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Hagerstown resident makes guitars for musicians

July 26, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

Andrew Lechowicz said he needed an electric guitar, but didn't want to buy one that was mass produced in a factory.

So the 18-year-old Hagerstown resident came up with an innovative plan - he built his own from scratch.

"If I was going to pay, it might as well be customized," Lechowicz said. "(Manufacturers) don't worry about what will be best for the consumer."

Lechowicz said he recently decided to use his new-found skills to start making guitars for other musicians.

"They'll all be very good guitars," he said. "I can guarantee that right now."

Lechowicz said he already received an order from Chris Lowe of Chambersburg, Pa., to build a custom guitar that resembles a Danelectro Longhorn.

A Longhorn has a huge cutaway on the body that resembles cattle horns.

Lowe intends to use the instrument to record music and play in bands, he said.

The guitars will sell for about $900 each, but the price could increase if the customer wants a special design or orders a rare or expensive wood, Lechowicz said.

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Lechowicz does most of the work in his parents' garage, which has been converted into a workshop full of tools that he purchased using savings from his job at McDonald's, he said.

Lechowicz said he buys blocks of wood from a local lumber shop, then uses a band saw to craft the guitar bodies.

After that's done, Lechowicz said he fastens on a prefabricated neck and rosewood fretboard.

Lechowicz said he used a Gibson bridge and control knobs to make his first guitar, and modeled the double-cutaway body after a Fender Stratocaster.

The guitar produces several kinds of sounds, ranging from surf to heavy metal.

Lechowicz said the first guitar took about a year to finish because he was a student at St. Maria Goretti High School and couldn't commit his undivided attention to the project.

Lechowicz started playing the guitar when he was 6, and plans to study music education this fall at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W.Va., he said.

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