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A little over a year ago, Mike Pinter made a career transition from owning a boutique ad agency specializing in music equipment to making guitars on his own in the San Fernando Valley. “I felt I knew what a good guitar should be,” Pinter said of the knowledge he picked up as both a player and promoter of the instrument. He designed his four models to emphasize ergonomics, playability and sound character. Owner Pinter Instruments Valley Village How did you start making guitars? For years I have been designing guitars and having them built for me from parts, mostly from a company called Warmoth. Some of my friends began encouraging me to do something with this activity more than just as a hobby. Finally I decided “why not?” So I made some drawings, translated them into Adobe Illustrator, and through referrals from fellow musicians found a custom bass and guitar maker who made my first prototype bodies. The necks were made to my specs by Warmoth, and as I went further I made arrangements with the craftsmen needed to build my guitars: a CNC shop, a painter specializing in guitars and basses and a luthier (master guitar maker) to do the prep work through final assembly. What makes your guitars unique? Our unique body shape is derived primarily from a study of ergonomics in playing. It is designed to be equally comfortable and balanced either sitting or standing. What is the price? The retail price for our guitars ranges from $2,150, for the simplest model to $2,600 for the most complex. How do you sell your guitars?  Pinter Instruments has only been in existence for barely one year. At this time our only official selling vehicle is our website, which is set up to handle online sales. We have an immediate goal of getting into a select few retailers with locations in strategic concentrations of target consumers – for example Nashville, Austin, Los Angeles and New York. Who are your customers? Those who have so far acquired Pinter guitars are either professional musicians, advanced amateur players or music industry figures. Have any big names bought your guitars? Not yet. But we have made a couple of guitars for local artist and teacher Brad Rabuchin, who now has his own band and has released a couple of music CDs, and whose credits include being Ray Charles’ guitar player for the last five years or so of Ray’s career, and playing with many celebrities including Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, Pat Martino and many others. He received instruments as part of an endorsement arrangement – our first one. Are celebrity endorsements important? Yes. Among pro level players, there is often a value placed on being aware of the opinions, preferences and equipment choices of fellow professionals with similar styles. Among amateur players there is often a tendency to emulate their favorite players in playing style as well as equipment choices. What is the vision for your company? To produce the highest quality guitars at our price points, and to maintain those high standards while growing in our production capacity to at least 1,000 guitars per year. What’s your favorite story about your guitars? A friend of mine is the lead guitarist for the worship team of my church in Studio City. Recently his guitar developed some problems requiring professional repair services, and he asked if he could borrow a guitar while his was being worked on. I brought him one of our six-string models before the band practice prior to the worship service, and the following Sunday brought him another one of our models. He told me about responses to his use of Pinter instruments from the worship leader, who told him he was “fitting into the mix much better”; and from members of the congregation, who variously told him he “sounded better than he ever has” and “what a great looking guitar on stage,” among other positive comments. He is now seriously thinking about upgrading to one of our guitars.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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