When I first walked into Dallas Seger’s studio in Milford, I wasn’t sure I was in the right place. But then, in the midst of the machinery, the tools and the dark, I saw it. A bright, shining guitar.
I have to admit, custom made electric guitars is not something I ever expected to run into north of Bangor. But Maine is full of wonderful surprises.
Every winter Dallas takes a limited number of custom guitar orders and spends six months crafting them by hand. He carefully moves from task to task, carving, sanding, routing, sanding, sanding again, painting and finishing each guitar to his very exact, very high expectations. Dallas won’t make a guitar unless he’s “into it.” And he’ll spend as much time as he needs until it feels perfect. Because for Dallas, it’s not about the money. It’s about the craft.
“All these details you see? That’s just the expression of how much I love doing it,” he said. “I’ll add in little things for my customers and it might be a long time before they notice.”
Dallas says he likes his guitars fancy. He wants to make Cadillacs, not junkers. And while he has different qualities of woods and stages of customization, everything that leaves the studio has received his rapt and loving attention. Which is good, because he says a lot of his guitars will end up as a customer’s main instrument, receiving years of love and abuse. He believes they deserve the best.
It all started when Dallas was 12 and he consecutively picked up two new hobbies: guitar and woodworking. The progression was natural because, as he puts it, “obviously guitars are made out of wood.”
Besides a few mentors and “a few good books” Dallas is self taught. He didn’t even have the internet for help when he first got started; for which he actually says he’s thankful. It meant he had to figure things out the old way.
“With guitars and woodworking, and just being fascinated with both, it had to happen,” he says decisively.
I kept asking Dallas why he does it. He’d just shrug at me and shake his head. Smile. Woodworking and guitars are such a huge part of his life that he has a hard time putting it all into words sometimes.
“Even the suckiest thing about a guitar is still way cooler than… whatever, you know?”