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I'm a semi-finalist in a contest to win a new CX-5 from Mazda Canada. They asked for submissions that demonstrate "defying convention" in creating works of creativity, achievement or impact on society. For the first round, i submitted a photo of one of my guitars, and it got voted into the second round of the contest! Now i need as much support as possible to make it into the final judging round, so your votes are much appreciated.
Some of you may know a bit of my backstory, but for those who don't, here's a quick summary of how i got to where i am today:
When i first started playing guitar, i got into it as many teenage boys do, reading guitar magazines, keeping up to date on my favourite bands and guitarists, learning whatever i could. It didn't take me long to realize that i was far more interested in learning about the gear guitarists were using than i was about becoming a better player.
When i was 17, i built my first guitar… and loved it. But i was already on a path to university and a career in architecture, industrial design or graphic design. (I eventually attended York University and got a Fine Arts degree with a specialization in Communication Design, graduating with top honours.) That, combined with no access to a shop, meant my dream of building more guitars would have to wait.
Over the next 20 years, i read everything i could get my hands on and talked to whomever was willing share their knowledge… all while working my "day job" as a graphic designer. Fortunately, the Internet is full of fantastic resources, amateur and semi-pro builders, and many experienced luthiers who so kindly share their processes, their knowledge and their experience. In many ways, it was a 21st century apprenticeship of sorts.
As i voraciously consumed all this research, i continued to apply my design knowledge and experience toward refining designs i started dreaming up back in high school. The guitars you see on my site (Decibel Guitars
and Decibel Guitars | Facebook
) truly are the product of 20+ year process of design and research & development.
In that R&D phase, i made a commitment to re-thinking and re-evaluating every aspect of guitar building, rather than merely re-hashing designs from the 1940s and 1950s. Don't get me wrong… i have tremendous respect for guys like Leo Fender who designed tremendously innovative instruments that have become true cultural icons. But a lot has changed and evolved in 60+ years, so embracing new methods, materials and technologies has become a cornerstone of my design philosophy for Decibel Guitars.
Everything from the ergonomics of the body shape, to the way the neck is attached, to the way the frets are installed, has been re-evaluated and re-engineered. Many of the changes are subtle and not even visible to the player, but they all make a difference in making a state-of-the-art, high-performance guitar.
I will freely admit that i still have a TON to learn, and my skills are continuing to improve. But i will continue to Defy Convention every step of the way. I've got a head full of ideas i can't wait to explore! Decibel Guitars still isn't a full-time venture, but i already have a waiting list, and i'm building as fast as i can while still working as a designer.
Winning the CX-5 would mean a great deal. It would give me a lot more room to carry tools, wood and guitars, and the money saved on replacing my current vehicle will go into acquiring more shop equipment that will help propel my dream further forward.
I think my guitars Defy Convention, and reflect the spirit of innovation and unconventional thinking that has defined Mazda's success since its beginning.
If you agree, please vote for my entry in Mazda Canada's "Defy Convention" contest, and share my story and this link with your friends. I need as many votes as possible by May 20 in order to qualify for the final round of judging.
Thanks for your support!
darren w. - Defy Convention