Strumming down a dream
LEIGH Filmer of Grafton built his first guitar in high school.
He carved the body out of blackwood, the neck out of myrtle beech and the fret board out of ebony, ordered the other components in from the local music shop at Whyalla, South Australia and pieced it together for his major Year 11 project in woodwork in 1986.
Though he has never been able to give up his day job in his pursuit of music as a vocalist in a couple of well-known Grafton bands (Hard to Handle and Australian Deep Purple Tribute Band), Mr Filmer is hoping his new guitar-building business may one day become his day job.
Mr Filmer, who works as a mower man at present, has finally achieved his long-held ambition to build a "flying V" guitar - a symbol of hard rocking metal music.
Filmer Guitar's first ever model, named the Filmer Aussie Flying V because of its green and gold colouring, is available for trial or purchase at Buckley's Music, Grafton.
"I wanted to offer a mid-range to beginners guitar to a lot higher standard than the ones coming out of Japan," Mr Filmer said.
He said he can make guitars to order in virtually any shape including Les Paul, Stratocaster, SG and in a huge variety of colours thanks to Five Mile Smash Repairs who use a two-pack primer and hardener to produce the high quality finish.
"I have about a three to four week turnover and I'd like to produce as many guitars as possible in my first year," he said.
"I really want the first person to buy my guitar to stay in touch and give me feedback."
Clearly proud of his first professional guitar, the self-taught luthier said he and his son were giving each other high-fives when they first put it on display at Buckley's.
For now, Mr Filmer will order in guitar parts to order, get them painted and finished locally and piece them together but all goes well, he said, down the track he would consider purchasing the templates and routing equipment and making the timber parts himself.
"Obviously this will quicken the process and give people even more flexibility," he said.
The Filmer Aussie Flying V is for sale for $499.95 which, according to Buckley's sales manager Damien Sullivan is more than reasonable for a locally produced guitar with good quality components.
"It's just great to see someone producing guitars locally ... even the big blokes had to start somewhere."
Mr Sullivan said the guitar looked spectacular and came with a neutral set-up which could be easily customised for players' preferences.