Custom guitars and speakers by Ian Schneller combine sculpture and sound.
Custom guitars and speakers by Ian Schneller combine sculpture and sound.
July 25

Alum's Handmade Instruments Draw Rock Star Clientele

Chicago Grid blogger Kyle Peterson profiled SAIC alumnus Ian Schneller (MFA 1986) and his booming Humboldt Park-based audiophile business, Specimen Products, on July 22. Schneller made a name for himself crafting handmade custom guitars and amplifiers after receiving his MFA in sculpture. His passion for music and design quickly expanded into a thriving business operation consisting of service and repairs, custom instruments and amps, a line of audiophile speakers, and the Chicago School of Guitar Making. Today, Schneller maintains an impressive client list that includes Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird, and Jack White. His custom creations were displayed in the 2011 exhibition Sonic Arboretum at the MCA. “I’m not a very good businessman. I’m an artist and a designer and a craftsman,” Schneller says. “If I hadn’t been able to delude myself that this is somehow going to work, at certain times, it wouldn’t have remained productive.”