Pensacola, Florida
Friday December 19th 2014

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Local Guitar Luthiers at DeLuna

by Sarah McCartan

“It’s like cocaine. Have you ever seen an advertisement for it? No. It always sells; everyone knows where to get it. If you have a good enough product people will come.” To the tune of standup comedian Doug Stanhope, owner of Electrical Guitar Company Kevin Burkett sums up his company, while discounting all the rules of business every marketer learns in school.

When you hear six-month waiting line, generally the thought is, ‘thanks, but no thanks.’ However, that is far from reality for EGC when it comes to the demand for their product, custom, built-to-order aluminum guitars. At a time when many companies are struggling to break even, Burkett is swamped with emails.

Since 2003, Burkett has been expanding the production of his instruments. He is now up to nearly 600 guitars, many having gone to well known acts including Shellac, The Melvins, Mogwai, Mastadon, Metallica, Isis, Jack’s Mannequin and The Jesus Lizard just to name a few.

The best part about the business, aside from it being a dream come true for Burkett, is that everyone approaches him.

“It’s kind of the redneck network — someone who knows a guy that knows a guy that knows a guy. And it’s neat, too, because whenever people do call they are really interested,” Burkett shares. “I don’t sell anything. I can’t. My salesmanship is: if you want it, then fucking take it.”

Electrical Guitar Company will be making an appearance at DeLuna Fest this year, providing a custom bass for Scott Shriner of Weezer. The guitar that just last week was one of several necks hanging in waiting along the wall of EGC’s warehouse workspace, will be completed and presented to Shriner at the festival where it will be making its debut on the main stage.

Once again in this case, as far as initial contact goes, Shriner reached out to Burkett through an email. Weezer had previously played several shows with Jack’s Mannequin who EGC made a guitar for. “Scott also said he saw Torch and the Melvins” assistant and friend Alex Steward comments.

Burkett employed Steward last year to assist and serve as a second pair of hands due to the boom in demand. Initially Burkett was shipping out five or six finished guitars a month and now as a tag team they can churn out the same number in a week. Adding one more player to their team, along with the addition of a new machine that is on the way, will allow them to be able to produce every single piece in-house, start to finish, and carve off a bit of the waiting list in the process.

Burkett keeps setting goals, achieving his goals, setting new goals and then surpassing those goals.

“No matter what level it gets to, it’s cool,” he said, “but there’s nothing cooler than being the first to plug it in and play it.”

All the work that goes into a guitar and then seeing that it works. It’s the feeling, Burkett explains, that was there originally. It’s the feeling that he looks forward to. “The money makes it all work, but what I love is building guitars that are pretty much indestructible and will far out last me,” the craftsman said. {in}