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Peter Malinoski

“I never wanted to make someone else’s instrument any more than I wanted to copy someone else’s painting,” says artist and luthier Peter Malinoski.

“I never wanted to make someone else’s instrument any more than I wanted to copy someone else’s painting,” says artist and luthier Peter Malinoski. “I make one-of-a-kind guitars one at a time.” This philosophy pushed Malinoski—a bassist who learned guitar—into building guitars in 1986 because he wasn’t satisfied with what was available in stores. “I’ve never understood the idea that companies still believe solidbody electric guitars should be built as they were 60 years ago,” says Malinoski. “From that first instrument, I was hooked on the idea of making wildly different electric guitars. I see one-piece, bolt-on necks, and bodies with formless, flat backs that lack acknowledgement of the third dimension as a compromise.”

For the past 25 years, Malinoski has applied his Master of Fine Art degrees in Woodworking and Functional Design with his creative vision to construct instruments that are aesthetically influenced by 21stcentury design. “I developed a system to mount the electronic components onto a single wooden plate that attaches to the front of the guitar body,” says Malinoski. “There is virtually no neck pocket—the three-piece neck is glued and screwed to the top of the body and the pickup plate rises up to meet the height of the neck.”

This approach allows Malinoski to sculpt and contour both the front and the back of the guitar to accentuate its form and eliminate the need for cover plates. He says the combination of woods and mounting the pickups directly to the wooden plate produces a truer overall tone that’s enhanced by sensing vibrations transferred through the body, as well as the strings. As for the reasoning behind the three-piece neck, he believes it “creates a stronger, more stable structure and prevents the neck from dead spots because it is unlikely all three pieces have the same resonant frequency alignment.”

While not everyone might find his guitar designs visually appealing, Malinoski is more than okay with that. “My guitars and basses are not meant to be the do-all, end-all instrument for every utilitarian player,” says Malinoski. “They aren’t built the same, they don’t look the same, and they don’t sound the same as any other instrument. My intention is to create unique and beautiful instruments for making unique and beautiful music.”

Fez #65
This semi-hollow model has an oiled Spanish cedar body with a white ash pickup plate. Its oiled zebrano neck has a 24.75"-scale bird’s-eye maple fretboard and a walnut headstock. The guitar is loaded with a Malinoski Type 2 humbucker that he describes as “being a Fender-style pickup, but with more midrange and a darker sound because I use larger magnets.” In addition, the #65—like all other Malinoski models—comes with a passive piezo transducer under the bridge “to add an acoustic brightness while maintaining the low end of the magnetic pickups.”

Toro #48
One of Malinoski’s more adventurous creations, the Toro #48 looks like a rounded cross between B.C. Rich’s Mockingbird and Virgin models. This particular Toro has a white ash body, a handpainted acrylic green finish, and a pickup plate carved from quilted maple. Made from mahogany and white ash, the neck sports a 24.75"- scale olive fretboard and 24 large frets. The Toro comes with two Malinoski Type 2 humbuckers and a passive piezo bridge transducer.

Rodeo #66
Featuring an oiled Spanish cedar body with an oiled ambrosia maple pickup plate, the curvaceous, 25.5"-scale singe-cutaway shown here is a Rodeo #66. In addition to its passive piezo bridge transducer, the guitar sports a Malinoski Type 2 humbucker in the neck position and Type 3 humbucker at the bridge.

Rodeo Bass #71
This 26-fret Rodeo bass has an oiled hardrock and figured maple neck with a 32"- scale padauk fretboard. The beast’s poplar body has a handpainted acrylic-blue finish and its ambrosia maple pickup plate houses Malinoski Type 2 bass humbuckers. Like its guitar siblings, the bass comes with a passive piezo bridge transducer. Other appointments include Wilkinson tuners and a Hipshot SS bridge.

Raja #72
The Raja #72 has an oiled Spanish cedar body, an oiled flame-birch pickup plate with white ash controls, Malinoski Type 2 and Type 3 humbuckers in the neck and bridge positions, respectively, a passive piezo bridge transducer, Sperzel Trim-Lok tuners, and a Skyway Vibrato bridge. The maple neck is topped with a 24-fret, 24.75"-scale padauk fretboard and boasts a cherry headstock.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for each guitar varies, but the base price for the Rodeo models are $2000, the Fez and Toro start at $3200, and the custom Raja begins at $4500. And when it comes to customer input, Malinoski welcomes new ideas—to an extent. “I’m willing to accommodate wishes regarding scale length, materials, finishes, and other things,” he says. “But the line is drawn at the point where ideas diverge from my basic design integrity or philosophy.” Malinoski’s workshop is a one-man operation, and his current wait time is four to six weeks.