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Factory Tour: Dunable Guitars

Dunable Guitars Factory Tour

What started in Sacha Dunable's two-car garage has now expanded to include a dozen riff maniacs building impeccable riff machines. Join PG's Chris Kies to go inside these guitar junkies' L.A.-based shop.

Dig into this inside view of the Dunable guitars shop in Los Angeles, conducted by PG’s own Chris Kies and namesake builder Sacha Dunable. It’s a major step up from the two-car garage where the company started in 2012! Dunable grew from making one-off guitars for Sacha and his fellow Intronaut guitarist, Dave Timnick, by generating word-of-mouth about the instrument’s easy playability and biting rock tone. “Before I know it, I was getting orders for guitars,” Dunable says.

Our tour starts in the tonewood storage room: mahogany, limba, maple—mahogany primarily for guitar necks and maple primarily for bass necks. Fretboards are ebony. For bodies, it’s mahogany, limba, and swamp ash. Watch a run of bodies for Dunable’s Gnarwhal model in the saw shop (check out the stunning buckeye burl wood for tops) and eyeball the varieties of raw ebony for fretboards. In the CNC shop, you’ll see how to design a custom guitar and then observe one of Dunable’s two CNC machines in operation. “It’s about the consistency, not the speed,” Dunable assures.

Also, you’ll see that all the final cut and trim work is done by hand, as is the artful sanding. (You’ll eyeball a Yeti being smoothed.) In the neck area, Dunable explains the various scale lengths on the company’s instruments, and how some of their production-run necks are farmed out to Grover Jackson’s Tennessee shop. Frets? Dunable’s come from respected fret-wire company Jescar, and they’re typically nickel extra jumbos. After the necks are glued in place, it’s time for paint prep: removing minor blemishes, etc. A gel wood sealer is part of Dunable’s finishing process, “so you can really feel the wood grain and hear the wood resonate,” Sacha explains. He displays a fresh black rainbow sparkle finish with nitro lacquer and a rose-gold over swamp ash, which really lets the wood grain show. Also, get a look at a beautifully finished Dunable Minotaur, plus a rare 9-string Yeti (with doubled treble strings).

In the assembly shop, it’s time to check out Dunable’s own pickups. They’re double-wax-potted by hand (unless requested otherwise). Some Cave Bear pickups are displayed—the latest in the company’s 10-humbucker line. And the last step is final assembly for Dunable’s roughly 50 guitars shipped per month, and includes custom setup if requested. As the video concludes, Dunable talks about his Southeast Asia-made, lower-priced DE Series, which are setup, tested, and quality checked at the L.A. shop before leaving for stores and individual owners.