Dave Barry’s been modifying guitars since he started playing 14 years ago. And now, through Moniker Guitars, he’s giving everyone that same chance.
Founded by Barry and a friend of his from high school, Kevin Tully, Moniker Guitars is a custom guitar maker that allows customers to design and purchase a new electric guitar online. After all, if you can custom design your Converse shoes, why not your guitar?
The duo offers thousands of combinations, enabling users to mix up colors, shapes, parts, sounds, text and graphic options. Although Barry attended Northeastern for music industry while Tully was at NYU, where they met in the middle on the idea that there was a void in the guitar world in terms of being able to customize your instrument and do it at a reasonable price.
Sure, people can buy kits, but Barry’s learned from personal experience that it takes a lot less time, money and energy to just order a new guitar. Other custom guitar manufacturers also tend to make their users wait up to six, eight or 12 months, according to Barry. Through Moniker Guitars, Barry and Tully can promise you’ll get your guitar in four to five weeks.
“We live in a society of immediate gratification,” Barry says. “So, we both said, if we’re going to do this, we need to make sure it’s a quick turnaround time.”
Moniker Guitars has already received two rounds of grant funding from Northeastern’s venture accelerator IDEA. They used the money to build their interactive website, as well as purchase water-based paint, that’s not only more environmentally friendly, but is also the paint known to give Ferraris and Lamborghinis their luster.
Cool? We know, as do the thousands who talked to the two at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas where they’re currently running Moniker Guitars. Barry says they chose Austin because when they Googled “best places to start a small business,” Austin was the first place to come up. “It’s also the live music capital of the entire world,” Barry says, “which doesn’t hurt.”
Moniker Guitars will be promoting Moniker Guitars at Bonnaroo in June, and although Barry didn’t give me any concrete sales numbers, he did admit, “Needless to say, it’s been steady.”
Their next step is to star research and development on hollow body electric guitars and electric bases. “Every band has a bass player, so there’s equal demands,” Barry says.
If anything at all, the site is at least fun to use even if you’re not known for strumming the guitar. I spent time this morning designing my own guitar:
Cute, right? If you’d like to design your own and buy it, the company’s even offered a promo code that can score you $125 off. Just type in “SXMONIKER12.” And when you do go and get their guitar with your discount, come stop by the BostInno offices. We love to be serenaded.