Did you know that Conway, South Carolina has their very own guitar luthier? Yep, Rick Mariner is his name and Haywire Custom Guitars is his business.
What is a luthier? A luthier is someone who makes or repairs string instruments generally consisting of a neck and a sound box. The word luthier comes from the French word luth, which means lute. The term originally referred to makers of lutes and is now used interchangeably with any term that refers to makers of a specific, or specialty, type of stringed instrument, such as violin maker, guitar maker, lute maker, but excluding makers of instruments such as harps and pianos, where strings are secured to a frame, and which require different skills and methods of construction. (wikipedia)
Haywire Custom Guitars, through their owner Rick Mariner, specializes in making the best electric guitars and electric basses. However, I think his real claim-to-fame is making other manufacturer's guitars play better and sound better! Rick's golden touch has been on hundreds, if not thousands, of instruments over the past 35+ years working on guitars from closed-door bedroom players all the way to professional touring musicians.
I had a chance to sit down with Rick to learn about his craft and more about Haywire Custom Guitars.
“Haywire Custom Guitars really started by accident in California back in the 80's.” Rick explained. “I just started helping other guitar players around town with their instruments just to be friendly and just for my love of the guitar. Then, after a while, people were calling me directly asking if I could do the same to their guitar. So I did that for about 10 years and then I moved to the Myrtle Beach area to be closer to my parents. For the next 10 years I basically just concentrated on my playing and being a professional musician. I still helped a few people from time-to-time and then in 2000 I started Haywire Custom Guitars 'officially.' Haywire was the name of my band back in the 90's by-the-way.”
Rick can do just about anything to make a guitar sound and play better.... He's got his own 8 point tune up method, and he can do tons of other things like add a treble bleed circuit, do full pickup replacements, re-fretting of the neck, full neck replacement, body replacement, refinishing work, and designing and making entire guitars!
One of Rick's real specialties is “neck shaving” as he is one of only a few shops that offers it. He can make a neck radius smaller – or more importantly, the size and roundness it needs to be based upon a player's hand size and style of playing – and he can get rid of that extra “block” of material up where the neck bolts to the body. Guitar players certainly know this part of the neck seems to always get in the way of your hand when you are playing up high on the neck – 15th thru the 22/24 frets.
I guess my real shocker after meeting with Rick was how much “nationwide” business he has. “Joey, to be honest with you, I only have a hand-full of local customers. Most of my business comes from out of the area... in fact from all over... the US... from Canada... and from over-seas.”
I was fortunate to experience two “customer” dealings with Rick while I was at his place. One, was as a gentleman dropped off his electric guitar. “Rick's not only the best guitar guy around, he's one of the nicest people you will ever meet.” He told me. Experience number two, the phone rang. Turns out there was a rare problem with a shipment – something about an original order was damaged by the postal service... turns out Rick didn't even hesitate or wait around to see what the problem was or wait 'til he got things straight with the postal service, he packed up another shipment immediately and sent it right out! “I can wait and get things straightened out later but my clients rely upon me and my services... they can't wait... many of them are professional musicians and need their equipment to pay the bills.... I know this wasn't even my fault but it's got my name on it so when things like this happen I handle it the best way and quickest way I can.”
Rick made a definite impression on me... not just because he is a really nice guy and loves music and loves guitars but he really takes what he does seriously... he has a real passion for what he does and has a real love for helping! When someone contacts Rick to make them an electric guitar (or bass) he doesn't just go grab a bunch of parts and slaps 'em together and takes money. He starts with a pencil and paper and actually gets to know the person, the player that is ordering the guitar. Rick might talk to them a few times before even starting. He even tries to hear them play or see youtube videos of their performances. “The more information I can get on someone..learning what they want and don't want in a guitar and to know as much as I can about their playing, the better job I can do on making the perfect instrument for them.”
To learn more about Rick and Haywire Custom Guitars please visit their really cool website at http://www.HaywireCustomGuitars.com or give them a call at 843-347-5742. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook...ustomGuitarsInc
View All Of Our Photos From Our Trip With Rick Mariner and Haywire Custom Guitars by Clicking Here
About Joey O'Connor:
Joey O'Connor is the editor of OnTheGrandStrand.com and the new ConwayLiving.com - He is also an author, photographer, musician, golf professional, pr/marketing guy, web designer, and a developer of over 30 networks and websites. After 46 years of living in Greensboro, NC (where he was born and raised) Joey has finally moved to where his heart belongs - On The Grand Strand! In Conway, South Carolina to be exact! Complete information on Joey can be found by visiting his website http://www.JoeyOConnor.com