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Laine’s Column

David Narayan, who has attended Academy since fifth grade, told me about his hobby of building guitars. He built his first guitar in eighth grade to get a better understanding of this instrument. Since then, he has built about one guitar every summer.  

Q: How did you learn how to build guitars?

David: I learned to build guitars mostly through trial and error (as well as many youtube videos), and I’m still working on perfecting my technique. Through every project, I’ve made various mistakes which have taught me new things about which techniques and products to use to get a good result. I built my first guitar for my eigth grade Project Discover, with some help from Mr. Martin. I built another guitar in Mr. Mena’s eight grade art class, which was once on display in the art gallery and is actually still in his room.

Q: How long does the complete building process usually take?

David: Generally, a build can take anywhere from 2-6 months, depending on how ambitious I’m being and what starting materials I’m working with. For example, I may spend a much longer time assembling a guitar out of various individual parts rather than making modifications to an existing guitar.

Q: Do you play any other instruments besides guitar?

David: I’ve played the drums for 12 years, and they are my primary instrument. I also play bass guitar, double bass, and a little bit of trombone. 

Q: When you do guitar performances, do you use a guitar that you built?

David: I do like to use the guitars I’ve built to perform, because they are light and easy to play yet quite sturdy. However, when I record music, I prefer to use my nicer branded guitars for good tone quality.

Q: Do you sell the guitars you have built to others?

David: I have sold a few guitars to friends on commision, and oftentimes I do minor repairs and modifications for others as well. 

Q: Do you see yourself continuing to build guitars frequently in the future? 

David: I hope that I’m able to continue building guitars in my future, and I’m looking into finding part time work at a guitar shop in order to continue this passion. It is definitely something that is very important to me in expressing my creativity.


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