In his small basement workshop, Victoria’s Ron Bakalik turns out wooden works of art.
Bakalik made his first guitar, a 4 string bass, when he was in his early twenties, but it wasn’t until last year that the construction worker decided to make another custom axe.
“My band the Lost Talkers we’ve been shut down for two years not playing shows, not doing anything and we kind of started messing about with electric guitars and stuff so I was like I’m going to make myself a really nice 4 string bass,” says Bakalik.
His latest creation, a custom turtle-themed electric guitar was crafted for the Great Guitar Build Off. The UK based contest gives amateur guitar builders a chance to take home over $13,000 in prizes.
“They have two builds, one’s a scratch build and one’s a kit build…I’m basically doing the scratch build,” says Bakalik.
“I kind of just hand drew it and fudged the lines and kept on revising it and doing it over and over again until I liked the lines and basically that was it,” adds Bakalik, who spent over 200 hours on his guitar.
The contest has also helped Bakalik connect with other island builders such as Courtenay’s Tyler Peterson and Campbell River’s Mike Davis.
“It’s one of the main reasons why I entered the contest was to network and meet other builders and then met Mike up in Campbell River and then I saw Ron down in Victoria,” says Peterson.
“It’s kind of cool when you got a brother in arms where you’re living on the island and you’re both struggling to get noticed on this and he voted for me and I voted for him,” says Bakalik.
It’s a unique opportunity for all involved to showcase their talents to a wide audience and build relationships within the industry.
“The more you share the more you learn the more everyone gets better at what they’re doing,” says Bakalik.
To vote for Ron, Tyler and Mike’s guitars, head to the Great Guitar Build Off website.