Several William R. Cumpiano instruments were recently on display at the  Objects for Use: Handmade by Design exhibit at the American Crafts Museum on West 53rd Street in New York City. .

Below are several views of the instruments, the actual display of the Cumpiano instruments in the museum, and the text which appears on the graphic panel beside the exhibit.


Flamed broadleaf maple/ Brazilian rosewood Venezuelan Cuatro (13" scale).
Owner: Edwin Vargas of Hartford, Connecticut

Graphite/Curly Koa Wedge Jazz Classic

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14-fret nylon-string "Wedge" guitar. Compression-molded carbon fiber soundboard. Back, sides, neck, body and fingerboard binding, headstock veneer and bridge all cut from the same plank of flamed Koa wood.

Made for the exhibit by William Cumpiano upon request by curator.




Here are the instruments on the museum walls, the text of the wall graphic is included below.

 Display graphic and text:

William R. Cumpiano, musical instrument maker  Northampton, Massachusetts

William Cumpiano's objective is to make fine instruments that reflect his love of music and respect for professional musicians. Upon his graduation from high school in Puerto Rico, his mother encouraged him to become an engineer rather than pursue his interest in art, which she considered a less stable career. One year in engineering school confirmed his lack of interest, and Cumpiano transferred to the industrial design department at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. After earning his degree in 1969, he joined the prestigious design division of Knoll International. He still felt that something was missing in his life, however, and he developed an interest in the Spanish guitar, which he taught himself to play. Wanting to learn how to make an instrument, he took an evening course with Michael Gurian, then one of the few professional guitar makers working in New York. When Gurian subsequently opened a guitar factory in New Hampshire, Cumpiano quickly accepted an offer to work there, although it meant leaving a lucrative design career for a minimum-
wage job. Under the influence of Michael Millard, a shop foreman, Cumpiano cultivated the enthusiasm and skills to become a fine instrument maker. In 1974 he opened his own guitar-making and repair studio. Since then he has made more than two hundred instruments for musicians in the United States and the Caribbean; Arlo Guthrie and Michael Lorimer are among his customers. In 1993 Cumpiano received a patent for a compression-molded, carbon-fiber composite soundboard, and now produces a limited edition employing his invention. In the early 1990 he developed the Puerto Rican Cuatro Project to research and document the history of native instruments of his birthplace. The collected data now
serves as an international resource, which he considers a gift to the Puerto Rican people.