Seasoned Guitarist Strings Together New Shop SanTan Sun News

Seasoned Guitarist Strings Together New Shop

January 8th, 2019 | by SanTan Sun News
Seasoned Guitarist Strings Together New Shop
Arts
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By Colleen Sparks

Managing Editor

A plucky veteran guitarist is hoping to help other musicians hit a high note on the stringed instruments he is selling at his new Chandler business.

Scott LeComte, 46, who began playing guitar at age 9, started Groove Musical Instruments in October and is planning to start selling ukuleles this month and violins by midsummer.

He also intends to start selling acoustic guitars by the summer and possibly some electronics through Groove Musical Instruments.

“I’ll probably add mandolins and maybe banjos, maybe cellos,” LeComte said. “If you buy an instrument from me, it’s going to be set up and the best playable instrument it can be. It will be tuned. Intonation will be set. I design them with the best tone in mind. I want to give people a quality instrument at a lower price that they’ll enjoy right out of the box.”

LeComte is not stringing customers along either.

He is a master luthier, a distinction earned when someone reaches a level of expertise in building and repairing stringed instruments. He got his training from Larry Spotten, a master luthier who owns the Original Guitar Medic in Oregon.

A well-respected IT expert, LeComte also owns D Squared Luthiery along with co-owner and fellow luthier Dennis Schimanski.

With that 5-year-old company, LeComte and Schimanski repair any stringed instruments. D Squared Luthiery operates out of LeComte’s Chandler home. LeComte said Schimanski is going to help him with Groove Musical Instruments.

Groove Musical Instruments also sells many capos – small devices that clamp onto the neck of guitars and other stringed instruments to shorten the strings’ length in order to change the key.

The company sells straps as well as locks that keep straps from coming off guitars and other stringed instruments.

“I found the one capo that I prefer and that works the best,” LeComte said. “I did a lot of research and found the ones that I would use. The straps are a personal preference thing.

“Normally when I buy a new guitar, I’ll buy a strap as well. I like to have options when I’m playing different instruments. You can buy strap locks anywhere, but no one’s really going to help you install them and give you the tips and tricks that a master luthier had.”

He said he will post demonstration videos a friend makes for products on the business website.

LeComte said most “mid or high-range players” have strap locks, which are “important if you don’t want to drop your instrument while you’re playing.”

A guitarist who plays a range of stringed instruments – including ukulele, banjo and mandolin – he knows a thing or two about taking the stage.

He started playing guitar when his father bought him an electric one and studied the instrument at McClintock High School for four years. He also took guitar lessons at Mesa Community College.

LeComte played in a rock band in high school and said he was “here back in the heyday when Mill Avenue was around.” The band he was in, The Total Few, shared equipment with the Gin Blossoms and played at school dances and talent shows.

Later, LeComte played in a band called Switch 56, doing many gigs on Mill Avenue and in Scottsdale, for about eight years. After that, he and a member of another band formed Mockstar and recorded some songs with Scott Hessel, the Gin Blossoms drummer.

Later, LeComte formed another band called KAB, which has been together about six years. He often tours on the West Coast and in Mexico with KAB and in Chandler at Ginger Monkey, Jolie’s Place and The Local. The band plays classic rock and its own songs.

A former IT director at Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, LeComte earned an associate’s degree in computer engineering from ITT Technical Institute. He said he and Schimanski began D Squared Luthiery not with the goal of making money but as a way to help other musicians.

Demand for stringed instruments is high, LeComte said. Ukuleles have become popular recently because of some hit songs that featured the instrument.

“Violins are real popular when school starts,” LeComte said. “The cost of renting for a year is more than buying a starter violin.”

He said chain musical instrument stores often buy from manufacturers in China and the instruments are “not set up properly.”

“I always found it frustrating is you buy a new guitar and it doesn’t play like you want to play and hurts your fingers, doesn’t sound the way you want it to sound and you take it to a luthier to fix it,” LeComte said.

Customers say D Squared Luthiery is in tune with what musicians want. Many posted praise for the company on its Facebook page.

“Best place for repairs and service,” Randolph Black posted. “I’ve taken many guitars and amps for service and (it’s) always been top notch.”

Tom Wray posted several thumbs-up signs on the D Squared Luthiery Facebook page and offered kind words.

“Friendly and helpful,” Wray wrote. “Always a pleasure to work with.”

To learn more about D Squared Luthiery, visit d2luthiery.com. For more information on Groove Musical Instruments, visit getthatgroove.com.

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