By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
Handcrafted, unique electric guitars are coming to the Ely Art Bank as part of an exhibit that will open to the public on Saturday.
Taking an average four working days to make, Tara Klaas and Loren Luke have been building one-of-a-kind electric guitars for 12 years now, and they are each going to be for sale.
“We have a lot of fun,” Klaas said. “We have a really good time building things together. Our mission statement is to build handcrafted, affordable, great sounding and great playing guitars.”
Six guitars will be on display as part of the exhibit. They range in price from $600 up to $900 for a guitar Klaas calls the “Mystic Palm,” which features a palm tree design on the body.
“We don’t do production line guitars,” she said. “For the past 12 years we’ve done some research and development, building test guitars and prototypes until we narrowed down to four body styles for the electric guitars.”
The design of the guitars comes down to more than just the way it looks. Klaas said a lot of attention is paid to the build of the guitar, where they often use “exotic” woods like mahogany and that’s just the start.
“As far as the pickups go, the electronics ensemble, we build those into each guitar to reflect different music genres and taste,” Klaas said. “Incorporating accents like 24 carat gold leaf, turquoise, opal and sometimes metallic or pearlescent paint to personalize each guitar.”
While the custom nature of each instrument might be unlike regular guitars, many budding rock stars know a good guitar comes down to feel. Thankfully, Klaas said the exhibit will provide an amplifier and let people put the instruments through their paces.
After having built guitars as a side project to her regular work in construction and realty, Klaas said her partnership with Luke also allows the duo to repair or restring guitars for those in need.