Sunny Tuladhar Custom Guitars is a promising startup in the Nepali music industry, dazzling us time and again with the high end modern guitars which are handcrafted here in Nepal.
Sunny Tuladhar Custom Guitars is a promising startup in the Nepali music industry, dazzling us time and again with the high end modern guitars which are handcrafted here in Nepal. While they name the different models after various birds, Toucan and Puffin are the latest additions to the list. Sunny Tuladhar himself on the other hand hardly needs an introduction.
For the record, Sunny came into the limelight as one of finest guitar players in Nepal way back in 2005 when his band Atomic Bush released one of their songs, ‘Sano Prakash’. The song became an immediate hit and until today holds the reputation of being a fine progressive rock song. The rise of his current band Jindabaad later carried him to the next level of success. His solo instrumental songs had much to contribute as well.
Sunny reveals that his guitar making methodology has always been the same as his music playing itself, self taught. With his brother Romus, Sunny learnt to build guitars by trial and error. Even as kids, the duo were always enthusiastic about finding out how things worked, a trait they inherited from the family. The unavailability of tutorials or anybody who could teach them also forced them to explore on their own. For years Sunny repaired countless guitars making him fully understand how they work. In 2001, Sunny started re-fretting guitars gaining a reputation as a highly skilled technician. With the introduction of the internet sometime in 2007, they learnt much more. In fact, it was Sunny’s quest for repairing his own guitar that has led them this far.
While Romus is now a full time guitar maker, Sunny divides his time between guitar playing and making. He thinks of himself as a musician first, but without doubt a guitar maker immediately after that. He also works as a music teacher and handles the promotional aspect of ST Custom Guitars. For Sunny, guitar making has always been there but he wants to focus more on playing and making music. It’s hard to keep up both aspects simultaneously, but thanks to Romus, this year Sunny plans to play more music.
The duo initially started out making replicas of various international brands which people accepted as cheap alternatives of the models they wanted. At present, they are more focused on their own brands and making custom guitars. They have been using local wood and resources as far as possible. For naturally curing the wood which is a must for making guitars, they’ve been storing them from 2008. Other accessories such as pickups, bridges etc., are imported from abroad, mostly through friends who help out. The British School where Sunny teaches music has helped considerably by getting stuff from across the UK. One of the important aspects of their guitar making in addition to use of old wood must be the necks reinforced with carbon fiber and titanium, as necks are the most important yet delicate part of the guitar. Reviews have been overwhelming since they have come up with their own guitar models with their own company logo.
Sunny thinks they are lucky for the amount of support they have received from the beginning; they never had to work for free when it came to guitar repairing and building since the beginning when they were just learning. Up until now, about 40 guitars have been made from scratch and sold by the duo.
While making custom guitars for somebody, sunny spends a lot of time talking to the buyer spending an average of eight hours in total, listing every detail possible. Then the duo go through the models of guitars the buyer is inclined to, analyze them and based on these details, they come up with a couple of designs on a computer. After the client is happy with the design, they start working on the wood. And they work with the highest possible precision.
ST Custom guitars plan to upgrade, expand the workshop, teach and produce a couple of guitar crafters and apprentices. But they don’t intend to mass produce guitars. The seriousness with which they craft each guitars is something they want to pass on to the people who will be working for them. Additionally, the duo wants to maintain the quality of guitars that they produce. For now, producing an average of thirty guitars a year for a limited number of people who value their work is what they plan to work on.
Although Sunny does not enjoy playing as a solo artist, Jindabaad is on a break for some time to come. After their album in 2009, although they have new material, Jindabaad has not been active. According to Sunny, the members of the band are friends first, then musicians and they haven’t been able to divert to some other group formation or anything close to it. Sunny is hopeful that Jindabaad will be coming back together in the near future. Till then, he plans to keep on making new music and doing videos as a part of their promotion for ST Custom Guitars. The new Puffin FS, the headless multi scale guitar that Sunny is planning to make for himself too is something that will keep him busy for a while.