Travis Alexander of Ghost Thrower Takes the DIY Approach to Guitars
Greetings! My name is Travis Alexander.
I play guitar and sing in a band from Boston called Ghost Thrower. Our full-length record, 10 Songs, and EP, …Has A One That Got Away, came out yesterday, October 25, via Equal Vision Records. Please check it out!
I want to talk a bit about DIY in the underground music scene, more specifically in regard to guitars. I was never lucky enough to receive a guitar endorsement through any of my previous bands, so I did what any hot-blooded American does when they're denied anything: I made my own.
A few of my friends and I run a custom guitar company based in Boston called Venture Guitars. We focus on building guitars by hand and implementing cool, different ideas into standard, classic models. We're not reinventing the wheel, we're just making it roll in a much cooler way.
Venture primarily uses wood purchased from inside the States or more specifically, wood purchased from lumber yards around Boston. Any engraving/metal cutting/vinyl detailing, etc., we may need require is outsourced to local merchants. I would rather give our money to an independent local machinist than send it out to one of the "big guys" and I hope that mentality echoes through the life of Venture.
The four of us are inventive and ambitious individuals. (Last week I even made my own soap because I didn't want to keep spending money on Irish Spring). We all play music because we're fed up with the big music scene -- as I'm sure most of you can agree with us there. There are plenty of reasons to support the smaller, growing companies and very few reasons not to. When it comes to guitars, why not buy from a smaller 100 percent USA guitar company where it can be customized just for you? Or better yet -- make your own!
My primary guitar is a Venture Lesley semi-hollow alder body with a maple bolt-on neck. As we're wood junkies, I used a very ornate and pretty spalted maple top. I am also notorious for breaking strap lock screws off into my guitars, so we recessed the strap locks. I've also always hated the tedious task of unscrewing cavity covers so all covers are magnetic (for wiring on the fly). These are just a few little ideas exhibited on my personal guitar.
We've also made a bass with a wireless cavity and no external input jack; perfect for the touring musician who plays wireless more often than not. Right now, we're developing a cool push/pull coil knob that acts as a theramin when raised. We're big fans of projects involving out-of-the-ordinary components.
As I said, if no one else is doing it for you, do it for yourself.
Thank you for reading!
Travis Alexander plays guitar and sings in the Boston-based band Ghost Thrower. Their new album, 10 Songs, and EP, …Has A One That Got Away, came out October 25, via Equal Vision Records.
Photo: Mike Dravis