Haywire Custom Guitars

If you’ve been playing guitar for any length of time, you get to the point where you’ve played your guitar enough to generate some significant wear and tear on it, and few of us are capable of working on our own instruments. If you’re like me, you’ve tried… and then taken your guitar to a luthier to have it worked on. Both to fix the original problem, and the problems you introduced when you took matters into your own hands!

Over the years here on the Central Coast, I’ve taken my guitars to all of the local guys. Unfortunately, I have never found a go-to guy within reasonable driving distance. Every time I have tried a local shop, my instrument is either no better than it was, or it’s worse than before I took it in. This may be what’s keeping the Guitar Centers and Sweetwaters of the world in business selling new guitars.

And speaking of new guitars, the last guitar I bought from a music store was setup really poorly, and worse – it wasn’t grounded correctly at the factory and hummed and buzzed something awful unless I was holding it a certain way. Frustrating, no?

When I decided to put my music studio back together 5 years ago, I decided to buy a new guitar to get myself off on the right foot. I spent a while looking online for a custom instrument, and long story short, stumbled upon Haywire Custom Guitars. The owner, Rick Mariner, was super helpful, super friendly and super patient with me as I asked him dozens of questions. I decided to buy a custom Stratocaster from him, because he was teaching me so much about how a guitar should be setup... I knew he got it. What’s more, I live in a very small town on the Central Coast of California named Lompoc (pronounced Lom-poke). There are people who live within 60 miles of here who have never heard of it! Rick asked me where I was, and I told him “a small town in central California… you’ve never heard of it”. He said, “try me”. Turns out he had lived here for 10 years! Small world.

So, I ordered the Strat, and when I received it I was stunned at how perfectly it was setup. Action? Perfect. Electronics? Silent. Intonation? Spot-on. I’d never played such a perfectly setup guitar, yet alone owned one. Stoked!

So after playing it for a few months, I decided to have him restore my ’77 Gibson Les Paul Custom. I was a little hesitant, because I’m adding round-trip shipping from Lompoc California to Myrtle Beach South Carolina and the Les Paul weighs a TON, but I figured there was no possible way I could get his quality workmanship locally. Well, once again, the results were nothing short of stunning. The Gibson was setup even more perfectly than the Strat! His work was very reasonable which made the shipping cost easier to swallow.

I sent him the Strat to work on after beating it up for the next 3 years – same deal.

Finally, I have an '87 Charvel Model 6 that I always loved playing, but even brand new it was improperly grounded (which I cured with an ugly external wire) and that had loose hardware in the tremolo that made the G/B/E strings sound like a sitar when I played it. But the straw that broke the camel’s back was that I broke it out to tune it about a month ago, and the string claw snapped off. Off to Rick it went!

Well, I received it back a week ago. It’s the most perfect guitar I’ve ever played – and after the Strat and Gibson, that’s saying something.

So listen, do yourself a favor. The next time you need your guitar worked on for any reason whatsoever, look up Rick at Haywire Custom Guitars and send it to him. You’ll be glad you did!

© 2020 by Howie Sound Productions.

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