How I create the best guitar you will ever play

Alex Csiky has been building guitars since 1996, making creativity his main priority.  His disappointment of commercial "high-end" guitars inspired him to become a unique builder with sharp attention to detail, highly innovative designs resulting as a virtual reinvention of how a guitar is built and made to sound and feel.  His dedication and obsession have produced, what he believes are the best sounding and feeling guitars ever created. This is a bold statement, which he encourages YOU to confirm for yourself. 

ARTICLE: Everything You Know About Guitars Is Wrong!


A message for the low-information guitar enthusiast.

Making guitars by hand, one at a time. Something very rare these days of mass production through robotics. This is not a money-making enterprise but a passion for creativity. Selling guitars should be emotionally very difficult, as it is for me.

Making guitars entirely by hand from scratch is becoming a lost art. It is very time-consuming, labor intensive and commercially impractical. Most importantly, making guitars by hand requires considerable skill and talent very few possess. These days it is virtually impossible for guitar companies to manufacture guitars without the aid of computerized machines which speed production and enable corporations to use an inexpensive and yes, an unskilled workforce. Wake up, the guitar you play now was NOT made by luthiers or artists, or even guitar players.

Having been a guitar enthusiast most of my life and having owned dozens of different guitars, I eventually realized that I wasn't satisfied with any of them. Most of the guitars I owned - and some were very expensive - were all mass-produced, machine-made instruments which lacked that certain quality which at first I could not explain. It's an organic quality, simply put; SOUL. I found that factory, machine-made guitars had no soul, they cannot and therefore cannot affect me emotionally, as a good instrument should, unlike an appliance. The inevitable pattern is always a loss of interest in a mass produced guitar-like object or in playing entirely.

I eventually realized that there was a better way to build guitars and what the secret of a great guitar was. I set out to make my own guitars entirely by hand. Not surprisingly, the very first guitar I ever built was better than any other guitar I ever owned previously, regardless of brand or price. What made the difference? The human element consisting of irregularity, variability, and inconsistency, the exact qualities mass producers claimed were negatives. A person's touch and feel are the ingredients essential in the making of great guitars or any other musical instrument; the creation of all artwork for that matter.

Ironically, through massive advertising budgets and promotional propaganda the commercial guitar producers had succeeded in deceiving you into believing that - absolute cookie cutter indistinction, sterile accuracy, regimental predictability, an absence of individuality, tone-killing thick plastic gloss finishes over the entire guitar, gaudy figured wood and only the most minimal and necessary human involvement - will give you a great guitar, even a "vintage" equivalent guitar. This is absolutely laughable, and even if you have an average intelligence and make an effort to think about this, you will know what a deceptive hoax this actually is. Yet it works.

My guitar making process consists of shaping bodies and necks as precisely as humanly possible but not at the level of programmable machines. Perfection and precision are not my primary goals. Since I guide every operation by hand, my workmanship is not precise to the thousands of an inch, but it is the product of a uniquely keen eye and attention to detail and human artistic feel. This does result in some of the best feeling and most ergonomic bodies and necks you will ever play, as well as the best tonal capable guitars.

I choose not the "finest, most extremely figured and flawless woods" but instead the most unique and interesting pieces regardless of blemishes, imperfections or contrived "tone-wood" status. Unlike other companies, I try not to buy wood from "select lumber mills," because I understand that fancy and expensive wood, used to "package" the instrument is not what is needed to make a great guitar. My design and manufacturing process utilizes only primitive Old World Craftsmanship and never any "New World technology." I understand that anyone can push a button on a machine which was programmed, but a computer geeks far from the workbench and that "groundbreaking computer technology" is both a sacrilege and a disgrace when it comes to building great instruments. "Achieving the most exact tolerances found in the guitar industry" is nothing to be proud of. It's like an artist bragging about painting by numbers.

Over the years, the craftsman look of guitars has been lost to the dull machine-made look of cookie cutter regularity. In the fifties and sixties (the golden years of guitar making) much of today's high-tech manufacturing was unavailable and the only way to build guitars was by hand. Guitar sellers have been quite contradictory in what exactly their ideals are, is it the hand-craftsmanship of vintage instruments with lacquer finishes or the sterile, lifeless uniformity of modern CNC machine-made guitars dipped in plastic coating? Which is it guys, because these are two mutually exclusive worlds of guitar philosophy and outcome, in direct contradiction to each other. In making the presumed greatest guitars, manufacturers had to rely on the imprecise touch of highly skilled humans as opposed to the latest computerized machinery and the absence of human involvement. The quality of the workmanship 50 or 500 years ago was considerably less consistent than anything made today by high-tech machinery. This resulted in each instrument being unique to itself and each player owning a distinct instrument. These vintage instruments are sought after today for their great feel and tone. This is precisely what I set out to achieve and emulate by handcrafting my guitars. I build guitars in the way they were built in the past. I believe that the reason vintage guitars are considered special in feel and tone is precisely because of their imperfection, imprecision, and inconsistency. This makes each vintage guitar a true individual creation with qualities that make them more appealing physically and emotionally to a human. Its called Organic Variability, the same characteristic which defines all living things.

When it comes to hand craftsmanship, the beauty of the work lies in the natural flaws of the material. The graininess of the wood and the occasional tool marks in the work piece, bring out a character, which no machine can duplicate. The organic quality of the material as well as the maker define all artwork. Today, guitars are built utilizing the "most advanced technology" and therefore "ruthless precision" has replaced the human touch. Just as imperfection makes us all human, it also makes a guitar feel more comfortable to a human.
This is a hint for you as to why vintage guitars feel and sound so much better and different, even if top pro players do not quite comprehend this or able to articulate it. Of course, much truth about guitars is corrupted and compromised by the culture of paid endorsement, so prevalently pernicious in the past 30 years. When money is involved, and survival is the imperative, anything and everything will be endorsed.

By making guitars entirely by hand, one at a time, I have gained complete control and freedom of design. I do not copy any other guitar design, nor do I subscribe to any trends, gimmicks or fads. I am not bound by tradition, nor am I limited or influenced by commercialism. My guitars are originals, and every aspect of their design has a single purpose; to make a better instrument. With a Zachary Handcrafted Guitar you can reclaim the look and feel of hand-made; truly and entirely hand-made.