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Building guitars over here in Bosnia is not really something that one can get trained for... tell us how you got into it.

I have always been fascinated by guitars. For me the guitar is not just an instrument that you play on, it’s an object of art. I remember, as a kid, I used to gaze at the photos of guitars in guitar magazines. That contact was obviously visual, and it had great impact on my approach later on. It’s not enough that a guitar plays and sounds well... it must look good too. It was after I finished the high school that I had my first go at building one... this was back in 1978. My dad, being a first class carpenter helped me a lot with it. I must admit that it didn’t turn out into a masterpiece but it was a valuable experience in terms of getting familiar with a production method and actual and potential problems that one comes across. It was many years later, having graduated and spent time on different engineering projects, that I attempted another build... This attempt in 2001 looked like a nice Stratocaster, which is still in my possession.

So how has it been for you since? When you look back can you say that you are happy with your achievements or are you one of those who always look forward to new challenges?

It’s hard to say. I’m generally happy with what I’ve done so far. Every project is a journey, therefore exciting and challenging and I keep striving to improve all the time... I guess if I lose that feeling it would make it really hard even to go back and do the same guitars that I’ve done before.

They say that great masters are the best forgers... (Laughing) when they lose inspiration they just keep imitating their own style and keep passing it on as art... It applies to any walk of life, doesn’t it? You must be guilty of it Muris?

Never... (laughing). There are timeless guitar shapes around that have been getting recycled ever since. Do you have favourites amongst them or you prefer your own?

There aren’t many electric guitar concepts. The prevailing ones have been set by Gibson and Fender and they are still going strong. You’ll find that most manufacturers are following these while trying to inject a measure of distinction. Better the focus, greater the spirit of a guitar. That is the main reason why people go for the custom built... My first guitars were based on Stratocaster and Telecaster. I always wanted to put my mark on those and I can proudly say that I have built quite a few beauties within that framework. They were simple to construct because the body and the neck are built separately and then bolted together. Afterwards I was making “set-neck” models, the likes of Gibson and PRS. All this experience led me towards creation of my own model. I was very fortunate to receive recognition by guys like you, who go out on stage and play my guitars.

In short, building on vast knowledge and experience of world’s greats guitar makers, using superb Bosnian native wood and top quality electronic components, precise specification and invaluable feedback from the customer is the best way to produce a fantastic instrument. And if you happen to have fun doing it, there is no better place to be. I’m currently putting finishing touches on my own bass model and I can hardly wait to unveil it. It’s going to be a head-turner.

Well, thank you for this announcement. People, you heard it first on L4g! How long does it take to make a guitar? I suppose there is a procedure that you must follow.

Of course. It all starts with the design. Sometimes I do it on my own, but if it is an order then the guy who’ll be playing it does the designing with my technical help. Then we chose the wood. Type of wood is determined by the type of guitar. The wood itself must be fit for purpose, dry and flawless. Every guitar is hand crafted. No jigs or readymade components. I developed my machining skills working as a precision engineer in one of the best known weapons factory in Europe. Some guitar parts just have to be perfect, like neck rod or frets and fingerboard. I also do my own paintwork. It follows on with polishing and assembly. The build takes about six months, because you have to allow time for curing and settling. You cannot do a custom build in a shorter time, not because the time you spend on it, but the time away from it.

You mentioned the choice of wood. Do you have a favourite or do you leave it to the customers?

I like Bosnian Maple and Mahogany, but I also use Ash and Alder for the body and Rosewood, Padouk, Venge, Pao Fero, Ebony and some others for the neck. I really love the Bosnian Ribbed Maple, that I use for the face of the body. It gives the guitar a beautiful natural look and a long sustain, specially with set-neck guitars. Each customer has a particular requirement. For those who like a darker, Les Paul sound, I would use mahogany and maple for the body and mahogany and rosewood for the neck. For brighter tone I would use joha for the body and maple and rosewood for the neck. However I always encourage the customer to choose the exact piece from my Wood collection.

This is not a full time job for you, is it? When do you find the time?

Well, all my free time I spend in the workshop. I still call it a hobby, because I do it for other reasons than money. If I could afford it, this is the only thing I would be doing, and I hope, one day, it will be. Building guitars will always be more than a job specially for all the contacts and friendships that I forged over the years with people who play my instruments. That is priceless.

Give us some names.

I’m very happy that you play my guitar, Muris. I hope it serves you well. Bata Kostic from Yu Grupa has one, and I’m also working on a guitar for Vlatko Stefanovski. I must say I was pleasantly surprised when I spotted on the internet a guy called Chris Evans from Kent, England playing one of my guitars. There is a host of young upcoming players that come to me and I’m so glad to be a part of their development.

Yes, thank you Mirza. I’m very happy with my MK, or shall I say yours. I was using it to get to the final of Guitar Idol last year. How does one get in touch with you to have a guitar made?

All the contacts were by the word of mouth. I didn’t really need to advertise. At the moment there is a web site under construction, but that may take time. I have to stress that anyone wishing to have a bespoke guitar needs to really know the builder, I mean personally.  You don’t get something like that by mail order. If any of your readers wants to get in touch they could email me, and we can take it from there. My email is [email protected], or [email protected]

Any tips for aspiring guitar builders out there?

There is a ton of easily accessible literature out there. Read it. Then get your hands dirty. Don’t rush. With dedication and patience you’ll get results. Don’t despair if the first attempt doesn’t work out. Keep trying. Once you finish your first instrument gratification is immeasurable. There is nothing I would rather do than building guitars.