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What you need to know about Enzo, an outfit in Mumbai that offers bespoke guitars

Samir Karnik started playing the guitar at age 10, soon becoming a fixture on a number of college bands including the popular Zephyr from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. Little did he know that one day he would be crafting guitars. As part of the Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the bank he used to work at, Karnik saw first-hand the artisanship the country has to offer. “That’s how I got interested in working with wood. And I was also looking to do something more hands-on,” he informs. Working primarily with local woods, like mango and neem, he started creating small boxes, and knick knacks that were “not too ambitious”. “I would sit with carpenters and observe how they worked. I learnt a lot, like the right way to use various tools, cutting and carving wood, etc,” he tells us.

Knock on wood
A guitar making course at Jungle’s Guitars in Goa followed and one-and-a-half years ago, Enzo Guitars was born. But in the face of the popularity of pieces like 3D printed guitars, Karnik took a step in the direction of sustainability. Making each piece from scratch, with no assistants, Karnik works with unusual yet locally-available wood like jackfruit, mango, tamarind and babul, though a request for a guitar made of regular wood won’t be turned down.
“Each sound is different. Jackfruit wood produces a more absorbent and warmer tone, while neem is a great alternative for mahogany,” explains the 27-year-old, who has a degree in environmental sustainability from Edinburgh University, Scotland.

Respecting the craft
Sourcing his material from places like Bhiwandi and Kerala, Karnik is picky about his clients. “I once saw a guitar I created for a friend, with a huge crack down the middle. That’s when I decided I shouldn’t be making guitars for everyone. I prefer my clients to be involved in the entire process, come to me with their research done and be genuinely passionate about guitars. If you  just say you want a replica of Eric Clapton’s guitar, I’m going to turn you down,” he says frankly.

New direction
While he has thus far stuck to crafting acoustic guitars, the latest project he has taken on is a smaller version of a bass guitar. “My client wanted something that was easy to carry around and easier to play,” he explains, adding, “Electric guitars are far simpler to make.”
Aiming to be environmentally responsible, he repurposes
the waste material from his workshop and creates crosses, birdhouses, boxes and even jewellery for friends and neighbours.
While he used to take about a month to craft one piece, Karnik has slowed down to two months as that affords him the luxury of perfecting the instrument. “When I see the finished product, I feel totally fulfilled and satisfied with my life,” he concludes.
`25,000 upwards. Details: 9820656924 / facebook.com/
enzoguitars

—Rashmi Rajagopal

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