World Rhythm Interview


Boris Dommenget designs his Dommenget Guitars in Germany. He has created unique guitars and basses of all kinds.

World Rhythm : How do you go about selecting the proper woods (age, combination of types, etc.) for the guitars, and how do you go about acquiring them?

Boris Dommenget : I much prefer air-dried [seasoned] wood to kiln-dried. The older it is, the better it is for the sound [no wonder many vintage guitars sound so good!]. When The Hopf Company went bankrupt in 1981, I bought some of their wood and stored it. Today, it's like detective work to get good material. Sometimes I get antique furniture and turn that into guitars. This list has some brief examples of what I like :

* Alpine spruce for acoustic guitar tops.

* Alpine flamed maple for archtops.

* A lightweight mahogany and corinna for solid-body guitars.

Basically, I don't like to mix too many different types of wood because this can cause resonance damping, and I like my guitars to sound full and punchy across the whole fretboard.

WR : How did you initially get your name and guitars out in the market?

BD : I started my own workshop in 1981 near Frankfurt working for local musicians while playing in bands as well. I shared a booth at the Frankfurt Music Fair back then, together with Pickup Guru Bill Lawrence, who introduced me to international customers (and told me all about pickups). Between 1985-1988, I lived as a musician in London. By 1989, I was back in Hamburg; I opened up a rehearsal/recording studio and started making guitars on the side again. Two years later I sold the studio, and since then I only make guitars. I do a lot work for most of the big names in Germany (Scorpions, etc.) About half of what I do goes to the United States.

WR : Typically, how long does it take for you to make a guitar?

BD : Depending on the waiting list and the type of guitar, it's usually between 3-6 months.

WR : How much of the designs are yours verses how many ideas the customer brings to the table?

BD : Most of the time the customer knows what they like, and I try to keep their ideas. As I make every guitar from scratch, I am not restricted to any design, so sometimes I get detailed construction plans from the customer and make it 1:1. I'd like to point out that there is a guy called Ed Roman who actually stole my design [Mysterion, Mystique] and produces it in Mexico without my permission. My own designs are: Kingsize, Classic, Lizard, Mysterion, Bat, Doublecut, Governor, Imperator, Fusion, and Kingsize DC.