Weber Fine Acoustic Instruments' origins trace back to Flatiron Mandolin and Banjo Company in Bozeman, Montana. Several partners started the company around 1987. Flatiron was soon purchased by Gibson Guitars. The "Montana era" of Gibson/Flatiron is remembered for consistent, high quality traditional eight-stringed instruments.
In 1996, Gibson decided to move Gibson mandolin production to Nashville. Bruce Weber, the general manager and head luthier of the Gibson Mandolin Division decided he and his family would not relocate to Nashville. Instead, Bruce founded Sound to Earth, Ltd. to pursue his vision of traditional instrument building and to remain in Montana.
In March of 1997, Bruce Weber, Joe Schneider, Bob McMurray, Steve Birch and Paula Lewis created the Sound to Earth shop in Bruce's barn, excited to build traditional acoustic instruments their way. They were soon joined by Helen Beausoleil and Vern Brekke and others who had worked with them over the years.
In 1998, with orders coming in and an expanding line of mandolin family instruments, Bruce moved the shop into a larger building in Belgrade, Montana. It was a time of enormous creativity, and around 20 different models of mandolins were created, as well as mandolas, octave mandolins, and mandocellos. These models cover the range of traditional eight-string instrument design.
In 2004, the Weber shop moved to the old Logan school which is located 25 miles west of Bozeman. The spacious school building, built in 1922, had big windows, wood floors and the Gallatin River right across the road. With the extra space came new acoustic instruments. Bruce designed and built his Archtop and Shallow Carved Guitars introduced in 2005, and a line of resonator guitars in 2007.
Over time, Weber mandolins, mandolas, octave mandolins, and mandocellos, earned a reputation for being among the finest traditional eight-stringed acoustic instruments being made.
Bruce Weber and Two Old Hippies owner, Tom Bedell met in 2011, and it was clear they were kindred spirits. They shared a passion for building extraordinary instruments and a similar philosophy in how they respected and cared for their teams.
In 2012, Weber officially joined the Two Old Hippies family. Bruce Weber continued to oversee instrument development and the build processes - continuing as the patriarch of all Weber instruments. In March 2013 Weber craftspeople were relocated from Logan, Montana to Bend, Oregon to build Weber instruments under Bruce's guidance. At the time Bruce commented about the transition, "Our ability to create amazing and unique instruments has expanded incredibly with the capabilities of Tom's new facility and the resources that are now available to us. I’m honored to be included in Toms dream and admire his dedication to assembling a great team in a great location to build awesome acoustic instruments."
Bruce decided to retire in March 2016. Thankfully, he left behind a skilled group of craftsmen that continue to advance Weber instrument sound, finish, and design. Breakthroughs in deflection analysis and sound engineering, new dovetail neck joints on premium models, and a significantly enhanced finishing process are resulting in the best playing, sounding and looking Weber instruments ever!