About Keith MacMillan

Keith has been working full-time as a luthier in Hamilton since 1987, and was building occasional instruments for himself a decade earlier. (Unless, of course, we count the guitar made of 3-ply and fishing line made as a six-year-old or the trumpet made out of a coil of copper pipe a few years later.)

The serious stuff began when a guitar which hung on a nail with string fell down and broke, and the decision to learn how to repair it was made. In 1987, after a few years of repairing instruments for the local music shops and building a mandolin, Keith made the decision to leave Waikato Museum to work on musical instruments full-time.

The range of instruments worked on quickly grew as did the complexity of the work undertaken. Fellow luthiers Noel Sweetman and his father Ian provided the necessary advice to begin work on the instruments of violin family, and a large collection of books has supplied much of the remaining knowledge.

Keith has played in various bands throughout this time, having in earlier years played bass and then drums in several Hamilton rock bands. Since 1987, bands have included the bluegrass band Mystery Creek Bluegrass Co., western swing band Bob Jones and the Bad Investments, later the Ranchsliders; the Rotorua
band Mosstroopers, and since 1997 the Celtic band ReelMen. Keith played various instruments in these lineups, but his main weapon of choice has been and remains the mandolin.


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