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Alistair Kleebauer, Senior reporter
Saturday, February 2, 2013
The guitars strummed on stage by your favourite band could one day be hand-built in a Woodford Green workshop if two friends’ business success continues.
If you’re a fan of British rock group You Me At Six or American pop punk band Four Year Strong, you will already have seen the handiwork of PJD Guitars.
For the past two years, Leigh Dovey and business partner Ben Flower, both 26, have been handcrafting electric guitars and basses and pitting themselves against the giants of Fender and Gibson from their workshop in Ewanrigg Terrace.
Leigh said: “We wanted to do something a little bit different.
“Most of the big companies are off-the-peg, mass-produced. We wanted to add a little bit of a personal touch to the guitars.”
As a part-time sound engineer, Leigh has always played guitars and from watching his father, Phillip John Dovey, in action as a propmaker for the Royal Opera House, he picked up the necessary technical skills without realising it.
Sadly, Phillip died five years ago at the age of 58 but his legacy included the workshop in which Leigh and Ben build the instruments. In turn, they named the company after him.
Leigh admitted that he and Ben, who has a background designing architectural models, found it difficult at first to get anyone to pay attention to their handiwork, including standard guitars from £550 to customs starting at £1,000.
Working with Four Year Strong though on two hollow-body guitars with maple necks and fretboards “helped us out” said Leigh, and after crafting a bass for Matt Barnes in You Me At Six, the company will work with the British band again in the next couple of months.
They “brainstorm” ideas with customers and say the “sky’s the limit” on what they can do.
• Visit www.pjdguitars.co.uk for information.