I’ve made my first instrument in 2007. I was only 14 back then. It was a bass.
My grandpa was a skilled woodworker all his life and ran a custom furniture workshop. My dad had studied wood engineering and later took over the workshop, where he taught me to work with wood from a very young age. Sure, there were some “compulsory” lessons, but he always left me room for my own realization. Small boxes, airplanes, kites, cutting boards and spoons for my mum, simple carvings, and finally guitars…
My parents raised me in the Christian faith. I grew up in a Salesian community where music let everything come alive. Many talented musicians played there and I had an opportunity to get feedback from them. Whenever I made a new instrument (whether it was a bass, a guitar, or a cajon), I was happy to let them try it out.
Then I started with some small repairs, maintenance, setups, and even the first custom guitars. Anything I managed to earn, I usually invested in quality hardware right away. I had a great stepping stone – the family wood storehouse – with a lot of old aged material, some of it stored and dried for 40 years.
I slowly began delving deeper into the ins and outs of manufacturing, and gathered information regarding materials, especially wood. I discovered that the finest quality wood species grew right in my neighbourhood, in the forests that I knew very well. In fact, their quality is so high that they are sought-after by world-class luthiers. I learned to recognize these types of wood, bought my first logs (in 2010 during my high school studies) and I am currently processing them.
I was fascinated by the idea of processing wood in the place where it grew and where I grew up as well. It hasn’t changed and that’s why every instrument is marked PROUDLY MADE IN BARDEJOV SLOVAK REPUBLIC on a prominent place.
Let’s briefly describe the manufacturing process: First, I select roundwood which is cut at the sawmill under my supervision, exactly to my liking. Then, a long natural drying process takes place, followed by the actual production preparations. The whole production is carried out in our workshop: from the rough work, through finishing processes, to the final adjustments, tuning, and placing in an original case. Cases are also made in Bardejov – PEMA produces musical instrument cases in eleven countries around the world for the most renowned manufacturers of musical instruments and sound equipment.
Of course, I am not alone in all of this. My dad and a few expert friends are also involved in the manufacturing process and each of them is responsible for their own part (manufacturing and assembling pickups, manufacturing bridges, laser engraving, photography, online marketing). Together we create a community of people who collaborate on the final product. Whenever I meet a smart person, I immediately think about how their potential could contribute to the quality of our instruments.
Since the very beginning, my production has been basically an evolution. For a long time I have been researching the properties of our wood types, and their influence on the overall quality of instruments. In cooperation with experts from the University of Zvolen, I have developed my own technological process of thermal treatment of wood, which significantly enhances the resonance properties of wood. The whole thermal treatment is carried out in our workshop using our own know-how. That has resulted in (e.g.) roasted maple, which we often use for the necks of our instruments. We also progress in other areas: we’ve created several concepts of pickups for guitars and basses as well as custom pickups for five- and four-string basses. At this point, you may be asking yourself: Why these difficult and lengthy steps? Why not buy ready-made wood from foreign suppliers? Why develop new pickups and bridges when they have already been developed and can be bought? The answer is suspiciously simple. As unscientific as it may sound, I am convinced that the amount of attention that a manufacturer invests in an instrument does in fact become audible.
We also try to maintain personal contact with our customers. We present our work at various festivals and exhibitions. Moreover, we organize a big annual four-day exhibition connected with JAMsession at the traditional Bardejov fair – of course, you’re more than welcome to join us there. One of the things we also offer is the opportunity to visit our showroom in Bardejov, where you can try all the finished instruments, and even choose the one you like the most. Another option is to personally select wood for your future instrument directly in our workshop. However, it is necessary to arrange a meeting in advance by e-mail or phone. Our instruments can only be purchased directly from us or via our e-shop.
Thank you for your interest.