The Present Day Bay State Guitar


Management Directors

Master Luthier & Guitar Designer

A little over a hundred years after the death of Bay State's founder, John C. Haynes (see history), Sylvan Wells moved to the bay state of Massachusetts. Because of his intense interest in instruments made around the turn of the last century, and knowing the history of one of the earliest premier brands of acoustic instruments made in Massachusetts, he decided to resurrect the quality and traditions of the once proud mark. Today Bay State instruments are manufactured in the old ways - each one at a time, for those who appreciate the quality, tone and playability of the instruments of that era and beyond. And, most importantly, all Bay State instruments are hand made in the U.S.A.!

Sylvan has been building musical instruments since 1977. His custom work is superb! For a thorough viewing of all of Sylvan's extremely diverse instrument work and his courses on teaching guitar see his original web site at

Sylvan has been an active member of the Guild of American Luthiers since 1977 and an active member of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans since 1989. He served on the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans Board of Directors from 2000-2004 and served as Membership Chairman and Treasurer 2003-2004. He is currently the legal advisor for the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. He has been published in Guitarmaker (Nos. 17, 29, 41, 42, 45, 49, 81, 86, 87, 88 and 97), the official publication of the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans. His article on String Spacing for Guitars was published by the Guild of American Luthiers way back in 1978. In addition, he has taught and participated as a panelist in discussions on various guitar subjects at the Association of Stringed Instrument Artisans' Symposiums in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015.

Creative Director


Rich Lipscher is the Creative Director of Bay State Guitars. He is responsible for the bridge designs, pearl inlay patterns and pickguard designs, engravings and etchings. Hand drawings or very rough sketches are given to Rich who translates the very rough drawings into computer files. These files generate tool paths and instruct a router to cut, very precisely in wood, plastic and pearl, the original hand drawings. He also is a tremendous help in lending his creative talents to new products.

His initial training was in ceramics and sculpture at Penn State University.  His design talents are an integral and invaluable part of the Bay State team.



This web site is designed and maintained by Bay State personnel via its' high speed internet connection. This website originally went online in March, 2008.

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