At the southern end of the Great Dividing Range, in the mountains just north of Melbourne, is a small workshop producing some of the finest handmade electric guitars available today. The small town of Woodend, Victoria is the home of Dirty Elvis Guitars.
I wanted to create a guitar that was new and unique, but looked like it had been around forever. So it needed to have a classic look and feature vintage methods of construction, but a completely unique design and a fresh look to match.
It needed to remind you of all your favourite guitars but also look completely original and stand out from the very guitars that inspired it. This is the challenge faced by all artists, absorbing inspiration from your predecessors, emulating them for years as you shape your craft, then the day finally comes when you try to create something in a new style all of your own.
Many attempt, very few succeed.
The idea came to me as I was building a parlour sized acoustic guitar. As I was attaching the kerfed lining to inside edges, then gluing on the top of the guitar, I was also thinking about how the drop top of a chambered electric guitar is assembled to the body in a much simpler fashion. My curiosity begged, could I combine the two and what would that look like? Soon after I had a dream about a guitar that I would play in my band, Dirty Elvis. It was just the look of it, which I quickly scribbled down in the morning; this became the first blueprint of the Dirty Elvis Guitars - Handmade Electric.
Two years later…
It’s now 2019 and has been two years since I began development on this guitar. It has been extremely hard work, but nothing in life worthwhile comes easy. This long and arduous road has led to the best guitar I’ve ever played. Every single aspect of this guitar from the tone to the scent is incredible, better than I ever imagined, perfect. I can’t wait to show these guitars to the guitarists...
Dirty Elvis Guitars is Matt Gandy. He is a teacher, musician and a luthier. He lives with his wife and daughter in Woodend, Australia.