Jim’s knowledge of Lloyd Loar style instruments is vast. In 1986 he was hired by Gibson Guitar to build F-5L mandolins. His love and dedication to the mandolin took him on a quest to find the creative soul of the early Gibson mandolins. Over the years Triggs has blueprinted 30 Lloyd Loar signed F-5’s. “When you’ve been in a room with nine Loar F-5’s at one time, you kind of get the idea of what they were trying to accomplish back then,”Triggs says. Triggs acknowledges his focus of Lloyd Loar carved instruments helped develop the philosophies he later used in revamping Gibson’s archtop guitar line in the early 90’s. Triggs left Gibson in March of 1992. In the summer of ‘92 he completed an F-5 mandolin for Sam Bush. The mandolin was styled after Sam’s mid-30’s Gibson. This mandolin was the prototype instrument for what has become today’s Sam Bush model Gibson.
Through the 90’s Jim made nearly 350 instruments on his own. All of them guitars and many for notable artists and studio musicians. Jim and his family left Nashville after living there for 12 years. A move “home” in 1998 was also a move back to the mandolin. When you’ve built mandolins for artists like Sam Bush, Doyle Lawson, Janice Gill, Byron Berline, Joe Carr, Josh Pinkham, Chris Hillman, Bobby Clark, Roland White, and Wayne Benson, it’s kind of hard to stay away from that history.
Jim Triggs started building instruments over 25 years ago. Prior to working for Gibson in 1986, Triggs, who was a respected mandolin builder in the Midwest and on the West coast, had already built between 130-150 mandolins. Jim was hired at Gibson to work in their world famous custom shop.
His first duties included getting their F-5 mandolins back to their 1920’s specifications. Jim’s other responsibilities at Gibson included supervising the custom shop and running their Nashville artist relations department. During his last tenure at Gibson Jim spent his time overseeing the arch top guitar line.
In his six years at Gibson, Jim worked on over 20 art instruments and signed the labels of over 700 guitars and mandolins.
Jim left Gibson in the spring of 1992 to build guitars on his own. Jim’s vast knowledge of various instruments led him on a path to become a “one man custom shop”. He also has a reputation for making guitars for a who’s who of artists in the music industry.
Jim’s son Ryan has been working in the shop along side his dad for over seven years now.