I, for one, have never considered how a guitar is made. Obviously, I’m vaguely aware that wood and strings and probably some sort of bending are involved. However, I can honestly say, even during the brief times that I’ve dabbled with playing one, I’ve never taken a moment to consider how the guitar came to be.
That changed when the City of Gold Coast invited me to talk with Aaron Fenech – the local Gold Coast mastermind behind the custom made Fenech Guitars. I realised building each guitar is not only super scientific but also almost a spiritual process. At the very least, for Aaron’s business, it’s a deeply personal one.
His unique knowledge areas make him especially well-positioned to create a top-notch guitar. Straight out of high school he took up carpentry, later heading back to uni to study science and graduating to work for 12 years in a corporate career. Add to that the fact he’s been a musician most of his life, is currently a singer-songwriter in local Goldie band, The Maslows, and has always loved building things. This is a man you can trust to know his way around quality guitars.
For me, a total newb, listening to Aaron describe the process of making his guitars gave the instrument real soul. From sourcing high-quality, sustainable timbers, to the changing sounds of a finished product as it gets played more and more.
All his wood is sourced from sustainable companies who show you where the trees have come from on a GPS map so you know what you’re getting. From there, each guitar is as handmade as it can be, with each one being carefully created to produce the best sound possible.
Now, here’s the part that blew my mind – and I swear I’m not even a giant hippie: Aaron tells me that each guitar comes into its own sound as it gets played. Yes, a new guitar learns it’s sound.
“This wonderful thing happens – it’s that magic moment when you put strings on it. For about 10 minutes they still think they’re a tree and they go through this transition.”
“Now there’s all this force happening so they go through a full spectrum of sounds. They’ll sound really sparkly for a moment, then really bright or really basey, then they just kind of figure themselves out and the tone changes.”
“This happens on every guitar. I look forward to that the most.”
So in a nutshell, he makes guitars that are better for the planet, better for the quality of sound and, frankly, better for a final product that’s pretty as hell IMO.
“I just want to focus on absolute quality. Our guitars are not the cheapest but we have no trouble selling them because people can hear and see the quality,” says Aaron. “Most people who own one of my guitars own two or three”.
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A real pleasure and honour to make another guitar for @kylelionhart as he embarks on his “Too Young” national tour! For Kyles second guitar he has gone with one of our Fenech D-78 VT series models with Blackwood back and sides and his custom artist logo on the headstock. We are thrilled to be working with Kyle and he is part of our family of endorsed artists. If you haven’t purchased a copy of his album yet jump on over to his page and go grab one…….. #kylelionhart #tooyoung #newguitar #australianmade @blackwoodtimbers
“I met Amy through the local music scene,” Aaron recalls. “The Gold Coast is a pretty small place. We crossed paths about three or four years before she got one of my guitars”.
“We reconnected again when Fenech Guitars were looking for brand ambassadors and Amy is a great fit. We got together and hung out in the workshop, playing some music together. She’s a very petite woman so we fitted her up with a guitar that was narrower in places so she could get around it – that guitar did the world. It was a really organic process like it is with any of the artists we work with.”
“For me, yes I’m a business but it’s about that connection through music. At the end of the day, you can provide a guitar at cost price or whatever, but if the artist doesn’t like the guitar there’s no point.”
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Oh, by the way, he’s also sold a guitar to Cate Blanchett and met the entire cast of Thor when their end of filming party spilled over to the very cool space that is Fenech Guitars. Apparently Chris Hemsworth has to eat damn near constantly to keep up that superhero bod – a fun tidbit for you. So, uh, yeah, it’s a pretty cool gig Aaron has going here.
“I kick myself every day I get to open my doors and do what I do.”
Wanna know more about the arts, culture and live music happening on the Goldie? Head over here.Image: Instagram / @fenechguitars