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News 2015-07-09

Start! About a boy and a guitar

An electric guitar made in Szczecin can be ordered from Łukasz Krupa who manufactures and repairs these instruments. His company - Bouwer Custom Guitars - has been on the market for a year. 

Łukasz Krupa, owner of Bouwer Custom Guitars   /fot.: AK / Łukasz Krupa, owner of Bouwer Custom Guitars /fot.: AK /
Łukasz Krupa’s workshop is located at Chmielewskiego street in Off Marina and so far, four guitars have been made there to individual orders.  Now the violin-maker is working on his pioneer ergonomic guitar project.
 
"The shape of this guitar fits the body. In this way the hands of the guitar player are relieved of the weight”, he explains.  The guitar he made most recently was decorated with the theme of Szczecin port cranes. Currently Łukasz Krupa is also making a fourteen-string guitar - he likes such orders most. “I would not be very happy to make copies of instruments, because anyone can make them”, he says.
 
However, the most serious obstacle is that guitar players generally want guitars made by well-known brands.
“I believe that my only option is to get through to them on the grapevine , and it is beginning to work”, he notes. Many of his orders (approx. 40 per cent) concern repairs and renovation of guitars.   He also takes on old furniture and window renovation jobs (he used to work in a carpenter’s shop). “I have a feeling that Bouwer Custom Guitars is finally moving in the right direction.  I often hear that the initial period is most difficult and one needs to ride out the storm. This is when the customer base is being built”, he says.
 
Łukasz Krupa is searching for customers through social media, he also advertises his services in leaflets to be found in music stores. An online store embedded in his website will be launched soon.
 
His interest in guitar making has sprung from playing that instrument.
“I have been playing the guitar for 10 years. I have learned to regulate it, because I believe that each guitar player needs to be able to do that. I have been repairing and regulating guitars for my friends for years”, he adds. 
 
The first guitar that he made was decorated with the motif of an Indian head – he built it together with his girlfriend, Marta Graczyk, seven years ago. Marta still helps him with his work.
 
“Marta was in the secondary school of fine arts and was required to prepare a diploma project. I jokingly remarked that she should make a guitar.  The idea amused her and she started making preparations. However, it turned out to be harder than it had seemed at first, so I helped her”, he recollects.  “I had been musing over the thought of making my own instrument for some time and the situation forced me to take an action”, he adds.  He gained the required knowledge from the Internet and a friend violin-maker.  It turned out that he had a capacity for both tuning and making guitars.  “The guitar that we made together then proved to be a very good instrument - many guitar players praised it. I think it might be our best guitar so far”, he concludes.
 
Five years ago a man trading in second-hand guitars asked for his help. Łukasz Krupa saw it as a sign that stimulated him to work hard and tie his professional career with guitar making. “The trader was looking for someone who would mend guitars for him. He gave me an instrument for complete renovation.  The guitar was in a state of disrepair and it took me a lot of time to restore it to a good shape.   When it was ready I felt as if I made it from scratch.  It turned out very well", he says.  It later transpired that the trader was testing him.  Łukasz Krupa passed with flying colours and they started cooperating on a regular basis.  
 
Certain drawbacks occurred however as soon as he thought of taking up guitar making as a business. How to obtain funds for professional workshop equipment? – he began to wonder.  It all worked out though thanks to a EU subsidy. “I prepared the business plan without anyone’s help. I said to myself: if the commission approves the project, it means that my ideas are well thought out, and I will manage”. He received PLN 40 thousand which he subsequently invested in machines, tools, materials and refurbishment of the workshop at Chmielewskiego street.   Łukasz Krupa was granted an additional amount of bridging financial support for the start-up year which he was allowed to spend on various fixed charges.  
 
When asked about his plans for the future, he says: “We are planning to extend the scope of our activities to include classical instruments, such as violins, cellos and double basses. They are much more difficult to make, but considering that have managed to build an electric guitar, I believe I should give it a try.” 
 
AK
 
Tags: startup (62) | Łukasz Krupa (2) | Bouwer Custom Guitars (2) | violin maker (1) | handmade guitars (1) |
utworzono : 2015-07-09 16:42
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