April 23, 2010

De La Rosa makes guitars

Filmmaker branches into custom-made guitars

By Jan-Mikael PattersonWhen it came to asking Shonie De La Rosa why he began building electric guitars, his explanation couldn't have been said better.

"I figured that if I can't play bad ass guitar then I'll build a bad ass guitar," De La Rosa said.

That's how Navatone came to be, a custom guitar shop operated out of the De La Rosa home.

Shonie and Andee De La Rosa are perhaps best known for their independent film company Sheephead Films. The couple produced and directed the documentary "G: Methamphetamines on the Navajo Nation" and the indie reservation hit "Mile Post 398."

They also helped lobby the Navajo Nation Council to pass a law criminalizing the piracy of creative work, such as DVD bootlegging.

"I've always like guitars," Shonie said as he tuned up one his creations, Navatone No. 002, which combines a Fender Stratocaster body with a custom-made neck and pick-ups.
And:Three years ago he began researching how to build a guitar, leading to his recent completion of his first three Navatone guitars. All use the Fender Stratocaster body with custom-made necks and a head in the shape of an Eagle. Each is finished with a custom paint job.

It's not so much cutting the guitar body from wood, but ordering parts from manufacturers. The customization comes in the sound produced by the pick-ups, which are purchased separately and, if needed, can be custom built to fit the musician's need.
Comment:  For more on Shonie De La Rosa, see Balloon Flight Over Monument Valley and Navajos Hot to Trot.

Below:  "Shonie De La Rosa gifted blues virtuoso Levi Platero with a custom-made guitar, Navatone No. 002, which Platero named 'The Green Hornet,' as a belated birthday present."

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