Girish Prabhu and Thomas Abraham make guitars that meet international standards, locally
Handmade Doppler Guitars, built by a committed young pair of a guitarist and product designer, are testimony to passion and perfection. Guitarist Girish Prabhu realised that locally-made guitars are few and do not meet the challenging needs of a discerning customer, and more often than not, guitars have to be shipped from other countries. Girish decided to fill this lacuna. Teaming up with product designer Thomas Abraham, the duo came up with the first set of handmade guitars in the country that matched international standards. The journey was not smooth as the standards they had set for themselves were to match top brands across the globe. Added to this was the availability of cheaper Chinese models that threatened to eat into the niche market. Says Girish: “It took us two years just to ensure the quality matched international standards in terms of sound, aesthetics and finish.”
But the hard work paid off. Working round the clock with hand-picked wood and the right tools, they achieved the quality and finish desired. “We predominantly use seasoned and treated African mahogany, maple, flame maple, quilted maple and ash wood. We avoid low quality wood which is a cheaper option and is used extensively by the market offering lower cost guitars,” says Thomas. These guitars, as good as any international brand, not only come in exclusive models that can be bought off the shelf but are also customised to suit individual inclinations.
There are many intricacies, meticulous precision and fine tuning involved in making these handmade guitars. “The design and construction has to be perfect to achieve the desired results. Even a slight deviation or compromise would affect the final output, failing to meet the needs of a guitarist,” says Girish.
Thus, details such as the neck being perfectly stable, use of good quality sustainable hardware and electronic components are just a few of the multiple details that are painstakingly followed to ensure that handmade guitars stand up to any high-end guitar brands. Says Girish: “The wood, hardware, components and build quality are important aspects that make a guitar sound and look great.”
Typically, the hand-perfected pieces first go through a polyurethane sealer to seal the wood and make it resistant to moisture. The next stage is spray painting for a solid colour finish or hand staining for a stain finish while ensuring the fine grains of wood are still visible. The final finish is achieved by spraying lacquer which takes over three weeks to cure. This is followed with the process of wet sanding and drying before buffing to get a mirror finish.
“Wet sanding is a laborious process as it needs to be worked to a fine flat finish,” says Thomas. The electrical components are finally fitted in to offer an immaculate customised piece to the musician. Adds Girish, “Guitars also come at a price that is competitive and lower than imported brands that offer similar configurations. In addition, the customer also has access to our direct services for repair and modifications.”
Girish’s obsession with perfection and customisation prompted him to explore the possibilities of offering handmade guitars of the highest quality. He also has his own music academy besides being an active musician himself.
Doppler Guitars can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org