In the Beginning:
I moved from Wisconsin to California in 1985. I opened a custom cabinet shop in Brea, California, and our primary business was high-end custom furniture. I really enjoyed the challenge of making one-of-a-kind furniture, but never really forgot the guitar body I made years earlier. The beauty of its curves, not to mention that it actually played after it was assembled was astounding to me. Believe me, if I could have strung up a cabinet and played it, I would have!
A friend and I went to a café at the beach one day and I saw an awesome guitarist whose playing inspired me so much that I asked him if I could build him a guitar, and he agreed. From that day on, with the Lord at my side guiding me, my true calling in life began. Little did I know what I was getting into…
The depth and scope of what I was about to learn and experience is something only a devoted musician or guitar builder can truly understand. That’s pretty much the long and short of it. My love and interest came from the skill it took to create something as beautiful and powerful as a guitar. As a player, I believe that something as awesome as these instruments cannot be fully understood unless you also play.
The training I received was from the school of hard knocks. I bought every book available on guitars and I made thousands of dollars in mistakes. Our house was fueled in the winter by burning bodies and necks in our fireplace. Now that’s a sight to see! Needless to say, the term ‘starving musician’ took on a whole new meaning for me.
Who are my mentors… man, that’s a tough question. There are so many people that have had an impact on me. For starters, Leo Fender, although I never studied under him. The thing that really impacted me was an interview with his wife, Phyllis, where she was asked how Leo regarded musicians.
She answered: “He had such a high regard for musicians. He truly believed musicians were angels from God and that his job was to make instruments they could use because the world needed their music. He was so excited by life; the place he felt God had put him in, the talents that God had given him.
Now, if that’s not an inspiration, I don’t know what is. The beauty of that statement and, of course, the end product of his life are what drives me and other builders and musicians around the world.
Aside from my family and friends, another one of my many strong influences in my life was and is Trevor Wilkinson (Wilkinson Bridges). Trev and I met one day when I walked into his shop to buy a couple of guitar bridges, we befriended each other, and once again I was thrown into a learning process that really took me for a spin. There are so many intricacies involved in building a guitar that not even some of the most experienced players realize. Because of his patience and time, many of these intricacies were pointed out to me. I could never thank him enough, and he is truly one of the most talented men I have ever met.
I need to add that there are a few men in this industry that actually build guitars, not just assemble them. These craftsmen are at the core of what we do. Inspiration is not a problem — you either perform, or there is always someone that will take your place. The art of guitar building is ingrained in my being, there’s no turning back or starting over, and I will never know all there is to know, and that’s what drives me. No two days are alike.
My goal from day one was to continue to supply the musicians and builders with the finest workmanship, select handmade parts, and service available.
Bernie has 28 years of experience building and servicing guitars; B. Hefner Company manufactures guitars and guitar parts for many of the major manufacturers and small custom builders all
over the world.
|Guitar Alley is a state of the art Guitar Candy Store for you the descriminating player.
||We have more hardware on hand than any other music store around. We carry Seymour Duncan, Lindy Fralin, Lollar, Demarzio, EMG and many other lines of pickups. We have bodies and necks available for purchase or made to your specs.
|Look at our extensive woodworking shop, this is all for guitars; we are dedicated to our craft.
We are comitted to guitars players, all that they are and the beauty they create.......