental honors in art.
This was the first time that the award was given at this school.
Upon entering Soquel High School he quickly impressed his teachers in the Woodshop and the Art Department. Soon he was given free reign in both departments to do whatever he wanted to do, creating works that far surpassed the other students’. Frank was often given outside projects to do by his teachers. He designed many posters for dances during the 60’s (see original Santa Cruz Poster Art by Frank DiSalvo). He won many contests including designing the letterhead and envelope for the Santa Cruz governmental center. He also designed a patch for the Santa Cruz Youth Symphony and won contests for painting Christmas windows.
In 1965, the Beatles hit the scene, and like many other young guys, Frank was smitten by the guitar bug. He started playing and you could not pry the guitar out of his hands. It rapidly became deeply attached to who he was.
In 1966, he walked in to his High School Woodshop and saw his teacher (Bob Gassaway) making a banjo. Frank said, “That looks like fun. Have you ever made a guitar?” Bob said, “No.” Frank said, “I’d like to make one.” Bob said, “Go get one so we can measure it and we’ll make one!” (What a great teacher!) That was the beginning.
Frank’s first guitar was a solid black walnut – S.G. 12 string electric with one chrome P-90 pickup at the neck. It was heavy and the neck was rather square. Frank thought, “I’d better make another one so I could improve.” He did and kept on building.
His grandfather, Sal, got to see Frank’s third guitar before he passed away. He was very proud.
Frank graduated in 1968 with departmental honors in Art. He went on to get his Bachelor’s Degree in Art with a Music minor. He opened his first guitar shop in Santa Cruz in 1972 – “The Guitar Works.” To this day he has owned five guitar stores and built over 100 custom guitars.
Being an artist, special and unique designs are very important to Frank when crafting his instruments. As you can tell by looking at some of his creations, they stand out distinctively in aesthetics, balance and dynamics. Frank has many designs in his sketch book that have not been produced yet, all very exceptional and different.
Keep your eyes on this Luthier for being a trend setter!